Courage to Take a Different Path
Why following your bliss is hard and how to make it easier.
We humans are herd animals. Or maybe flock animals.
I have chickens and a child. He has a hard time being in a different room from us parents. We like to joke that he is a little flocky bird because he acts like our chickens do when they wander too far away from their flock. They panic and run to rejoin the group.
We humans do the same thing. We need our flock/herd/tribe around in order to feel secure and less stressed. Being alone can be stressful.
The problem with being part of a herd is you usually have to go where the herd goes. Sure, you can wander off a bit to see if the grass or bugs in are tastier in another area, but you’re still basically expected to go where the herd goes. This is great if the herd is going where you want to go, but it’s not so great if you have a different destination in mind. When this happens, you have to make a decision: are you going to stay with the herd or become the leader of a new herd? What happens if you strike out and no one follows you? It’s a scary thought – one that keeps many a would be leader stuck in the back of the pack.
Those who do find the courage to strike out on their own usually find they aren’t alone. Humans are naturally curious creatures and if we see one of our own all alone, we wonder – what are they doing there? We tend to join them to find out. I learned this lesson when I was in high school. I kept trying to find a spot to each lunch alone and I kept ending up with a group of people who would find me and join me for lunch. It turns out that it’s really hard to be alone. People won’t let you.
The next time you find yourself lacking the courage to strike out on your own, remember this: someone will probably follow you. It might not be a lot of people. It might not be the entire herd, but some of them will follow you, curious to see where you’re headed. Just give them time to notice you’ve strayed off the beaten path, and don’t go so far away they can’t find you.
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.