Recently I read a blog written by George Dow (May 2020), a good friend and business consultant for executive transition and transformation, about following a path with heart. George’s quote from Carlos Castaneda from The Teaching of Don Juan, struck a chord in me.
“Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.”
George added this short video to bring the point home. It’s worth the watch as a young Thai man walks his path with heart.
Working with Sachiko Yasui to tell her story of survival after the atomic bombing of her city, Nagasaki sent me on a path “with heart” asking, “What is peace?” What does peace really mean? What skills and abilities do we need to learn to be peacemakers? How do we hold out our hands and invite others to come with us? For the rest of my life, I’ll walk this path with heart to help find answers, possibilities, new ways of being and becoming. We are in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, requiring all of us to work together, not only for safety and health, but for the changes to come after this disruptive world-wide calamity subsides. I think we know, in our gut, we are at a pivotal point. We will need more peace—ever more peace— and more peacemakers if the human race and planet earth is to survive and thrive. Let us walk this intentional path with heart together.