The unknown is the language of the soul. It is also the language of love. Loving is vulnerable because so much of the journey is unknown. Choosing something new means engaging the soulful territory of vulnerability, where I come to know unknown parts of myself and the world.
Once I went hiking in a place where the trees lined the paths, a creek moved underneath ice, and a buck stood on the side of a mountain at full attention. This place was so alive. I walked on the path that I always walked on, distracted in thought about the emails that I still needed to send and phone calls that I needed to return.
All of a sudden, my attention was drawn to a new path. The inner dialogue began: Should I take it, or should I just go the way I always do? I don’t know where this new way goes. What if I get lost? What if I can’t find my way out? What if there are dangerous animals in that part of the park? What if I die? In spite of the fear, I watched my feet as they changed direction, one foot in front of the next, onto the new path. I found myself winding around bends I had never experienced, seeing things I had never seen before, and facing irrational fears that I did not know lived inside of me.
Choosing the new path invoked the experience of vulnerability and made me more awake. There was no more mulling over emails and phone calls. My attention to the moment was heightened because I had chosen to step into the unfamiliar.