Standing at the crossroads, I froze, suddenly aware I had to make a choice in my journey. I recognized a landmark, just barely. A voice in my head told me, “Ahh, you’ve been here before. But last time you sailed blithely through and let the choice happen to you, without your intention. You must choose. You didn’t take it seriously and now it’s almost too late.”
I took stock. Intuition told me this was one of the most meaningful decisions I’d ever make. I suddenly appreciated that I had been grieving since Christmas Eve. Grieving? Grieving the children not in my life. Grieving the lack of my own family.
I greeted the emotions as they passed through me. (What else could I do?) But the intensity of the tears shocked me.
Looking back on the 40-year path behind me, I thought of other options; every map has many routes. I could have stayed on the paved highways my whole life, avoiding those bumpy dirt backwoods roads I traveled on. I had often wondered why I couldn’t have taken just one of the recommended roads and found a home.
But the times when I borrowed maps from family and friends, I just got more lost. And each time I hauled out my own atlas, the way felt easier—illuminated, as if I knew where I was going even in the dark of night.
My path now stretched out behind me: a series of choices that led to here. Different passages had been joyous, boring, safe, easy, or lonely; some were dangerous, involved great risk, and completing them had given me great pride. It struck me that there had been only one way to travel.
And I had arrived.
Right on time. (As usual.)
Standing in the middle of the dusty desert crossroads on that overcast day, I glanced up at the signs pointing off in all four directions, with the paint of the letters flaking and barely legible. Looking further into the distance, I drank in the mountains’ various shades of blue like a cool drink and then exhaled.
Suddenly, I stretched my arms wide and turned my palms up to the sky. Closing my eyes, I leaned my head back, opened my mouth, and made a noise that started out as a tremble of a sound. The sound had the intensity of a sob, complete with the shudders that shake and contort a body with pain. At the same time, it had the ease and peace of complete tranquillity and union. Relaxing as I gained confidence, the sound gathered strength and pulsed up through my body as if from deep in the earth, turning into a deep, moaning song. I stopped listening to the sound and became a channel as it poured out my entire 40 years of experiences. Mixing with my hopes and longings for the future, the song left my body and spiraled up to the sky—becoming one with the higher vibrations of the universe. I lost myself and gave my offering—feeling I connected the center of the earth to the universe as I was breathed and pulsed by the force of life. Without knowing I could do this, I was pulled through the veil of time and space and followed the core of the sound up until I looked down at my body, small in the distance. From my weightless height, I could see myself standing in the middle of two perfectly intersecting dirt roads, arms stretched wide, light pouring down through the clouds onto my upturned face.
Sensing the intensity had calmed, I rode the cone of sound back down to my body and landed in the warm physicality of feeling. Becoming aware of the breeze that ruffled my hair, I gently tucked my chin, opened my eyes, and pulled my hands together in prayer. I noticed my skin felt warm as if I had been bathed in sunlight.
Each of the three roads that lay in front of me beckoned and twinkled: straight ahead, left, and right. But I now knew they are all different arrangements of the same sound particles—that the story of my life has been written for each way. If I ever am lost, I can simply sing my way home.
One path twinkled just a little brighter than the others, calling me forth. It was impossible to discern any difference from where I stood, but I knew the one I chose would include children. Completely relaxed, I bowed deeply to all four of the directions, feeling the stretch loosen every muscle in the back of my legs as my head hung down below my knees. Turning around one final time, I bowed to honor my journey thus far, gathered my surprisingly light bag of possessions, and headed down the correct path.