Walking the line

I’m back again in England, visiting my dear friend in the quaint old market town where he lives. I like to go for walks in the early morning along the river when the sun is shining. One morning, my friend wanted to come along, and although this is usually my ‘reflecting time’, he seemed keen to join me, so I acquiesced.

We went past the quarry and were en route to the river, when he had a strong desire for us to divert and venture through what I call ‘the weird woods.’ This is a bit of woodland which should be nice, but has such odd energy, partly because it borders on a huge aggregate processing works. I usually avoid it, but he had such a strong yearning and I didn’t want to let him down. The woods were – as expected – very weird, dark, overgrown and uninviting, with slippery, unnavigable paths. I couldn’t wait to escape back to my usual walk and regain some of my inner peace.

We often feel torn between our head and our hearts, but equally, I feel, are the struggles between our heart and soul. Many times, family, friends or loved ones pull us in one direction – out of loyalty, obligation or genuine love – while our spirit calls us to go in another direction, driven by an inner compulsion.

It’s a tough choice and at times, unwinnable, often involving an unsatisfying compromise. While we need heartfelt connections, if you neglect your soul too much, it can whittle away and begin to die. The best scenario is when your heart and spirit align – where you are on a similar path with those closest to you, or where you can divide your time between being with them and having the space to follow your soul’s journey.

It’s an ongoing tension and one that’s rarely easy to resolve. For me personally, I only feel my alignment of heart and spirit when I’m out in my special places in nature, with the birds, the water and the trees, the only time I can feel a sense of calm and contentment and not feel pulled in a hundred directions. I think the more you can find that place – be it somewhere external or internal – where your heart and soul come together – the greater the opportunities you have for finding a sense of lasting inner peace.

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