I think this is how most of us picture the Path.

This is how it first appears in our mind. This dream, this destination, sitting straight in front us. Much too far to touch, but just close enough to see.

And when we make that decision to go towards it, at whatever pace feels right to us, we imagine each step down that straight street bringing us closer and closer to the prize. We envision running the last few yards – hands outstretched, smile wide, sweat thick, crowd roaring – like a champion. A mythical hero. An urban legend.

That picture alone is often enough to propel us down the Path.

But the truth is, the Path ain’t straight. It’s crooked. And cracked. And crazy. It bends and curves. It’s got potholes and pitfalls. It’s mostly uphill, and there are no crowds on that climb. Spectators stand at the start, and believers magically appear at the finish line.

The Path itself is lonely. It is hard and humbling. And it does not care about your feelings.

But, amidst all the turns and turmoil, the Path is an amazing teacher. It shows you things. Reveals you to yourself. It strips away all the bullshit, and makes sure you’re on it for the right reasons. It keeps it real. It makes you grateful, and aware. It teaches you the meaning of belief, and the definition of sacrifice. It makes you work for it…

And then somehow, in between your racing and chasing, as you walk and stumble and fall and crawl, as you learn to live peacefully between great uncertainty and even greater expectations… the Path begins to feel like home. And that feeling is the greatest gift of all.