Paths, pathways, passages. Different words with similar and multiple meanings. They can be very real and tangible or symbolic and existential. Paths invite us toward something or can lead us away from another. They can represent opportunity, safety, mystery, or even danger depending on the individual and the experience. There is something about the mystery of paths that make their meaning unique to each of us, yet remain a dominant theme in human existence.

A path in the literal sense can be as pure as a winding dirt walkway through the forest inviting us to be in rhythm with nature. The living forest assaults our senses with the colors, sounds, scent and textures of nature. It becomes a journey of the senses and often an inner journey as well.

A second very literal path can be that which is created by man, such as an interstate or motorway. This path has its own personality and characteristics. It too, brings us toward some thing, or away from something else, usually at a much quicker, stressful and sometimes dangerous pace. We’re on our way to visit with an old friend, or moving to a new town to begin a new chapter in life. We’re ending a painful experience in our life. This path gets us there.

A pathway has always been a powerful theme in my personal life. One that I have always been aware of and paid close attention to. I have traveled many paths, as I believe we all have. Some are fun, some challenging; some are purely professional, while others are deeply personal and heartbreaking.

My career has led me in a variety of directions in life. When I reflect on that, I realize I would not be who, or where I am today had I not walked those paths. I have had several “careers” in my professional life and at first glance, they seem completely unrelated, going in haphazard directions. Dig down below the surface and you will learn that they were indeed different pathways yet, they were all connected by a series of people, places or events. Indeed, each one of those paths led and connected to me to the next path.

My opportunity to write for Pondering Time is the result of a collection of paths I have traveled that include; music, counseling, faith & spirituality, addiction, criminal justice and oddly, a vacation. They are a cornucopia of pathways and experiences that somehow and quite interestingly fit together. When I received this topic, I was immediately drawn to it and felt a desire to write and share how dominant a theme, “paths” are in my life. Just how important paths are in my life? By the time this article is published, my solo album will have been released. The title of the album is “A Passage To Wisdom.” The album is a collection of personal life experiences put to a soundtrack.

Whatever word we choose to use, pathways are what connect us all on this journey called “life.” How many paths have you traveled? Many, I presume. Whatever your path is, follow it. It is “you” at this moment. I believe we are all exactly where we are meant to be. All of the paths you have traveled have led you to where you are this moment. Embrace who you are. Follow your path.

Faith, Hope & Love

Michael Spaccarotella

Michael Spaccarotella has been a counselor in a correctional facility for 15 years. Prior to completing his Masters work in counseling, he had a successful 25 year career in the business world. Additionally, Michael spent 6 years of study in spirituality and prayer in the Catholic seminary. Michael is also a lifelong song writer/guitar player. He is about to release his first solo album. Michael is also the co-producer of, “Walking Through Purgatory, An Ex-Offenders Struggle With Reentry”, a short documentary that looks at the connection between; mental health, addiction, criminal behavior and the justice system.
Michael Spaccarotella

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