By: Sharon Lawlor
While traveling over the summer with my ten-year-old daughter and husband, I was taken back to the days when I was a young girl traveling with my family — no maps pulled up at the press of a finger, no Siri telling you where to go. In today’s world, one can turn on their maps app, enter where they want to go, and basically slip into autopilot, knowing that the phone will direct you step-by-step along the way.
There is such a tunnel vision that happens here. Not even for a moment do we pause to wonder what sights are along the way, as that would slow us down in achieving our objective. Modern apps can calculate the quickest route and even let you know when your arrival time will be. If something arises along the way, the app speaks to you and asks if you’d like to be rerouted to the next quickest route if there will be a delay. No effort, no thought, and no planning on our end whatsoever.
This era is all about the quickest and easiest way. We’ve lost our ability to really understand where we are in context of the world. Our ability to create a relationship with our surroundings and live a slower lifestyle is diminished. We have essentially thrown out our very own inner map.
When I was young, I remember going to AAA with my mom, which was literally down the street from our home. I remember looking at a wall filled with actual physical maps of all different places — name a state or city you’d like to visit, and it was there. It was such a tactile experience to open up the map, unfold it crease-by-crease, and feel the paper between my fingers. There were colors, codes, and a scale to understand it more deeply. It allowed one to take the time to engage with it and discern it. Following it was so much fun for me when I was in the backseat of my parents’ car. It truly was fascinating to see where we started, the roads that connected one-by-one in order to reach an end goal.
Most of my family trips growing up were indeed road trips. The bigger the road trip meant the more planning involved, which could have started months or years prior. Getting really precise details helps tremendously. For instance, knowing your budget, the length of the trip, how long you want to travel each day, where you are sleeping, and even figuring out what events you want to participate in and if you need to purchase tickets ahead of time all help make it smooth sailing. These were the days before computers and online sales, even using snail mail to make reservations in some instances. Researching in a library might be a part of it, too, in order to explore one’s options.
Growing up, most everything was in a couple-mile radius of our home. Local trips were minimal, and we spent most days day-dreaming and playing. There weren’t so many distractions or so much “busy” work. This is a time that I hold dear, and a feeling I am using as a tool for measuring my life now.
A road trip was one big manifestation. All of one’s energy, effort, focus, and intent all coming together in one place. One big, embodied experience!
There is a certain order needed to achieve the destination, as not all roads lead to the same areas. Sure, some paths are shorter or quicker; there are many different combinations to get to one’s haven. But first, one needs to know and claim where they want to go! If you start off wandering, you will be taking a leisure stroll (which in itself is okay, if that’s what you want). But be aware, this path might not even come close to any sights you actually want to see, or be anywhere close to the design you pictured! Consciously create your path with intention.
Think about it; when you want to manifest anything in your life, how much time, energy, and focus are you giving it? I know for me, I have to continually remind myself to slow down and breathe in order to come back into my own body. It helps to ground oneself. Without that, no manifestation will transition from formlessness to form. It would continually be in the ether, swirling around, boundless.
Breathing, slowing down, and coming back into one’s body allows energy to flow. Be conscious and intentional of desires, and nurture them. Let this been known within you as often as possible, even for a moment. Believe me, those moments add up as we keep those goals at the top of our minds, confirming to the ether what’s in our heart. They create a momentum of cosmic communication to the divine universe. How magical is that?
This map analogy can help in many areas of one’s life. It’s essential to choose our own map and not try to follow another’s. Open it up, take it in with all one’s heart, and choose where you want to go. Our map connects us back to ourselves, to our heart and soul, our dreams and desires; it allows creativity, imagination, and play back into our lives.
I know for me, I’d love more of that while I’m trying to slow down and open up my map (not app!) for guidance. This is our true north — the compass that always leads home to the heart. Sure, there might be an occasional crossroads, but when we are connected to our very own soul map, our heart will always lead the way and guide us on our journey.