The path of least resistance wasn’t a sin after all! In Mexico where she lives now, the only thing she has retired from is resistance. The word retired has itself been retired. Taking its place is the lovely Spanish translation, jubilada. She has changed from a hard-way girrl to an easy-does-it jubilant. The path of least resistance feels like a stream. When the season dries the flow for a time, her experience tells her that moisture is accumulating unseen, and will soon again become a rainy season outflow. The path of least resistance, shockingly free of boulders and dead ends, is the one on which she now walks and lives her writer’s life.
Smooth, she finds it now, taking the path of least resistance. When she was a girl, they’d implied it was somehow wrong, that she should do it the hard way. Now she has the permission, her own, to see it anew. She no longer feels the need to prove herself through struggle and hardship. Skipping resistance is the path that makes sense, for it is the path on which she most can gather and conserve her creative energy. Skipping that old habitual step of resistance, becomes, ah, the lightest way to dance her life.
Long ago it was the hard way, not only for creating, but for reaching readers as well. Long ago a submission meant a manila envelope or a manuscript box of typed paper mailed by hand, and responses waited for. Years of waiting, sometimes. Often no response at all. A path of terrible resistance, accepted and expected as the norm. Now she can post an essay on her blog the day she is finished writing it, and often receive feedback the same day. The responses nourish her work further, and her path spirals onwards.
Skipping the resistance feels like the other kind of skipping, the youthful motion that, with each innocent step on her path, lifts her jubilantly. How she could ever have believed her culture’s patriarchal prescription for a Hero’s Journey—that fighting one’s way through resistance was essential to her value—she can no longer recall. Her hero’s journey now means discovering the path of least resistance in every sphere. Rather than working, hard, to find connections, she finds that friends appear in her life. Rather than working, hard to decide what opportunities to take, she finds that opportunities come to light each day.
At seventy, it is a new archetype that describes her on the path. Instead of the hero’s journey with its military metaphor of life as a battle, she steps to the path of least resistance as the sacred Fool. Hers is the perception called Beginner’s Mind, the state of not-knowing, of expecting everything, and her trust lies in the goodness of life. Taking risks, looking foolish to others and caring not at all, she skips jubilant along the precious path of least resistance.
Note: This was my work at our weekly writing circle, where today the prompt, to which six of us wrote silently together for 45 minutes, was “She took the path of least resistance.”