"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." ~Robert Frost
One beautiful spring day, one of my cousins and I were out hiking around Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. You cannot follow a specific path or trail in the park because the terrain is stony and barren, which makes it impossible to leave a trail on the ground. To remedy this there are stacks of stones called cairns along the trail. When you reach a cairn you should be able to look around and see the next cairn to go to, in this way you follow a path to many beautiful places.
Well, my cousin and I took a well traveled path to see an arch. When we got to the arch, we discovered and less traveled path that was label with a sign that read “Caution: Primitive Trail Difficult Hiking.” “How hard could it be?” we asked ourselves. We started on a journey that would prove a great learning experience.
At one point on this “primitive trail”, we came to a small stream running through our path. It had just rained and snowed the night before, so it was running high. It traveled in front of us and between two rocks. We searched and searched, but could not find the next cairn. It became quite obvious that we were now going to have to guess where to go next. If we chose to go back the way we came, we would have difficulty climbing the steep slick rock we had just slid down. If we chose to go up the little hill we would be ankle deep in wet snow. Because the stream between the two rocks didn’t leave any room to get by, we would have to use a very small crack in one of the rocks to climb to the other side near the pool the stream fell into. It was quite the dilemma. We had no idea where to go because we couldn’t find the cairn. Essentially we were lost. I stayed calm only in knowing that if we really were lost, eventually someone would find us. That’s what search and rescue is for, right?
We finally decided to use the small crack to climb to the other side of the rocks. As I tried to use the crack to avoid landing in the deep pool below me, I kept slipping due to the smooth worn out bottoms of my shoes. I took them off and hooked them around my backpack, and barefoot maneuvered myself to the other side. I remember thinking how I hoped that this was the right way because there was no way I was going back! We put our shoes back on and searched around for a minute, and there it was! The small cairn was standing as tall and proud as it could, saying, “This way! This way is the right way!” We continued on our way and made it back to the trailhead.
I found myself thinking how this adventure we had been on was so similar to our journey here in mortal life. We start out on this journey, and we are excited to experience something new and to work towards returning to live with our Father in Heaven. As we travel on this journey there are certain "cairns" that mark the path to help me get where I need to go. The first few are our parents, family, church leaders and many other people who teach us and light the way for us. They teach us about other cairns that can be used as tools to help us find our way, such as the atonement, scriptures, prayer, fasting, personal revelation and much more. Sometimes we come to cairns that lead us on difficult paths. These paths test us and our resolve to continue on our journey. We get stronger when we pass through difficult things. Other times we are searching everywhere and we are not able to find the next cairn on our path, and we get to take a step into the darkness before Heavenly Father helps us see the little cairn marking it as the correct path. Sometimes we choose to go the wrong way, to explore and see what else is out there. We can become lost and afraid. Our Heavenly Father seeing this might happen sent a Savior to atone for our mistakes and help lead us back to our correct path.
I know that as I follow my Savior and strive to follow the cairns on my path of life, I am given the strength I need to keep moving and to help others on my way. I'm very thankful for my own personal cairns, especially the Atonement, scriptures, teachings of the prophets and apostles, and my own personal angels, all of whom have assisted me in shifting my life to build a personal relationship with my Savior and finding and living in what I like to call my “soulful brilliance.”
I love to learn about words and the meaning they had when they first were used. I love to learn the true meaning of words. So let's take a moment to look at what the words soulful and brilliance really mean.
soulful = soul + ful
A soul is a "spiritual and emotional part of a person". It is the place inside of each of us that is connected to our Heavenly Father and our emotions and feelings. Our emotions are gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. He has given them to us to help us to find our paths and to govern our lives. "-ful" is a suffix meaning "full of". So soulful is to have a spiritual part of ourselves that is full of feelings. Some of those feelings might include sadness, depression, and loneliness or passion, fire, and purpose.
Brilliance comes from the word brilliant, which means "shining, sparkling." It is a synonym of shine, which means to "shed light or be radiant." It also means "excellence or distinction"
These things said, what is Soulful Brilliance really? It is the greatness inside you. It's the gifts, talents, and abilities that exist in the core of who you are. Your. Divine. Potential. It is the place inside of you that contains love, truth, light, peace and wisdom. It is the whisper calling to you in all the noisiness of life, asking you to give it meaning. It is the light that stands at the foundation of who you are in this life. It's acting on the feelings inside yourself--your intuition, your own personal revelation--and following the path to your greatness, your passion.
As you discover your soulful brilliance and embrace it, you will find that you will rise to levels of accomplishment that you had never thought possible. You start to radiate the light of Christ and the light of your brilliance, which will lead others to you, so you may be an instrument in His hands to light the path for them.
We all desire to have purpose in life. Purpose is our driving energy in life. When we discover our soul purpose, our SOULFUL BRILLIANCE, we find we have an infinite supply of energy and enthusiasm. Our capacity expands and becomes almost effortless.
Many people desire a quick answer or quick path to discovering their path or soulful brilliance, but the truth is that it is different for everyone. There is no one way to find your soulful brilliance. The best we can do is to have faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan for our life and to be ready to receive His direction when it does come.
We are each on our own journey to discovering ourselves. I've learned through the years that it comes a little at a time. I think Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom knew that if He gave it all to us at one time we may get overwhelmed and not be able to accomplish all He desires of us. He has given us gifts, talents and special experiences so we can be a light for others to shape their lives in the way He intended. I love this scripture: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid...Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (3 Nephi 12:14-16). I know that as we grow closer to our Heavenly Father and work on shaping our own lives to accomplish all He wants us to do, we become like a city on a hill. A bright light shining and inviting others to come and see all the amazing and wonderful things that are in store for them if they but come unto Christ.
I often hear people tell me they don’t have any talents, that they aren’t good at anything. If that is you, here is what I have to say about that. No one, NOT ONE SOUL, on the face of the earth is excluded from receiving gifts, talents, and abilities that are unique to him or her. Our Father in Heaven sent us here with purpose that is uniquely ours and the power and tools we need to accomplish that purpose. We are blessed with the beautiful opportunity to have a life. This life is a time to learn and grow. TO PROGRESS. We get to find out who we really are. It doesn’t all come at once. If it did we most likely wouldn’t appreciate it, but when we work towards it and sacrifice to find it, it becomes something most precious to us. Something we are committed to, so we may return to our Father in Heaven and report that we did all we could do to keep the covenants we made with Him.
If you are anything like I was, you are probably on your well travelled path right now. The path you have been stuck on because you’ve been afraid to try something new, or afraid to fail. It is paved with beliefs formed from experiences in your life. Those beliefs are limiting you and keeping you from living up to your divine potential. For many of us we trudge on, staying with what we know and feel safe with, all the while feeling like life is beating us down. Like horrible things always happen to us. We know our lives need to change. We just don't know how to go about changing them.
I had been trudging down my well travelled path for 28 years. Clinging to my limiting beliefs, to my well travelled path. It was my comfort zone. Fear of the unknown rooted me to my path. I knew there was somewhere I wanted my path to take me, but I had no clear vision of where exactly. Then finally I came to a fork in the road...
I was sitting in my basement, being lonely and depressed, hating my life, when my cousin called me and invited me to meet someone who had assisted her in finding the path towards living in her soulful brilliance. As I met and spent time with this new friend, my Father in Heaven helped me to know that this was the road I should take. The part I could see looked rough and broken, dangerous and difficult. It was my path “less traveled by.” Others told me it would be worth taking, but it meant getting off the road that was safe and comfortable. It meant being willing to shift my limiting beliefs and allowing myself to stop hiding in the shadows and discover who I truly was, who my Heavenly Father created me to be.
I did it. I chose the path less traveled and it truly has made all the difference in my life! I discovered some cairns I hadn’t know and rediscovered some that I had had a brief acquaintance with. I discovered a greatness inside myself. A power that I had always had! When I finally let it out to shine, my life became cosmically bright and full of unending love and happiness! It was my SOULFUL BRILLIANCE!!
As I live my soulful brilliance each and every day, it is my desire for you also to discover your soulful brilliance and to live the life of love and happiness you've always dreamed of! It is my hope that as you read this book you will be able to learn from some small cairns of wisdom from scriptures, prophets, apostles, and other sources that were placed lovingly on your path by Heavenly Father. He loves you as only He can love, unconditionally. He wants for you to live a happy life and to return to him and have eternal life.
Let’s start this journey by quickly going over some things you should know about this book. First commit to being on this journey. I invite you not to just read this book, but “experiment upon my words”