Ever finish something up, only to have yourself wondering “what’s next?”… I have been there so often, I have begin to feel like it is the constant truck stop in my travels on my Path of Druidry. I can completely grasp the frustration that so many have felt in this spot. Its literally like finding a sheer, blank wall in front of you, which stretches forever in every direction.
So What’s Next?
As silly as this sounds, the best way for me to deal with this situation is to stop, sit, think, and relax. Relaxing is the hardest part. Much of the way folks tend to relate to any long, semi-complicated series of tasks with a desired result at the end – is to see it as a journey. Hey, the Hobbits had a ring that needed to go back to its origins. There was a nice, super-hot forge in Morder. Ok, it was a volcano, but nearly everyone understand the long, twisty, turn-y trip they had to make to get there. All the dangers that were in their Path. The Nazgul, the Orcs – Nine Hells, they didn’t even have to deal with the TSA or have their luggage lost by some airline. But they had a journey to undertake. Each perilous point was a task to undertake and overcome. The same can be said for your own tasks and journeys within your own Spiritual Path.
Sitting on the Boulder Talking
Remember after Frodo gets his finger bitten off and Gollum falls into the volcano with the ring – thus ending the journey of Frodo and Samwise? What was there to do afterwards? Well, as the lava poured out of the volcano, they found refuge – as it were – on a boulder. It was a REALLY large boulder. With lava bombs flying all about, the air temperature becoming unbearable hot, the two of them sit back and contemplate their collective journey. They also think about home. In other words, they relax as much as they possibly can. Well, when you finish things, and find that sheer wall blocking your way…relax and contemplate what brought you here to this point. Believe it or not, you will likely find a place of exploration to undertake that you had not thought about since choosing not to go that way. Backtracking can sometimes open new ways of seeing things.
But the Path Was Linear
Ok, sometimes, the Path that you took was extremely straight-forward. No turn-offs, no off-ramps, no choices. What then? Well you can’t go forward, but you can choose a sideways direction, and essentially explore the wall’s exterior. Perhaps, its merely an exercise in what to do, and perhaps, you are seeking a change in the wall that will allow to go beyond it? Or, if that is not too appealing…relax. Trust me, life has a way of opening things up to go forward in life that you haven’t even imagined. That dragon you fought and beat so easily with your armor and vorpal sword? Well, you get another chance – except this time you will fight the dragon in your pajamas and use a toothbrush as primary weapon. Life does, after all, have a sense of humor….sort of.
Life is a Story, But It’s Not
Comparing a momentary dead-end in one’s Spiritual Life can be easily compared to the moments at the end of Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring. And it can make a great deal of sense to someone trying to grasp the moment against the welling sea of frustration. But let’s face it, its not really the same thing. Your boss is no Saruman controlling his hordes into the countryside against you. Those who whisper their thoughts of your failure in choosing this Spiritual Path are not the Wormtongue’s of the world, all speaking their poison from behind a forked tongue. Middle Earth will not be broken by your momentary lapses in your quest to achieve whatever it is you are seeking in your Spiritual life. But if the imagery stokes the fires in you to continue forward in your own quest – well, dear hobbit, strap on your pack, pick up your walking stick, and let’s step forward on our adventure!
So what to Do?
Well, bringing things back to the Lord of the Rings stories – specifically the Return of the King movie – Frodo gives the book to Sam, which contains the adventures of Frodo and of Bilbo. He remarks to Sam that the story is not finished. “The last pages are for you, Sam.” Yes, you have reached the dreaded blank wall that stretches on forever. Certainly, you have reached a time and a place where you may write more into the entries on your journey. But this does not mean that the journey has come to an end. After all, you’re still breathing. There’s still life to be experienced. There are still a few more pages to fill. The wall may seem to be the end, but only if you want it to be. Just remember, the boulder was only a truck stop in Mordor for Frodo and Bilbo….not the end.