I had a dear friend come to me for advice on which of several options she was considering would be the best choice.
I just wrote her a long e-mail in reply. It pretty much summed up my current philosophy, so I thought I'd share a segment of it here. I changed it just a bit to add clarity. This is my story and I'm sticking to it!
I've come the conclusion there ARE NO WRONG PATHS - there are certainly paths that are less painful or more painful, paths that feel on the surface to be easier or harder, paths that seem at the time to be boring or fulfilling or frustration or filled with awe and passion. But more and more I am learning that ALL PATHS lead to a place where I am not in control and you are not in control and the universe keeps dishing out exactly what lessons we need.
Every time I think I am making mindful choices of what is the BEST way to go I find out later I'm kidding myself. So now I just try to go along for the ride in my own life, stay AWAKE and PRESENT enough to learn whatever it is that needs learning along the way, with the certain knowledge that if I miss the lesson the first(or second or third) time the universe will bring it around again. I may miss some opportunities along the way. But then I get different ones. I can capture other opportunities, giving me the illusion of having grabbed the gold ring. But even then, I'm kidding myself.
I haven't a clue what end is up and what end is down in terms of what is ultimately in my own best interest or that of anyone else. Some of the most excruciating experiences of my life turned out to be the EXACT PATH I needed for reasons I could not possibly see at the time. Given the choice, I would DEFINITELY have skipped a few of those chapters of adversity. But if I had, I would be utterly incapable of some of the things that bring me great satisfaction now. Learning to get comfortable with my cluelessness and lack of power in my own world seems to be the current lesson the universe has in store for me. Don't know how long it will take me to learn it. I'd rather skip class and go straight to recess.