May you travel in an awakened way,/Gathered wisely into your inner ground;/That you may not waste the invitations/Which wait along the way to transform you. – John O’Donohue, ‘For The Traveler’
Early January always seems to bring a flurry of activity. Intentions to change behavior, or surroundings, or focus in some way(s). At writing inside VT we have a time-limited change ahead of us. Meg, one of our two director/facilitators, is taking a three-month leave to travel and work on her first book.
While this is exciting indeed for her – something out of the ordinary for her, as she wrote on Thursday when we sent her off with a card hand-made by one of the writers in our circle – it also helps us all focus on the opportunities of travel. Using John O-Donohue’s wonderful poem, ‘For the Traveler’ as a starting point, we explored places we have been, want to go and how traveling – even within the confines of our daily routine – provides opportunity for change.
One relatively-new-to-the-group writer shared the following detailed understanding of the power of the small to radiate outward, impacting multitudes:
Each and every day transforms you. Every encounter, every wave; someone stopping in traffic to let you go. These are all small transformations. Each and every step you take is along the way to transform you. You could be driving along, stop at a crosswalk, the woman who you’re letting cross could be having the worst day ever. She spilled her coffee on her white dress, then went to quickly get changed because she’s already running late, and as she pulls her stockings up, her tiny index nail puts a pinstripe tear up the side. Maybe she didn’t notice until it was too late – she’s already too far away from home to change again. She misses the bus, has no money for a cab, so she’s hurrying to get to work. Running later, having to wait for the man on the ‘walk light’ to go from orange to white.
You take 5 seconds to stop and wave her across and suddenly she smiles. Her smile passes into you and her colleagues, as well as yours. They smile at someone else and so on. That one 5-second motion in your life has now touched 16 other people. Hence the quote, “waste not the invitations which wait along the way to transform you.” I live my life by this. I try to , anyway. I try to remember each and every motion, word, starts a wave that could potentially change thousands of lives.