I’m one of those people who can easily get lost. Maybe it’s because I tend to take the road less traveled, the one off the beaten path. Since most people choose to ignore the idea to go where my inner compass insists I do, it’s not so easy to stop and ask for directions. That’s why I really love signs.
I‘m talking about the signs that hold personal significance for me. When a hawk appears out of nowhere to guide me along a trail, I pay attention. When I randomly open a book to a page that has the exact Bach Flower Remedy for my current state of agitation, I am grateful. Or when I get the inkling to visit a website where I learn about the English Lakes District tour just in the nick of time to participate, I know someone or something is looking out for me.
This trek off the beaten path started when I was in college and participated in a National Student Exchange program. I spent one semester at McGill University in Montreal and another at Université Laval in Quebec City. Presumably being plucked from a small farming community where everyone spoke English and arriving on the international scene where most everyone spoke French was the best way to hasten my comprehension of a foreign language.
In my youthful innocence, I thought this was a splendid plan, ripe with romance, adventure, and really sophisticated sounding accents. Few people concurred, except my parents, who didn’t really concur so much as concede that at the very least, a bad experience would hamper further efforts along a misguided path.
Of course, it ended up being one of the best years of my life. I can’t speak for Dorothy, another farm girl who took a little trip to an exotic land, but I’m sure Oz rearranged her reality and emboldened her future decisions much like my Canadian adventure.
So it amazes me how I anguish over the little decisions, the kind grocery or shoe shopping is fraught with, while big decisions with enormous emotional consequences – like leaving the country, adopting a dog, or buying a house – are no brainers.
Maybe because big decisions demand inner alignment. Something shifts when a clear plan emerges. The certainty with which my body responds is immediate. I get energized. I wake up early. I exercise without internal bribes. I get organized. I get interested in life. I tolerate things I previously found intolerable.
The problem is these plans are often inconceivable to those near and dear to me. I don’t fault them. They love me and are looking out for my safety and happiness. They most likely did not experience the tectonic plates shift under their feet the way I did. They are looking through their own life lens. And sometimes, in areas where they may hold fear, I am fearless. (Caveat: I only claim fearlessness in a few select areas.)
I admit, the plan probably does look ridiculous from a rational person’s perspective. But the kind of coup I am considering when I intend to overhaul my internal landscape cannot be bound by reason. If I rely on those who insist on sanity in the decision making process, I will be swayed from the terrifying truth of my own convictions.
A few weeks ago when the ideal house I’d been mentally manifesting for months appeared on the scene and I started waking up at 5am to ponder the possibilities of home ownership, I knew something significant had shifted.
I’d been stewing about my current house since my landlord placed it on the market a year ago, leaving me susceptible to random showings. Despite the unsettling intrusions, I stubbornly stayed put because my next move was sure to be out of Dodge. But when new neighbors built a home on the lot right next to me, the increasing sense of claustrophobia left me determined to correct the situation by summer’s end.
So my very bold decision this week was to buy the dream home and commit to staying not in heaven, but Iowa, to reap the fields of opportunity I’ve been sewing here for the past four years. Of course, for a decision of this magnitude, several signs were necessary. Not to mention a really understanding real estate agent.
Suffice it to say, there is a certain amount of stress that is relieved when a commitment is made. Instead of imagining where I might live out my fantasy life of being a full time writer with a pool in the backyard and mountains in the distance, I can start working towards it on evenings and weekends here where a river runs through my backyard and rolling hills speckled with happy cows can be seen in the distance.
Dorothy really was right.
There’s no place like home.