Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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Along the Road to Enlightenment . . .

When I entered graduate school in my early twenties, I was filled with a youthful optimism that flavored my conversations about my newly acquired health habits and recently encountered spiritual philosophies.

"Of course I'll be able to stick with eating no sugar, and, as they say, once the planet is through with this time of transition, it will be even easier to stick with our healthy habits."

I can remember a fellow graduate student, at least twenty years older than myself, letting out horse-like sounds when she'd overhear us young ones. Often, she couldn't resist throwing in some version of her signature remark, "I can remember . . . [insert 'thinking that way,' 'believing in that,' 'being that way,'] when I was your age." Although a cackling, dismissive laugh never followed her words, it was implied, and I learned, over time, to avoid and ignore her.

Still, I can't help but think of her now as I'm around the age that she was then-- and to realize, painful as it is to admit, that she did have a point. Although I try to refrain from grunting or snorting when I hear one more reference to a once-in-a-lifetime cosmic shift, I do find myself needing to pause and consider my response.

I know that two decades ago, my ears weren't interested in hearing bitter remarks from skeptics, nor should they have been, on one level. At the time, it seems I really needed to believe there was a linear road to enlightenment, and that the planets would likely re-align in some ease-producing way. I wasn't yet ready to face the messiness of life's journey or to confront my own human limitations. Certainly, I wasn't ready to admit that my periodic purchases of "Lucky Charms" weren't merely for my brother's upcoming visits-- that deep down, even it if was completely holistically and spiritually incorrect, I loved those tiny marshmallows with all my heart.

Maybe what I was most unprepared to embrace was the possibility that the detours and derailments of my spiritual practices and self-growth commitments and health-related endeavors were actually essential aspects of these practices and commitments and endeavors. While it hasn't always been easy to accept this, there's also a freedom in seeing that the road isn't narrow or straight or even GPS map-able in the ways it once seemed it would be. Fortunately, the winding, unexpected curves of life can be said to create a richer adventure-- one might even say, an adventure that's a bit magical and delicious in its own right.

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Jul. 2, 2012:  Remembering What's Most Essential
Jun. 4, 2012:  Along the Road to Enlightenment . . .
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