Know Thy Way...

If you are like me, at some point in your life (for me that's now), you've asked yourself over and over what your purpose in life is and what's your path.  For me, that's an especially difficult question because I know what it is that I want to do, only I don't know the correct way to go about achieving that goal and it seems that so many things have been put in my path to derail me from what I want.  So it's made me wonder if what I desire to do for the rest of my life, is indeed the path I'm supposed to take to my life's purpose.  

I mean after all, shouldn't your path to your purpose in life be easy, or if not easy shouldn't it be something that you know in your heart that you should do, therefore making some sort of progression toward that?  I just don't know, but what I do know is that my path is mine alone and no one else can tell me how to walk that path nor can anyone else tell me my life's purpose.  

 Photography, a hobby Ricky Williams didn't pick up until he started doing "What he wanted to do!"

Photography, a hobby Ricky Williams didn't pick up until he started doing "What he wanted to do!"

When you allow someone else to tell you what your value and purpose in life is, you then begin to live for others and lose yourself.  Once you lose yourself, you begin to lose a sense of reality, and your mental and emotional health begin to fail which will then affect the physical.  I know I don't have all the answers, but I do believe and feel that what I'm doing in my life right now isn't what I'm supposed to be doing for the rest of my life and not what's meant for me in the end.  If I were to die tomorrow (God forbid), to me my life would have been a failure.  

I wouldn't have achieved any of the goals that I have for myself.  So alas, I keep searching, and working towards what feels right, what may possibly make me feel complete.  I keep working towards what it is that would make me feel absolutely content.  A prime example of someone who led a life he didn't want to live, and eventually found himself and is now living a life of peace and happiness is former All Pro running back Ricky Williams.  

 A star running back at the University of Texas. Williams would set the college football career rushing record, win the Heisman trophy and turn into a highly sought after draft pick.

A star running back at the University of Texas. Williams would set the college football career rushing record, win the Heisman trophy and turn into a highly sought after draft pick.

Most recognize the name for negative reasons.  Many who didn't understand his situation and listened to the unfounded media reports of the past only know him as the enigmatic running back who had it all, fame and fortune, but gave it all up to smoke pot.  Atleast that's what you would believe if you think the media is completely accurate on all it's assessments (Hint: The media isn't correct on all it's assessments).  But when you listen to him tell his story, it's a story about feeling hollow on the inside despite all his apparent granduer.  

Despite his talent, Ricky revealed that he never really enjoyed football that much and many times he  didn't even want to play.  He said the only reason he played early in his career was because everyone else around him recognized his talent and said he should play, so he followed suit despite his own feelings.  The need to appease everyone else is what contributed to him developing an anxiety disorder and upon further reflection, his self destructive nature of smoking marijuana to relax resulting in continuous fines by the NFL and suspensions.  

It was his way of rebelling, striking out and doing what he wanted to do for himself.

 Ricky Williams during one of his prolific seasons with the Dolphins before retiring the first time. 

Ricky Williams during one of his prolific seasons with the Dolphins before retiring the first time. 

 Upon failing several drug tests, Williams abruptly retired from the NFL right before the 2004 season after leading the league in carries.  He stated that he felt it was something he needed to do for himself.  His body was beat up, he wasn't happy, and he needed to find himself.  So dispite erroneous and harmful reports and rumors that he retired so he could smoke pot, Williams left the country and lived in a tent on a beach in Austrailia for a year.  

It was there that he continued searching for himself, searching for the courage to be who he wanted to be.  Williams would later return to the NFL after the Dolphins tried suing him for back pay, which is ridiculous when you look at the fact that NFL contracts aren't guaranteed in their entirety and a team can cut a player at any time during their contract regardless of contract length.  Long story short, after a stint in the CFL then several more years in the NFL with the Dolphins and finally retiring with the Baltimore Ravens, Williams found his true love and his path in life through the study and practice of Hollistic Medicine and Yoga.  

You see, Williams eventually discovered what the problem was.  The issue was that he didn't care about the money, football, or the fame.  It was the folks around him that desired those things for him and through him.  And when he tried living his life according to what others wanted, walking the path they said he should, he was a very unhappy and lost person.  

When he found himself and his own path, he found that his joy in life was to help others through the practice of Yoga and Hollistic medicine.

 Ricky practicing Yoga, where he is a licensed instructor as well as a budding photographer who has photographed several NFL games.

Ricky practicing Yoga, where he is a licensed instructor as well as a budding photographer who has photographed several NFL games.

 So that's just what he did, he got licensed and began helping people by teaching them healthy living practices through these new found disciplines that he loves.  Ricky is now living a happy, peaceful, productive life, doing what he loves with his wife and family.  Ricky Williams' journey was an Odyssey much like that of the mighty Odysseus after the Trojan war.  And like Odysseus he found his prize, which for Ricky happened to be himself after hard fought bouts with himself and public opinion about how he should live his very own life.  

In the end his journey was well worth it.  I hope my journey comes to an ending full of peace and joy as well.  Someone asked me once, if I could choose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and be completely happy what would it be.  Without hesitation I said it would be to bike and travel the world while playing chess and learning from people that I've met along the way as well as owning a rare book store.  Sounds like a lot, I know.  

But why shouldn't I have these things?  Who is anyone else to say I'm not worthy of that life or deserving of it?  If I could indeed achieve such a life, you would probably never hear from me again.  Why?  Because I would be too busy living a happy, peaceful life.