Thursday, May 5, 2011


Last week I did not follow my intuition again. I was traveling from the top of Manhattan to the bottom, heading for a water taxi across the Hudson to a restaurant in Liberty State Park to meet my daughter for lunch. I took the A train from the last stop – or first, depending on how you look at it – down to the World Trade Center. Surfacing, I oriented to the west and trekked across town, through the winding streets towards the river. I passed the PATH train station and my inner voice said, "you should take this train."

Of course, I did not listen. I had my plan and I was sticking to it, even though I was already late and probably missed the 11:30 boat. I look across the water and see the restaurant, just north of the Statue of Liberty. I arrive at the ferry terminal; no boats. Realizing that I actually do not know where the taxi dock is, I run down to a nearby marina, circling through the roller bladers, tourists snapping photos, children eating snacks. A man emerges from a schooner and says, "I don't think the taxi runs on the weekend."

My daughter calls. I am becoming frantic. She has limited time and now I have to dash back across town to that train. Off I go, asking various people which train to take, where to get off; I jump out at the first Jersey stop and ascend on the world's longest escalator up to a nearly deserted square. Now I can see the back of the Statue, and Battery Park across the water. I ask again and find that I have to take another train, called the Light Rail. I am at Liberty, but do not know where the restaurant is and she doesn't know where the train station is. The trip has taken two and a half hours and I am still not quite there. I do the most natural thing; I burst into tears. Her fiancé says they will pick me up. I calm myself and finally we sit down to lunch and a nice, short visit.

It occurs to me that this journey is actually a metaphor for my life right now. I am stuck in my plan, running around in frantic circles, feeling like I am not quite getting there. My intuition tells me that I must take the PATH and I ignore the message. Yet, when I backtrack, get on the path to the unknown, ascend into new territory, everything works out.

I keep circumventing the obvious. The river can't be pushed or even crossed; in fact, I had to go deep underneath it in order to emerge into the sunlight. My own worry and fear kept me from getting there sooner; I did not investigate the alternatives. I was not prepared to shift from my original plan but change was required. It was only when I lightened up, trusted my instincts and asked for help that I finally arrived.

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