Have you ever worried you won't ever get to use what you have in your life? That you won't ever find that beautiful fit between who you are and what you're doing in the outside world?
You may have followed the threads for many years and know you're generally in the right lane but still, perhaps you expected you'd have more to show for it by now, or be further along, more successful or fulfilled in what you are doing, whatever that means to you.
It can take the patience of a saint to the stay the course when your path is veering off and away from your expectations.
It's taken me 11 years to get to this point in my own path, the second major direction of my adult life, the first being 15 years long. Recently it's felt like another batch of puzzle pieces has slipped into place in ways I couldn't have foreseen.
If you've ever tackled a 1000 + piece puzzle you'll know that intricate puzzles are never quick to piece together. Usually we have to find the edges and put the boundary carefully in place before we can work on the many obvious sections, before we have enough sections in place to work on the huge background with the least definition / clarity.
Similarly we start off on our paths with hope and excitement, setting up a strong container that we will one day fill - a good education, forming relationships, friendships, exploring the world, choosing lifestyle. Next we address the obvious areas, such as building experience and skill, creating a home, working on our craft, taking risks, starting a family, establishing our career. This part can be fun and productive and we can stay here for a long while, often thinking this is it. This is the work. This is the path. I've arrived.
Until inevitably, those pieces become second nature and a new need arises. One that shifts to addressing the less obvious areas that need attention. Inner work which involves excavating negative beliefs we have held about ourselves and our relationships, unhooking from generational patterns of reacting which are clearly not working anymore. Looking at where we doubt our worth and the stories we've become attached to about why things are the way they are for us.
No one really has a guide book for this part, because it's so highly personalised, depending on your deepest values and priorities, also taking into account what's calling you from within and without.
Sometimes this involves pulling apart something you previously built, poured time, effort and love into. Or you may recognise a need to rearrange puzzle pieces that you've created over a lifetime of experience, skill and craft in an entirely new formation. Or it may be your time to step into the background for a while, to address the less defined areas that need to catch up to who you are.
Trouble is because we can't see how this will look, and because sometimes this stage places us in a giant holding pattern, we second guess everything, and the disorientation at finding ourselves here, at this stage of our lives, and all that we tell ourselves about what that means, can mess with our minds.
Most often it demolishes the last of any innocent expectations that ours would be a linear easy path once we took those the initial leaps and risks!
We may not completely give up but privately we doubt so much. We doubt our choices, we question whether it was a mistake to move in this direction in the first place, but most of all we doubt ourselves, whether we have what it takes to keep going. Whether we will ever get to use what we have.
Our doubt tricks us into thinking we're off track, rather than recognising this as the next fruitful stage of our growth. Indeed this is where we're being asked to dig deeper and cultivate qualities we probably don't even recognise we have within us, so that the person we have grown into along the way can now fill the whole container, not just relying on one or two familiar elements of it.
That requires bringing greater alignment to our inner and outer worlds.
Stepping in. Working on the background takes time and effort and a tonne of patience. We can be forgiven for thinking it's irrelevant.
Elders know all too well of the twists and turns, stops and starts, surprises, tragedies and everything in between that meets us on the path. They know the attempts to control outcomes is futile.
And yet, in moments of clarity you know you wouldn't be wired this way, passionate about your specific area, drawn to pursue this path, if you weren't on track. Just as you wouldn't receive the support that arises in those moments when you're just about to give up and throw it all away... and you wouldn't have had the opportunities that came at just the right time that brought you to here.
Neither would you hear those frequent whispers within reassuring you the puzzle hasn't all come together yet, but it will. Because the puzzle symbolises your whole life. Your path is long term, not just a 2018 gig, so please don't worry so much.
There is no question you will get to use what you have, because you are using it now.
You are the path.