Are You a Bushwhacker or a Pathfinder?


It’s the end of October already, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yes, it’s the beginning of the beginning of the holiday season. Ready or not, plans will be made, festivities organized, invitations issued and received, gifts bought or made, food purchased and prepared with love and at least a pinch of frayed nerves.

If you have some sort of spiritual practice already in place, this is when the fruits of those labors can bear a powerful harvest. It’s like having a secret, sacred pathway through the inevitable whirlwind that lots of time with family and lots of plans on the calendar can create. Perhaps you don’t anticipate having much of that in the offing, and your practice allows you to carve sacred space out of solitude.

Or maybe bushwhacking is more your style. Even though you know your sister-in-law makes you crazy every Thanksgiving or you tend to get lost in big, noisy parties, you forge ahead each season, hoping for the best. You avidly read articles on surviving the holidays and try to put those ideas into action, and then you open the door and BOOM, the good intentions go scurrying out like the wind.

The Power of Mapping Your Inner Terrain

Unless you’ve already been there, it’s hard to get anywhere without consulting a map or receiving some kind of guidance. It’s not really all that different when thinking about the inner terrain of emotions.

You think you’re moving ahead with no visible potholes or detours and then you find yourself on a rocky road with nothing pointing the way to the next clear road. (Also known as “I swore after last year that I wouldn’t let her get to me!” or “Oh shit, I forgot to stock up on pecans and now the store is out of them!”)

Having a specific practice of mindfulness, gratitude, moving meditation, or whatever speaks most to your heart is like always having your own GPS available. 

  • It carves new, positive pathways in your neurophysiology, allowing you to show up differently in real time situations.
  • It builds your emotional muscles so they are stronger when you’re called to carry a heavier load.
  • It keeps your inner compass pointed to the true north of your soul, inviting deeper connections with yourself and those you love.

Now is a great time to start a new practice or dust off one you’ve put aside. Take time to clear the path ahead so you’re not wildly bushwhacking through the holidays, when what you long to do is savor every moment.