In past chapters when new to another town or region, I have always enjoyed getting to know a place following intuition and my own sense of direction. Sometimes I would get lost and sometimes I would find my way. Sometimes being lost led to other good things though too.
Even now, I still have this pattern of finding my own way around new places. I will use a map when I really have to, but not a minute before. Wandering around lost at times helps me to discover areas I would not have, had I stuck to the main roads.
The GPS system will no doubt eventually work its way into my life too one day, as technology does. But I’m in no rush for one. I would still prefer to ask local people for directions if I am lost. It adds an extra smile to my day, which often turns into a nice yarn with a stranger. Last time this happened, I was on my way to visit a friend in a coastal town, a couple of months back. I ended up having a nice chat with this old guy in his driveway, after I stopped to ask for directions. The chat turned into such a lovely, friendly yarn that he invited me in.
Next thing I knew, he and his wife were proudly showing me through their home and pointing out of the recent renovations they had done. I was there for over an hour and it was beautiful. Being one who has a bit of an aversion to committing to a set time if I can help it, there was no pressure to be anywhere by any time on this occasion. My friends seem to be the same, happy to catch up whatever time I get there. So not knowing my way turned out to be a lovely diversion, one that brought a very pleasant experience to myself and the older couple.
Getting lost in places has often led me to wonderful discoveries. Linking streets and roads up too is always a good revelation as I get to know new towns and become more familiar with the back roads that locals use. I enjoy those moments of realisations, when I see that a particular road leads to another that I may already know.
There are times though, when signposts are very handy. And on long distance trips in particular, I use them. I love the ones that list a town almost a thousand kilometers away, as if it is just up the road, close enough to have gained a mention on the sign with all of the other towns in between.
But it isn’t just roads for cars that have signposts. Life itself can reveal some pretty obvious signposts along the way too. You can be focused on one particular direction. And then a detour sign presents itself out of the blue and points you in a completely different direction. All of the signposts that previously pointed you one way disappear. And slowly but surely new signposts appear gradually, one at a time, towards a new direction.
Or you can be cruising along well and then a signpost sends you up a rocky road instead. And you wonder how you didn’t notice this change coming, how you could have been so blind to the other signposts along the way leading to this.
More often than not though, even the things that block your intended way and send you off on another route bring their own gifts. Life is now seen from a new perspective, one that you wouldn’t have considered had the signs all kept pointing down a straight and smooth road.
And as you travel along the rocky road and have to use all of your energy to climb to the top of it, you reach a point where you can at last see beyond. The view is amazing, offering you a whole different world to experience. And you end up counting your blessings that the signposts pointed you this way after all.
Sometimes you can travel a road and there are no obvious signposts. That’s when the need for your own intuitive signposts kicks in. You keep moving forward, not really knowing where you are going, only that life blocked the previous direction you were heading in.
It is at times like these that faith and trust are needed. And the willingness to proceed one step at a time, trusting that the events unfolding are actually a beautiful thing. You just can’t see the gifts this particular journey will bring yet, due to fear or the inability to trust the process. But you can’t stand still for long either. Life continues to call you forward.
The past is gone. Forever. You can spend your time looking back on it, dwelling on what has been lost or what you could have done differently. But if you do, you are then missing today, the gifts it brings, and the signposts that are trying to lead you forward to a better future.
So you sigh and take one little step forward, doing what you can one step at a time, listening to that quiet wise voice within when you are brave enough to. And when you are not, you rest and wait for the next signpost to reveal itself. And it does. It always does.
Not all signposts are obvious though and many of the best signposts come in forms that do not necessarily appear pleasant. But if you dare to open your eyes and see where life is trying to lead you, the resistance lessens and the journey again becomes smoother and eventually joyous.
Lately some interesting signposts have pointed me in a totally different direction, or not really in a different direction. The destination is still similar, but the way to get there has changed. The signposts that led me up to a point disappeared as new signposts then said ‘Come this way now’. So like the intrepid traveller that I am, I say ‘OK’ and walked on with trust and faith in wherever it is leading.
Life can be incredibly hard at times for all of us. No one is immune from growth, learning, and the suffering that sometimes accompanies this. But there are signposts along the way to help us. And if we open ourselves up to seeing those, and being patient and trusting when we don’t, it is possible to make life a lot easier on ourselves.
So, may the signposts be clear to you too. And of course, remember that sometimes signposts don’t always look like signposts either. Sometimes they look like people who have caused a disruption in your life, or in you losing some form of security you had, or in nothing flowing properly for you. But they can also come in the form of a passing comment, a synchronistic moment, a new person appearing in your life, or a memory coming to surface that leads to you thinking about something current from a different perspective.
Whatever the signposts in your life are trying to tell you, trust them, and they will become clearer with every step.
Happy travels on your journey. And remember to keep your eyes and ears open. Look for the signposts. They are there waiting for you when you need them.
Look for the signs.