Way Will Open… and Way Will Also Close

November 20th, 2018 by Kelly Kienzle

How often have you asked, wondered or worried whether you are spending your professional life in your most ideal way. How much do I enjoy my job? Am I really passionate about this field?  Is this what I want to do for the next 10 or 15 years?

We all ask ourselves these questions. I have asked myself those questions countless times. But those questions are typically shut down with the realization that we do not know what else we would do.  There is no clear path or way to understanding what we would do instead.  So we put our heads down and press on.

“Let Your Life Speak”

Parker Palmer wrote this book that discussed the concept of how sometimes “way will open”. Palmer described that sometimes we come upon a clear path leading us where we want to go. These times are idyllic because all we have to do is follow the path and not mess up.

But these times are also rare. How many dream job offers have magically sailed into your inbox? Probably about the same number as me, a number that rounds to zero.

Yet what happens more often is that “way will close”. Way closes when we realize we are not happy doing a task we used to enjoy or believe we have committed a “strategic error”. Way closes when we find ourselves alone supporting an idea, team or institution. Way closes when we are fired, re-assigned, or leave a role.

When Way Closes

We tend to view these way closings as negative, ugly things that we want to rush past and get to the brighter side again. But what if we slowed down instead? What if we noticed and took time to appreciate that “way has closed”? What if we viewed way closings as a funnel that directs us towards more of what we enjoy?

When way closes, we aren’t necessarily losing something.  We might instead be getting nudged closer to what we most want to do.

Meet My Friend

I’ll give you an example. I have a friend who lost her job through a difficult downsizing. While this loss hurt her deeply inside and was certainly a way closing, it also nudged her closer to her yoga practice.

As time rolled on, she continued to move further into her yoga studies, became certified and now employs herself in providing yoga to help others in chronic and acute pain.  Her way closing became a way opening.  She writes a highly insightful blog here about what she continues to learn each day.

Your Way

How about you? What ways are closing around you? What options are diminishing or looking less attractive?  Instead of viewing those closings as a loss or even a theft, what does that open space now allow you to see?  How do these way closings instead define a way opening for you?

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