Shirley Abbott, in the

Bookmaker's Daughter

, tells about the mythology of Native Australians. The primordial wanderers, she writes, the ones who created the universe, shaped themselves from clay during "Dreaming Time," and made "shining paths across the continent, singing these paths into existence as they went."

"Unless they chose to walk in a certain direction," she continues, "the path could never exist."

Do you know your path? Do you know that you exist because you have a unique blend of talents, gifts and passions that carve out a


- a path - that no one else can create? It's both simple and agonizingly difficult to see and


- to intimately know your path. First, really

be with

the Divine every day. Second, begin to move in the direction for which your heart cries. Third, monitor carefully your inner and outward journey because the key to finding your path is to know, to the best of your ability,

who you are


I moved to Boulder, Colorado several months ago but each time someone has welcomed me, I explain to them that my soul has always been here, it just took time for my body to catch up. Physically, I live near the top of a mountain surrounded by forest and snowy peaks. Spiritually, these particular mountains have always been the place where I connect most deeply with God. I've called other places home, but the energy of the forest in which I wake each morning is part of my soul in a way I cannot explain.

One name of God is


- the Place. How can God be known as "the place" when God doesn't dwell anywhere? In an anonymous article on a Jewish website, I read this: "If you think about the meaning of a place, you'll know that it is more than a geographical location. It's a space which is capable of containing something else." All of creation is but an extension of


, and to a lesser degree, I feel the same intertwining in my relationship to these mountains.

Here is an easier example: I didn't become a Jew. I discovered that I had been one all along and I eventually made it "official". So it's been with writing (I'm a writer, not someone who writes), setting out to become a rabbi (it has already become enmeshed with my identity), and having worked with the elderly for three decades (a piece of me seems to be missing when I'm not beside them).

I've watched as many of my friends have jumped from path to path, never settling. For them, it's a journey, and they pick up tidbits of spiritual wisdom from many religions and spiritual traditions, but they have failed to choose a steady path of their own. Perhaps this has worked for some of them, but for most, I see them reaching a time in their lives when they feel unsettled and without direction or anchor. 

Obviously, change can and should happen or we become stagnant, and borrowing from other traditions is spiritually healthy. That isn't what I'm talking about. The problem lies in jumping around so much that you're incapable of going deeply into

echad haMakom

: one Divine Place. Saadya Gaon, a rabbi and philosopher who lived and wrote in the first century CE, wrote that one of the greatest hindrances in finding wisdom is seeing some flaw in your spiritual path and, instead of wrestling with it, flippantly abandoning that path and moving to another and then another and then another,

ad infinitum


Recently I had a dream in which I rode a bicycle on a path and came speeding up behind two men who chatted together as they casually rode side by side. I careened around them in frustration and cut in front of them, remaining on the path, even though a vast field, the easy route, stretched to my left. As I pulled back onto the path, I immediately encountered a massive pillar of solid concrete and I nudged my bike into it, willing the wall to move or crumble, until I finally rode around it, still careful to remain on the path.

As Bob and I discussed the dream, it became apparent that my very identity lies wrapped in the path I'm traveling, and that while I encounter frustrating obstacles, I know I must remain on the path, battering down the obstacles or finding ways to go around them while avoiding the easier route (the vast field) that would cast me floundering around for my identity and purpose.

Carve your path, sweet friend.

Sing it into existence

. Make it shine.

Shabbat Shalom,