An Artist's Quest

Path of Desire

Lucky on Path of Desire

The past few weeks the phrase “path of desire” has been roaming around my head.  I’m not sure where I first heard the term, but the way I have come to understand it is a path of desire is like a deer trail in the woods.  A physical path of desire is usually a thin well-trod path that leads somewhere that a critter or human needs to go.  It is often the most direct path to something important.  The ones in the woods may led to water or safe shelter, or be the most direct, safe way from here to there.  Human paths of desire are like that too.  You often see one across an empty lot cutting the corner the fastest way to a destination.  Campus’s and parks have paths of desire carved into them if the planned, sanctioned paths don’t get people where they want to go.  One of the most infuriating things about Central Park in New York City is the vast amount of grassy area that is fenced off from the rambling masses, they really don’t like those paths of desire people want to make, and a fence is about the only way to keep them from popping up, or rather wearing down.  Anyhow, here at The Bishop’s Ranch we’ve got a number of physical paths of desire.  The most obvious is a widely used one that leads from the lower part of the campus to the dining hall. The official walkway takes a big wide loop along the driveway, and it’s clear that when it comes to dinner no one wants to take the long way!  So this past few weeks our visiting Americorp team turned that path of desire into a sanctioned path, leveled it, widened it and laid the path with woods chips to keep it from getting muddy. Desire fulfilled.

This week has also seen another kind of path of desire hewn.  This path is of a spiritual nature. In the season of Advent The Bishop’s Ranch offers a Silent Retreat.  Participants can choose from offerings of prayer, meditation, labyrinth walks, the art center open and ready to explore, hiking the trails or do nothing at all. Over the years I’ve watched these introspective wanderers with some degree of envy.  I thought to my self how wonderful to just wander and wonder at your leisure do whatever you please, what an indulgence.  But this year I have come to a new understanding of what these travelers are up to through the paths of desire lens.  Physical paths of desire are not frivolous; they are direct lines to safety, sustenance, and shelter.  Spiritual paths of desire also lead to sustenance and safety.  It takes time to wear a groove both in the earth and the terra firma of the soul, and what ever the soul is needing the path of desire can led one there.  Each travelers journey is different, each true.  It seems that one must walk the path for some time to wear a groove, to press down the insistent grasses that wants to grow and obscure the way.  Figuring out what path to forge is part of the journey, the other, and perhaps more difficult, is to follow it faithfully.  A path of desire of true self of inner understanding is carved only by repeated use, so let’s start walking.


6 responses

  1. Just what I needed to read today as I reconsider my professional path and commit myself to a life of poetry. Thanks.

    December 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

    • Sometimes it’s hard to know if the path of desire we have chosen is right, but somehow I keep tromping along those same corridor over the years and the groove I am cutting is getting deeper and wider and easier to follow the longer I navigate it’s twists and turns. I can’t quite see over this next hill but I know I am on the right path. Keep on keeping on.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  2. Mary Anne

    Impulsive decisions made when I was young led me down a myriad of paths that while exciting (at the time) led nowhere. The spiritual retreat, Cursillo (also known as Walk to Emmaus), led me to a path (of desire) for harmony, peace and unswerving faith that I have walked for almost 25 years.

    Thank you for this meaningful message. May your walk continue bringing you joy and inner peace.

    December 17, 2011 at 6:51 am

    • Well said Mary Anne sometimes we need to wander before we choose the path we want to travel both on days with both a spring in our step and foot weary days, keep walking

      December 19, 2011 at 9:16 am

  3. This is very insightful and useful information. Thank you.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

    • Thank you for the comment, I hope you’ll join the discussion again! Lisa

      January 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

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