Traveling beneath a canopy of darkness, a clearing or occasional beam of sunlight that penetrates the trees can be mistaken for a sign of better things to come. But anyone who has been blanketed by the darkness of a chosen path knows how suddenly that stream of light passes and darkness once again envelops the hopeful traveler. Even the larger clearings eventually give way to the thick of the forest as it once again grows interwoven and clustered. The forest floor is carpeted with the fallen victims of the winds and of the storms. The ceiling once again a constant barrier between the traveler and the open sky. Hopeless devotion to a chosen path is not the answer. To leave the forest is not to fail in completing the journey. I have chosen to take a machete to the vines that hug my ankles as I stumble towards the edge. I have chosen to leave the forest in hopes of improving my journey.
I am not blind, I am just adjusting to the bright light of open sky and unfiltered sunlight. As I stand at the edge of the familiar darkness, fondly recounting each clearing, each moment of sunlight I captured along my journey, I am set back on my heels. Reeling a little from the abundance of warmth and open space before me; I feel the dependable darkness at my back. My breath is short, my knees are weak. I walk tentatively away from the life I chose into the unknown. As I walk, my breath gets stronger, my stride gets longer, my smile erupts from within. I do not travel unencumbered nor empty handed. I carry with me my babies who created the largest clearings along my path - the moments of pure ecstasy within my journey. I carry with me the baggage that such a trip requires to survive. I will barter my baggage in exchange for hope.
Happiness is not a constant state. For some it is fleeting and driven by external forces. For some it is an internal flame. I choose the latter. I want to see the good when it is real and to be honest enough to know when there isn't enough promise of good on a chosen path. I will be strong enough to change my path when I find myself in darkness created by the foliage of knotted roots and rotted soil. I will not allow someone else’s map chart my course again. And if I do, I will take a deep breath and remember what it is like to have the sunshine above and open space before me. I have learned that being “happy enough” is not enough.