Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet—1

by Liz Jansen

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.”––Gabriel Marcel

mystical pathWhen people ask where I’m going or how long I’ll be gone, the standard answer is, “I don’t know.” It drives administrators in insurance companies, travel clinics, and government offices crazy. Most want to know precisely which days I’m going to be in specific countries and when I’m returning. Right now I’m at a point that I imagine most expectant mothers reach–i.e., stop thinking and preparing, and deliver—i.e., get out on the road.

Crossing this threshold is something I anticipate with excitement and apprehension. It’s an awesome opportunity to experience new places, perspectives, and people. It’s a chance to discover new worlds, both within and around me. Yet I’ve never felt so comfortable and at home in my little place in the cedars—a sure sign that it’s time to get moving.

One of my greatest personal challenges is letting go of my need to control, and trust that I don’t need to run the universe. It’s very easy for me to fill up my days, albeit with important things, but not leave enough time to nourish, rest, and exercise body and spirit. In other words, maintain balance. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what environment you place yourself in. Familiar patterns have a way of staying with you, even when they don’t serve your higher self

This will be complicated even further on the road, because I’m continuing all my work, just doing it from wherever I am. That requires a high degree of organization. Balancing letting go with being organized is an interesting conundrum. But there’s nothing like changing things up and disrupting the status quo to force a recalibration of priorities. I look forward to addressing it.

As I prepare for departure, I’ve been divesting myself of so much stuff that’s accumulated over the years, and I don’t have a lot of things by many Western standards. It’s been tremendously liberating and there’s a week to go. Not having to move out has mitigated this somewhat, but I still take a look around and evaluate how important it can be if I haven’t looked at it in years, and am now leaving it for an indefinite period. Usually that means it’s about to be sent to the Paws and Claws thrift shop or the recycle bin.

Years ago, the late Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist whose work has been enormously insightful and transformative for me, coined the phrase, “Walking the mystical path with practical feet.” It’s a model I embrace, practice and continue to integrate into my life. That can be done from wherever I am—and whatever I’m riding.

Practically speaking, I’ve prepared my motorcycle, my self and my gear, as best I can. I do know which direction I’m headed in when I pull out of the driveway and have a few data points, a loosely put together route for the first three months, and a couple of destinations in mind once I leave the US. Watch for more details on that next week.


photo credit: aimeewenske via photopin cc


Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

8 Comments on “Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet—1

  1. Love your articles Liz – they always seem to come at the right time (imagine that!). I hope you have been strengthening your bands of protection. I’ll sage you and encircle you in bands of white light that no negativity can cross when you set out. Safe travels my friend, stay in touch.

    • Your gifts are gratefully accepted Penny. Am so grateful to have those bands in the first place. Another case of good timing! Safe travels to you too. Sending lots of light and healing energy back.


  2. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we adjust our priorities and shift our mindset, isn’t it? Your adventure sounds amazing.
    My adventure doesn’t begin until next year. I can’t tell you when because I don’t know exactly when, and I can’t tell you where because I don’t know exactly where. We are in the process of preparing to rent our house out (finishing the last of the renovations) and buying another one with more room to have an apartment for tenants and an apartment for us to move into. All this work and expense now is so that we can be on the road for months and months next year while (crossing fingers) our tenants pay for most of our property costs while we’re gone. If it works, longer and more frequent travels are the goal.
    We came up with this idea after attending our first HUBB last fall in Parry Sound. Hearing those presentations and meeting the travellers really made an impact on how serious our love for travel was. Hence the plan was hatched and has been falling into place ever since!
    All the best Liz, looking forward to following your adventure.

    • Hi Marel,

      You have to be careful going to those HUBB meetings! They ignite your adventure gene – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a wonderful gathering that attracts people who live their life with gusto. I laughed when I read that you don’t know when or where. Perfect! I can’t wait to hear where your road takes you. Please keep me posted and enjoy the adventures every step of the way between now and when you leave – whenever that is.