To quote the most cliche of cliches, “life is a journey.” But how are you doing in your journey?
In this episode, Heather revisits a classic childhood story to tackle the dangers of reality, breaking tradition and pursuing unconventional ways, discovering your own unique truth, and giving yourself permission to follow it regardless of what others may say. The fable favorite seems pretty straightforward in giving us lessons but Heather uncovers a not-so-common lesson and drops a lot of truth bombs.
Give episode 120 a listen! You won’t regret it.
Soul Stirring Quotes:
“How do we walk our own hero or heroin’s journey if we stay on the beaten path?”
“There is no such thing as avoiding danger.”
“You aren’t guaranteed success just because you stay on the beaten path.”
“One thing you will never find while you’re doing it everyone’s way is your own magic.”
“It’s no more dangerous to be out there than it is for you to stay on the path because either way, when you are out of alignment, the wolf is going to find you.”
“We really should be getting off that beaten path because that is where your magic is.”
“If there’s an area of your life where you feel stagnant, where you feel unempowered, where you do not feel that you are being fully yourself, that is a sign that it’s time to get off the beaten path to go find your magic.”
“For the things that aren’t working for you, it’s time to let those go.”
“It is an act of love to be able to look at people who don’t understand you and say, I love you enough to let you judge me right now.”
“We have to be willing to go through that transformation process and be bent or even broken so that we can be put back together, newer, stronger, bigger, better.”
“So just because a person judges you or misunderstands you or thinks you’re crazy or whatever, that doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about it.”
“We should pray for strength in adversity, not a life of ease.”
- 00:28 It’s childhood storytime!
- 02:25 The essence of the Little Red Riding Hood story
- 06:18 Knowing when to leave or stay in our comfort zone
- 08:26 The forgotten lesson from the fable of Little Red Riding Hood
- 11:11 How to get off the beaten path enough to find your own magic
- 13:21 Here’s what you may want to do
- 18:09 Here’s what you may want to say
- 24:55 Wrapping up
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Heather Alice: Today I wanna talk about leaving the beaten path to find your magic and to talk about this, I want us to revisit the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
So we all remember that old fable from our childhood, the story of Little Red Riding Hood. So as the story goes, you know, Little Red Riding Hood wanting to go see her grandmother. Her grandmother, she was gonna bring a basket of goodies for her grandma, and she had to walk on this little beaten path through the woods to go visit her grandmother.
And of course, the, you know, the adults, the, as the story goes, kind of the warning that she receives is don’t, don’t go off the beaten path, right? There are wolves in the woods that can get you. So stay on the path. Go down the path that everybody else goes down, right? In other words, do what is known.
Follow the conventional advice or the conventional wisdom. Do what you’re quote unquote supposed to do. Do what is expected of you. Don’t do anything unusual. Follow the beaten path and you’ll make it to grandma’s house and everything will be great because you were a good girl and you took your basket of goodies to your grandma and you did everything that you were supposed to do like a good girl. Everything should be fine, right?
That’s kind of how the conventional wisdom of the Little Red Riding Hood fable goes. But of course, of course. You know, the story is actually very different, right? So she makes it to her grandmother’s house. And who does she encounter there? Oh, the Wolf.
I’ll get back to that in just a minute because I think that that is a really, really powerful point that we miss on the Little Red Riding Hood story. So why I want to revisit the Little Red Riding Hood story right now is because I think it is incredibly emblematic of how we are taught to approach our own personal growth and ascension.
We are born into the world to parents and a family that cares about us. They might not be perfect, but they do care, right? They’re doing the best they can to keep body and soul together, right? In their imperfect way. They love you. And what we are taught from the day that we are born is to stay on the beaten path.
To do things a certain way. The way your culture, your community, your family, your religion, your society, everything down the line, right? It is a prescribed path for living life. We are born into the world, and the minute that we’re born, we become socialized into this expectation of this is how we do things around here.
Okay? The minute that we’re born, we experience that. And I think the Little Red Riding Hood story is such a cool story that shows that. So, here is the challenge with the beaten path advice, because your magic has never, your personal magic is never gonna be found on that beaten path. Now, what I really struggled with when I started thinking about this process of like, how do we live a unique life that’s expressing our higher selves, that’s unique to us, right?
How do we hear the call and to our own destiny? Joseph Campbell would describe this as, you know, the call into the hero’s journey, right? How do we walk our own hero or heroin’s journey if we stay on the beaten path? You can’t. A big question that I had though, because I grew up in a family that had strong tribal laws, right?
This is the way things are done around here, and if you follow this, you’re a good girl, and if you don’t, you’re a bad girl. One of the big questions I had when it came to breaking these rules is this, but aren’t these rules here to protect me and keep me safe? You see, we have to be wise in it. We can’t, just like we can’t and should not live a life so incredibly prescribed, so incredibly on the beaten path, that’s death, right?
It’s stagnation. It’s too much order. There’s no creativity. There’s no vitality here. It’s just living this cookie cutter robotic version of everybody else. Just like we shouldn’t do this all the way. Conversely, we shouldn’t just throw the baby out with the bath water and fall into complete chaos. Never following any rules, never listening to anybody, just doing it our way, by ourselves all the time.
To hell with caution. To hell with what everybody says. Screw it. I’m gonna do what I wanna do. There’s a certain group of people that live this way. They’re called two year olds. So you know, just like we can’t always love the prescribed orderly model, right? The conformity model. We can’t live as complete, rugged, you know, individualists who just never listen to any conventional wisdom at all, because it might be conventional, but it is wisdom.
So how do we begin to tease this out for ourselves, both in our personal lives and in our business? How do I know when I’m sitting in my comfort zone for a damn good reason, because that’s where I should be. I should be doing things the way that other people, mentors, teachers, my parents, my family, my community, my tribe has taught me how to do it.
Actually, yeah. That’s exactly where I need to be. Comfort zones aren’t bad. You know, we don’t always have to be outside of them. How do I know when I’m where I should be in my comfort zone and when I am actually stifling myself by not getting out and off that beaten path? That’s a really powerful question, isn’t it?
Where, how do we find thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis? It’s right there in the middle that we want to be. Okay, so we don’t wanna be so conventional and on the beaten path we never express any individuality or truth or of our own destiny, but we also don’t want to be so far over here that our lives are a chaotic mess and we can’t even fit into the world, right?
We’re just off flying out into the stratosphere, right? We’re so, so conformity, and then too much individuality, right? We are social creatures. We do need help. We need guidance, we need support. How do we tease this out? How do we discover the middle? How do we find a synthesis for ourselves? That perfect mix between expressing our magic while also having impact on our communities, our families, our loved ones, while staying connected to the people in the world and the communities that we love, right?
So we’re really called to do both, aren’t we? We shouldn’t veer so far off the path that we can never, ever come back home. Joseph Campbell talks about the hero’s journey and he says that you’re supposed to go out off the beaten path into the wild, you know, out into the wild and find your magic and slay your dragon.
But what are you supposed to do at the end of that journey of the hero’s journey? What’s the most important part after the dragon is laid? What does the hero do? He comes back to his community, to his home, and he gives the gifts that he found out into the wild to his community, right?
So we want to always hold in our heart the beaten path. It’s not bad, but what we can’t do is allow it to control us to the extent that we never figure out who we are or what our individuality is. Okay?
Now I’m gonna give you a couple of suggestions here in a minute on how we can do that. But I wanna return to the Little Red Riding Hood story before we tackle those, because there’s an important point that I wanna make that I think the story, like we miss it in the Little Red Riding Hood story.
So Little Red Riding Hood, what does she do? She follows the path and she goes to her grandma’s house. And who does she meet in the cabin anyway? The Wolf, doesn’t she? I think this is really powerful because what it shows us is this, there is no such thing as avoiding danger. You can spend the rest of your life being a good little girl or a boy, you know, checking the box, doing what you’re told, living in fear of other people’s opinions, never bucking the system.
Just living the prescribed life. You can do that. It doesn’t mean the wolf isn’t going to find you. It is going to find you. It finds everyone and I think the Little Red Riding Hood story shows that, right? It’s so emblematic of the fact that you can still do everything the way you were taught.
The vicissitudes of life will still find you. The pain of life will still find you. The danger of life is still going to find you. So you aren’t guaranteed anything by going the way of the crowd. In other words, you’re still gonna get your ass handed to you. Life hands, the life hands, everybody their ass. So I think that’s a really liberating realization to have. Who says that just because you do it the conventional way, everything’s going to work out for you?
Jim Carey, famous actor from the nineties and is still popular today said, you know, they asked him what motivated you to become an actor? And he said, I watched my father, I think his dad was an accountant. His dad wanted to be an actor and a comedian. Of course chose, oh, who are you to do that? Who are you to go off the beaten path? Became an accountant instead. And then when Jim Carey was very young, his father lost everything. And he said, Jim Carey said, I learned something very important by witnessing that what my father had experienced, I saw that you can fail miserably at doing what you don’t love as well.
You aren’t guaranteed success just because you stay on the beaten path. Even if you do find success doing it somebody else’s way, you’ll probably be miserable once you get there. And even at that, even if you do succeed doing it other people’s way, you know it can be taken from you any minute. It’s not guaranteed that you’re not gonna meet the wolf just because you’re doing it the way mommy and daddy and you know, everyone told you to do. Think about that for a minute. The wolf will always find you.
So what do we do? How do we address this? How do we get off the beaten path enough to find our own magic? Because one thing you will never find while you’re doing it everyone’s way is your own magic. Never. You will never find it there. And what I see happening in the world is brilliant, brilliant people who have so much to offer, but because of this narrative, right, this we are taught from birth that to get off the beaten path is a bad thing.
We never have an opportunity to express it, but we don’t know that the reason why we’re not able to find our magic. It’s a simple matter of just being willing to try things your own way, but because of this societal program, we feel like that is wrong and dangerous and bad. But you know what? It’s no more wrong, dangerous than bad, than doing it somebody else’s way because the wolf is going to find you.
Okay? So how do we find that balance? How do we find the balance? Here is what I’m going to offer you. It takes wisdom and discernment to understand when the beaten path convention, we can call the beaten path or you can also think conventional wisdom cuz again, conventional wisdom is wisdom man. You know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of thing.
You know, we’re finite creatures. We need to lean on each other’s lessons and on each other’s wisdom to make it through life. So how do we, in other words, garner wisdom from our community, from the world at large, while also giving ourselves flexibility to be out off that beaten path, discovering our own magic, but still feeling connected to something solid within us by still remaining as members of that tribe in that community.
Okay, so that’s what I’m offering. Getting off the beaten path doesn’t mean that you’re just throwing everything out the window and you’re just breaking all the rules. No, no, no. It just means you’re giving yourself an opportunity to figure out the way you uniquely would like to do it. Okay, so here is what I want you to do.
Sit down and ask yourself what is working for me right now? What is working? If it is working for you, and its conventional wisdom, by all means continue to do it. But if it is not working for you, then that is something you need to get off the beaten path with. That is something that you need to say, okay, this way of being isn’t working and it doesn’t matter how deeply ingrained it has been programmed into me to do it.
I need to break up with this way of doing it because it is no more dangerous for you to go off the beaten path and go out into the woods and find your own unique way. It’s no more dangerous to be out there than it is for you to stay on the path because either way, when you are out of alignment, the wolf is going to find you.
There’s no such thing as not finding it. The difference is how are you going to face that wolf? In the name of what? Is it worth it? I don’t know about you, but I would like to face that wolf by standing firmly saying, you know what? I know that I am out here doing what I am called to do, living my own life, stake serving a community, giving, you know, taking my lessons, applying what I have learned.
Yes, relying on the wisdom of my ancestors and my community to do it, but also ditching that at a moment’s notice when my own spirit and soul asks me to do something differently, asks me to innovate, asks me to create. Asks me to bring in something new. I know that that’s what I’m doing. And if that means I’ve gotta stare you down in the yellow of your eyes, Mr. Wolf, then let’s go. Let’s go. Saddle up. I’m ready because I know it’s going to come no matter what.
And I’d rather it be for something I believe in. I would rather that fight come to me knowing that I’m doing it in service of something greater than myself. Knowing that I’m trying my best to yield new information, new insight, new wisdom, new experience, new, something right, for my community, that I had the courage to go off the beaten path and find it for myself and then bring it back to my community and say, look, look, this is what I discovered.
Maybe this will help, maybe this will help you guys. What do you think? That is how we learn and grow. It’s the perfect mix between following the known, the tradition. You know, the circle expands, the wisdom expands. So by all means, if it’s working for you, stick with it. But we have to be honest with ourselves about why we’re adhering to the rules we’re following.
And what most of us are doing, the vast majority of us hold on way too long. We really should be getting off that beaten path because that is where your magic is. That is the only place you will ever find your own magic. It’s off that path. And so if there’s an area of your life where you feel stagnant, where you feel unempowered, where you do not feel that you are being fully yourself, that is a sign that it’s time to get off the beaten path to go find your magic. It doesn’t mean you have to live off the path. It doesn’t mean you can never come back to the path. Of course you can. Of course you can. Nobody can live constantly out in the jungle alone, right? That our nervous systems couldn’t handle that, right?
You’re supposed to come back to your comfort zone and hang out for a hot minute. You’re supposed to come back the firelight of the tribe and sit and chill for a minute. Absolutely, and you can always come back. You can always come back. But for the things that aren’t working for you, it’s time to let those go.
Now, when we do that, when we go off the beaten path, here’s why it’s really challenging because people who are unwilling to get off the beaten path and people who have absolutely no either interest or courage to do so, really have a hard time understanding why you’re stepping off, why you are stepping off the path.
They’re like, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be like the rest of us? You know, we’re all purple Oompa Loompas here. And you’re like, well, I’m purple, but I want to have green spots. You know, so I’m out and I might dye my hair orange. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m still a purple oompa loompa, but I want my own flavor of doing it. Right. They don’t understand that, right? Or they resent the fact that you’re giving yourself permission to do it when they deeply, secretly want to do it to, but won’t give themselves permission.
And so what we have to do in that moment, we’re like about to step off. Joseph Campbell said, you start your own hero’s journey to discover your own magic at the darkest point of the forest where no man has ever walked. It’s uniquely your own trail, your own path. And we have to be willing to step into it if we’re going to find our magic. And if we’re gonna find our magic to bring home to our tribe, right? So in that moment that we’re gonna go step off the path, what we have to do is say to ourselves, it’s okay that you don’t understand me.
It’s okay. I accept. I am going to go off and be a little unicorn right now. We’re a little pack of zebras. I’m gonna go be a unicorn for a hot minute and go find my magic over here and come back. In my heart and soul, I’m still a little zebra, but I’m also a unicorn too. And you are too, by the way.
Now whether you give yourself permission to express it, I don’t know. That’s up to you. But for me right now, it’s okay that you don’t understand that there is this thing I feel called to do and I’m actually doing it because I love you. I’m actually willing to break these tribal laws and to what it appears to on the surface would be break ancestral tradition or ancestral law, right? Whatever it appears to on the surface. I actually understand that I’m doing it in honor of you. I’m actually doing it because I know that I’m the tip of this spear. That it’s a new day. It’s a new world that we can try new things.
I’m actually doing it because I’m gonna be the curse breaker, the generational curse breaker. I’m gonna be the last one in the family who lives in poverty. I’m gonna be the last person in the family that continues on with the dysfunctional relationship patterns that we’ve had in our family for generations.
I’m gonna be the last one, that’s why I’m stepping off the path. I understand you don’t get that yet. That’s okay. You’re not supposed to. You’re not the one who’s called to break the pattern. I am. And I love you, and it’s all right and it’s okay. You’re gonna see it’s gonna be okay. I’m gonna be okay. I’m gonna go out here on this path and yes, it’s dangerous.
Yes, the wolf might come and get me, but I know something I already know it’s gonna find me no matter what. There are no guarantees. So when you have that moment of stepping off the path and all that judgment, rejection, and abandonment rears its ugly head, we say to ourselves, it’s okay that I’m misunderstood because I know that this isn’t the end of a story. It’s the beginning of a new one.
And I’m gonna go out here and have an adventure and come back. And then people will understand. They will watch me out there. They will see me shine. I’m gonna make mistakes. And it’s gonna be an epic saga. That’s the gift you’re giving people, your ascension, all of it, your success and your failure.
The speed bumps you hit and you know the parts that work out perfectly, right? It’s all part of that masterpiece of finding your magic. So we have to have courage in that moment and give ourselves permission to be misunderstood and allow the love to come in. And it is an act of love to be able to look at people who don’t understand you and say, I love you enough to let you judge me right now.
I love you enough to allow for this. It’s okay. There is space in my heart for you to misunderstand. There is space in my heart for you to judge. There is space in my heart for you to reject. There is space in my heart for you to abandon because I know what you’re really doing these things for is because you’re terrified that I am doing something that makes you deeply uncomfortable or concerned for me cuz you love me.
There’s space in my heart for that. I am okay with being judged, rejected, and abandoned by you because I have myself. And I also know that we’re gonna circle back and things are gonna be okay. This too shall pass. We have to be willing to go through that transformation process and be bent or even broken so that we can be put back together, newer, stronger, bigger, better.
So just because a person judges you or misunderstands you or thinks you’re crazy or whatever, that doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about it. We’ve been taught to think, oh no, why do I have to feel bad if somebody judges me? I understand that that is their projection. It’s their own self-judgment. It has nothing to do with me.
I actually feel really bad. I’m like, I’m sorry that you are so terrified at watching a person who’s going to embrace their own magic. I can only dream and fathom of how painful that must be for you, because you have spent your whole life saying no to yourself.
So yeah, it’s triggering shit to watch somebody fearlessly step off the path. I have compassion for people who judge me for that or reject me or laugh, whatever it is, whatever reaction. I know that that is an expression of their own inner critic, their own inner sensor. And I actually consider it a mandate, an even bigger mandate to take and step off the path to show them that the wolf is conquerable.
That we don’t need to be afraid of the wolf. That we should pray for strength in adversity, not a life of ease. Because it’s going to find you. There’s no such thing as it not finding you. That is the hero’s journey. You will meet the dragon. You will meet the wolf, okay? So it’s about allowing ourselves to have to understand that we can get off the beaten path and find our magic, but we can always come home.
It really does work that way. And also, here’s another thing. When you’re out there finding your magic, you meet new tribes of people. You meet other people who become family. It does nothing but expand. You expand, expand, expand. It’s all more, more and more. Abundance, abundance, abundance. Being willing to let go of what needs to be let go. Being willing to embrace all of the new. Trusting that what is really for you will never leave you entirely. It will come back around. It requires so much trust. Okay.
So be willing to get off the beaten path and find your magic. You are doing this for your own happiness, but also for the betterment and the growth of everyone in your life that you meet. You are giving them a beacon of light to look at and say, oh my God, look at her go. What a gift that is, right?
So I hope that you’ll spend a few minutes thinking about what you can do to get off the beaten path of the parts of your life that aren’t working for you. Make a commitment to changing those things that are not truly authentic to you or that align to you. Okay?
So I hope that this resonates you guys. It’s a gift and that’s where your magic is. You’re gonna find the wolf anyway, so we might as well stare the little sucker down and be brave with it. Allow ourselves to be misunderstood so that people can learn from us and with us, and that we can learn with and from them too. Okay.
I love you guys. I’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.