Be the Cause

Life: A Walker’s Guide. How to honor and care for the path you’re on. By Paulo Coelho

I just came across this article in ODE magazine and I felt like it could have been written specifically for me. I was so inspired by it. I decided to make copies and mail them to everyone I know, but then I realized I don’t have addresses for some of the most important people in my life, but all my best friends look at the BTC blog. So here it is. I hope it speaks to you the same way it spoke to me.

1. The path begins at a crossroads. There you can stop and think what direction you want to take. But don’t spend too much time thinking or you’ll never leave the spot. Ask yourself the classic Carlos Castaneda question: Which of these paths has a heart? Reflect a lot on the choices that lie ahead, but once you’ve taken the first step, forget the crossroads forever or you’ll always torture yourself with the useless question, “Did I take the right path?” If you listened to your heart before the first movement, you chose the right path.

2. The path doesn’t last forever. It’s a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so be prepared to take leave of it at any moment. However enraptured you may be at certain landscapes, or scared when you have to make a great effort to keep moving forward, don’t get too used to anything-neither the hours of euphoria nor the endless days when everything seems so difficult and progress is so slow. Don’t forget that sooner or later an angel will appear and your journey will arrive at an end.

3. Honor your path. It was your choice, your decision, and just as you respect the ground you step on, that ground will respect your feet. Always do what’s best to conserve and keep your path and it will do the same for you.

4. Be well-equipped. Carry a small rake, a spade, a penknife. Understand that penknives are no use for dry leaves, and rakes are useless for herbs that are deep-rooted. Know what tool to use at each moment. And take care of your tools, because they’re your best allies.

5. The path goes forward and backward. At times you have to go back because something was lost, or a message to be delivered was forgotten in your pocket. A well tended path enables you to go back without any great problem.

6. Take care of the path before you take care of what’s around you. Attention and concentration are fundamental. Don’t be distracted by the dry leaves at the edges. Use your energy to tend and conserve the ground that accepts your steps.

7. Be patient. Sometimes the same tasks have to be repeated, like tearing up weeds or closing holes that appear after unexpected rain. Don’t let that annoy you; it’s part of the journey. Even though you’re tired, even though certain tasks are repeated so often, be patient.

8. Paths cross. People can tell you what the weather is like elsewhere. Listen to advice, but make your own decisions. You’re responsible for the path entrusted to you.

9. Nature follows its own rules. You have to be prepared for sudden changes in the fall, slippery ice in winter, the temptations of flowers in spring, thirst and showers in the summer. Make the most of each of these seasons, and don’t complain about their characteristics.

10. Make your path a mirror of yourself. By no means let yourself be influenced by the way others care for their paths. You have your own soul to listen to, and the birds to whisper translations of what your soul is saying. Let your stories be beautiful and pleasant for everything around you to hear. Above all, let the stories your soul tells during the journey be echoed along each and every second of the path.

11. Love your path. Without this, nothing makes any sense.


Happy Birthday to Me!

Call me naive, but in planning to come to SEVA Cafe last night, I really never considered that there would be any birthday party for me. My birthday was on Wedsnesday and like most birthdays, this one came and went without too much afterthought. I was excited to be part of Nirali’s birthday and excited to celebrate Ben’s accomplishment as a non-smoker. It wasn’t too long after arriving at SEVA that I realized something was up and by the time I got to the back room, I definately knew something was up. The big “happy birthday Michele” banner was a dead give away….At first, I felt uncomfortable that too much attention was going to come my way and that’s just so awkward for me. It’s really been a growing experience for me to get used to having so many people care about me and say they admire me or that I inspire them. Sometimes I feel like the words I’m hearing must be about someone else.

As the evening at SEVA passed, people I know and people I dont know came to wish me happy birthday and I realized I was learning yet another lesson about kindness. Kindness that is life changing can be as simple as walking up to a stranger and saying “happy birthday”. 

Kindness is empowering to both the person extending the kindness and the person recieving it. I’ve been so fortunate to be both of those people.  Today, I feel empowered by the kindness of all my friends to become the kindest person I can be. My heart is really happy, full of gratitude, and excitement about the future. What better birthday gifts could a person ask for? For giving me the best birthday ever, I can only say “THANK YOU”.

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