It was more than thirty years ago when I read the book The Road Less Travelled, by M. Scott Peck. It was my first personal development book, and I remember coming away from that book going, “This is me!!! I’m on the road less travelled!”
It was one of those “ah ha” moments in my life, when first I really “got” that I am here on this Planet to walk a spiritual path.
But what does that actually mean?
It is certainly not a path chosen by the masses. It is a path underpinned by consciousness and self-awareness. It is a path that involves learning, study and personal development. But all the reading and study in the world will only carry you a small way up this mountain.
Do you know what it is that carries you to the top?
There is one quality that those of us on the road less travelled must possess. Without it, we will be nothing but a puppet, with our mouth moving as it sprouts spiritual wisdom, but with our feet dancing in the one spot.
What is the fuel that takes us from point A to point B?
It’s this – a little bit of courage. Not a lot. We don’t need to be a Steve Irwin or an Indiana Jones. But we do need a little bit of courage – enough to overcome our own resistance to change, and to take steps to apply the very things we are learning about.
So what does applied courage look like? It is the willingness to do what needs to be done, in order to do the “right” thing by ourselves, by our fellow humans and animals, and by our Planet.
It’s so easy to bathe in the luke warm waters of the status quo. We know them so well. They are our comfort zone.
But to do what’s “right” often means a small (and occasionally a large) step outside of our comfort zone.
Yet it all starts with small steps. As we become comfortable with the small steps, as we flex our muscles on the little things, the big steps become so much easier too.
I want to share with you three stories from my own life, to bring awareness to how even the smallest acts of courage can evoke a powerful ripple that leads to change.
It’s not my problem…
This morning, I did something I always love to do…I went for a beach walk. It was blue skies and a calm ocean, and was to be one of my first swims for the season. I was really looking forward to it.
I was 30 metres into my walk when I saw a tiny plastic lid on the sand. It was very inconspicuous. Normally I will pick up litter as I walk along the beach…but I don’t enjoy doing it.
It would be nice to think it was someone else’s litter, therefore someone else’s problem.
That little voice of the ego kicked in. “You don’t have to pick this up today. Someone else can pick it up. You are always the one picking up other people’s rubbish. Give yourself a day off and enjoy your beach walk.”
And for a moment, I listened and kept walking. But as I saw the ocean racing in towards the dry sand where the lid was sitting, some part of me (my consciousness) simply couldn’t allow that piece of rubbish to wash out to the ocean, and become yet another piece of civilization that is clogging up our waterways, and affecting our brothers and sisters of the Sea.
I turned around, walked back to where the lid was, and picked it up. I carried it up the dunes, and planted it somewhere safe to collect on my return. Why? Because I was really looking forward to having my hands free to enjoy my walk.
I walked another 30 metres, and looked down to see first one, and then 5 metal beer bottle lids, plus some pieces of paper. I resigned myself to my mission, and picked them up. Another few hundred metres on, I found a baby’s dummy embedded in the sand. As I picked it up, the father came over to claim that one from me. But as I walked, my little treasure chest of debris grew.
I held that rubbish in my hand for my whole beach walk. I carefully planted it while I went swimming, then picked it up again. On the way back, in addition to collecting the tiny lid I’d left for myself, I even managed to find a packet of weed that someone had left behind.
By the time I’d finished my beach walk, I’d collected 10 pieces of rubbish, all of which ended up in the bin. That’s 10 fewer pieces of debris for our ocean friends to have to swim around. If we all do our part, we can clean up our Planet.
The Power of the Ripple
In 1998 I came across and fell in love with the Young Living Essential Oils. They are unlike any other brand of essential oils that I’ve ever experienced, and it didn’t take me long before I was convinced that these are magic in a bottle.
To use the words of the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Young Living is a company founded on miracles, teaching the world that there’s a better way, through God’s bottles of essential oils.”
Then one day, I saw one of my clients in need, and I helped her with a single drop of essential oil. Then some friends reached out to me – they wanted to try these oils that I was raving about. Then there were more opportunities to help people and animals with these products, and then more opportunities, and even more.
In fact, the world is full of opportunities. And each time I see someone in need, I’m faced with a choice. Do I reach out and offer to help with some oils or oil-infused products, or do I keep my mouth shut?
I’ll be honest – I’m an introvert at heart, and extremely shy. That part of me would rather hide away at home in my sanctuary than go out and interact with the world. You’d never know that if you met me, because I cover it up with a bright personality, and many people see me as a shining light. But reaching out takes a little bit of courage.
And do you know why I do it? It’s because reaching out to another person is something that comes from the core of me….like the rubbish on the beach, I can’t walk past a person or an animal in need. I may not feel like talking or reaching out to them, the introvert in me would much rather just keep on walking…yet I do reach out, because I feel compelled to help, to see if I can somehow make a difference in that person or animal’s life.
Over the many years that I’ve been using and sharing the Young Living essential oils, over 60,000 families have started using these beautiful oils as a result of me reaching out to help someone, who’s then gone on to help another person, who’s then gone on to help another person, and so on.
That little bit of courage that I needed to muster has transformed over 60,000 families.
That’s a lot of lives to have touched. And do you know what? If I’d only ever touched one person’s life with these products, it would have been worth it.
The Holy Instant
Twenty years ago, I was walking on the beach and I passed a woman who looked very “strange”. Her head was hung, she was dragging her feet, and she looked quite dishevelled.
The first voice I heard was the voice of my ego. I wrinkled my nose as I walked past her, thinking she must be drunk or drugged. I popped on my “higher than thou” hat, stroking my own ego for what a great example of health and Spirit I was…and I kept on walking.
I’d gone maybe 50 paces, when the voice of Jesus came to me. “Go back,” he said. “Talk to them”.
When we get asked to do something that we know is right but which we don’t want to do, it takes that little bit of courage to overcome our ego and its objections. Yet I’ve learned the power of following the guidance I’m given from Spirit (in all its many forms). So I did as I was instructed, and turned around and caught up with this woman.
When I stopped her and asked if she was ok, she looked up. And what I saw and heard next was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
She’d been crying, and she looked at me with deep pain in her eyes. “I just got news that my mother has died,” she said.
I invited her to sit with me on a park bench, and we talked and talked and talked. It was the most beautiful encounter, and showed me the power of listening to those nudges from Spirit. I would have continued walking, holding onto my very skewed perspective. Yet someone Higher knew far more than me, and I was guided in such a way that I could be a vessel for God’s love, to help a fellow traveller.
So it all comes down to a little bit of courage and a little bit of willingness to get out of our own way. When we realise we are a spiritual being and not the voice of the ego, it becomes easier to make choices that align with our Spirit.
Yet it still takes courage.
Today, let this be your meditation. Where are you being asked to show a little bit of courage, in order to help another person or animal, to make a difference on our Planet, or to transform something within yourself?