The Invisible Road – or Making the Invisible Visible
By Leigh Randolph, MS, DDS

 

Robert Frost and Scott Peck each left us an invitation to follow a road less traveled. For most of us who live in a world boundaried by routine, habit, and the same daily view outside our kitchen window, that invitation can seem a haunting summons to a life lived very differently. While there are some called to the life of the nomad or the adventure of distant travel, most of us are called to claim roots and create a home. Both can be lives of desperation, or lives of exploration. The external appearance of life matters little. The consciousness with which we choose to live is the core of significance about our life.

We all are called to that fork in the road and we end up on both paths in a lifetime. The path we choose may look like the well worn road traveled by many but each step we take upon any road is ours alone. We are each a unique expression of humanity, and each action, reaction and event in our life is perceived through the lens created by those experiences.

If we think we must choose, the error comes in creating an image of a road that looks like a walking path. In our physical world there are certainly plenty to choose from. Career, lifestyle, and the things we accumulate are all part of that road in life. It is the invisible paths in life that have ‘made all the difference’ (Frost). The emotional and spiritual paths we travel are found in the world of symbolism and metaphor. They will be straight or winding, clear, swampy, full of brambles, or a combination of all of those. Most of us have been through those places on our journey. In the midst of the swamp we wonder if our feet will ever be dry again, or when surrounded by thorns we wonder if the path will ever be clear again. It usually isn’t the physical reality making the experience so hard, but the emotional difficulties that leave us paralyzed, not knowing where to put the next footstep.

So what makes the difference in how we view the choice at the fork? Our awareness of our choices, the consequences that come with each one, and the meaning we attach to the events of our lives. It is easy to get lost in the routine and the travails of daily life and become mired there, living lives of “quiet desperation” (Thoreau). The road less traveled takes a greater awareness of life and its meaning. It is about making the choice to be aware of what we have learned and what we are learning with each experience.

There can be as much emptiness in a life of unusual experiences as in the day to day routine more typical for most of us. Finding meaning in life is about the consciousness to enjoy the small experiences and how those events enrich life. Cleaning out closets can be about satisfying a compulsion, straightening up, or it can be about getting rid of the old to make room for new ideas and experiences to come into your life. Sweeping a floor can be about getting rid of dirt or about sweeping out the old to make room for the new. Routine is a necessary part of daily life. The inherent risk is that it can also be a hypnotic trance that puts us to sleep and keeps us from really seeing the meaning in our lives, or the places where we would like to see change.

The larger picture of routine is also to look at the repeating patterns in life. In those patterns of your life are there relationships or situations that keep repeating?  What are the things you are ready to change? If encounters with specific people in your life frustrate you, consider the ways to neutralize emotional difficulties. What is there to learn about why an event didn’t turn out well? If you feel stuck in a pattern that keeps repeating, what are the possibilities of concepts that, perhaps, you haven’t learned yet? Seeing that each aspect and event offers us a lesson brings emotional and spiritual nutrients that enrich our memories and our lives. Over time, examining the road we have chosen in this way also makes life easier.

Robert Frost had the poet’s gift to offer much in just a few words. Each life experience has that potential as well. We can look at an event and evaluate it for the physical elements that took place. The gifts lie in looking for the patterns that lie beneath the surface as we walk that invisible road. What lessons do events and encounters bring us that will make the rest of life easier? When we bring that kind of richness to our daily encounters we are walking the road less traveled.

 

Leigh Randolph, D.D.S, M.S. is a Board Certified Endodontist who has a private dental practice and teaches dentistry at The Ohio State University. She is a certified Visionary Craniosacral Work™ practitioner, Holistic Coach™, Reiki Master, and Family Constellation Facilitator.