(Carolyn Jones shared the following fork in the road story.)
I fall into the category of hearing the voice, following where it took me, and discovering great beauty in myself and others. By following my bliss, I passed through the gates of my heart.
I am a photographer. Several years ago, I discovered a community filled with wrought-iron entry gates. I grew to love these gates and could not stop photographing them. That is the voice I listened to initially, the one that said to keep shooting them. Drawn to their beauty, they began to represent the ways in which my heart was closed – to myself, to others.
I kept photographing the gates and soon I had a collection, a series. I listened to the voice that said to name them, naming each gate using words from lists I had made. My lists included feelings, both positive and negative, principles of living, and ways to treat others and myself. In 2010, this photography collection was published in a book Opening The Gates of the Heart.
After naming these gates, I had an epiphany. One day in my journal, I wrote: “I have spent a lifetime spinning webs of terror and shame that stand as sentinels to my heart.” This was very powerful, as not three days before, I had named an image of spider’s web on a gate “Webs of Fear.” I realized that my journal entry described the image and its title.
I followed the fork searching through my journals for anything that could be used to match with a gate. With few exceptions, I found prose that paired with each image.
Then the voice told me to compile a book of the paired prose and photographs. The result has been “Opening the Gates of the Heart”, a book about my journey through the gates of despair to peace and joy. I am currently following the voice that is encouraging me to tell my story, and I am blogging my way through the book. You can follow along as I journey through the book at http://www.gatesoftheheart.wordpress.com.
Not only have I been willing to listen to that small voice that has progressively led to my book which I am told is filled with hope and inspiration, I have been able to heal, as I have gone through the gates of my own heart, as well.