to Your Heart, Not Your Head When Deciding Your Path
Castaneda’s classic teachings through his mentor Don Juan lend
insight to anyone questioning whether their current path is the
“right” one. An excerpt
from his writings urges us to ask one question:
does this path have heart? Does
it strengthen me or weaken me? From
Castaneda's "Apprentice to a Yaqui Sorcerer", is this
”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
not 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.
warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many
times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one
question. This question is one that only a very old person asks. My
benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too
vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it.
will tell you what it is: Does this path have a heart?
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. My benefactor's question has
meaning now. "Does this path have a heart?" One makes you
strong; the other weakens you.
trouble is nobody asks the question: and when a person finally realizes
that they have taken a path without heart, the path is ready to kill
them. At that point very few people stop to deliberate and leave the
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.
my part there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any
path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile
challenge is to traverse its full length.
there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.”
Transition as a "Soul Journey"
Like the wonderful saying, “life is a
journey, not a destination”, career transition can be thought of in
the same light. You can
feel overwhelmed with fear, uncertainty and remorse if you think the
“next” move from where you are right now must be the “perfect
situation.” Instead, believe that the next place along your life-work
journey will be one of many consecutive opportunities to learn
and to contribute. You have learned so much already from where you are
and where you’ve been—and not just about medicine. Each stop is an opportunity to put that learning into service
for others in a new or different way.
Your next place may be as a parent, leader, coach, volunteer,
author, artist, inventor, seeker, spouse, student, or teacher.
Be open to continuous learning and to continuous movement
forward---sometimes incremental, sometimes monumental.
R. Gaillour, MD, Business Consultant and Executive Coach
for Healthcare Leaders email@example.com, (206) 686-4205