First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 11 – Signposts

The product, however, of winning these battles is that the light of their winning will illuminate the signposts I need for direction on the journey.

The signposts are often hidden from immediate view. We need first to find them, then to decipher the words of each direction. The words may have faded, the signposts themselves perhaps tattered, scarred by the passage of time.

But the signposts are there; they are to be discovered; and if the light is shining on them from the correct angle their wording will become clear.

Valid signposts have certain specific characteristics. For me the image which arises in my mind is a wooden post with nailed-on wooden direction pointers, the destinations burnt into the wood. The sort of signpost that could be seen in parts of the west of Ireland during my youth.

Even then it is possible to misread or misinterpret the wording or to erect signposts which are not actually present. I recall a new job, a career move – the ultimate job, my destiny. I followed it through, I moved house, I moved to a new city, I threw myself into the job with enthusiasm. It was only in that process I realized I had erected the signpost to justify the decision instead of the other way round.

It is possible too for the enemy to erect a signpost which appears clear and unequivocal. I need to be aware of this possibility. On occasion I will follow directions which take me up blind alleys. But for sure it is better to be up a blind alley than to be blind.

What is important in making a decision to follow a particular direction is to do it with full conviction. It seems to me impossible, without being able to see into the future, to make a “right” decision – the variables are too manifold and mostly unknown. The option open to me is to try to make the decision right. If, having done that, I find myself up another blind alley, I can always make another decision.

A valid signpost will not only point in a particular direction, but highlight the action required to go in that direction. That is the purpose of the signpost – it defines the choices, the options, the decisions we must make.

The question -Will it nourish me? – in regard to that activity will make sense of the direction. If the activity is not nourishing then why am I following that direction?

In considering whether or not it would be possible for my son to respect me the direction on the signpost read “Behaviour such that if he knew me it would be possible for him to respect me.”

So let the light illuminate the signposts which are there, take a little time to consider their directions, make a decision and then take some action.

And be aware that the experience of following directions is often very different from the expectation!

And the audio version is at





20 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 11 – Signposts”

  1. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    You so clearly describe the difficulty in make the right decisions, the necessity of a guiding light … but also the importance of making decisions, and acting on those. And from the looks of it, practicing this, ones recognition and decision making gets better… lots of encouragement and hope!

    Have a nice Easter looking out from your balcony πŸ™‚

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Vera,

      Decision making is hard. But you are right – the key is to make one, not spend fruitless hours and days fretting about them. Practising helps πŸ™‚

      I am looking forward to my Easter – Quiet days with the sun streaming in my windows, cup of tea, good book, notebook and pen to hand πŸ™‚

      You have a good Easter too – go easy on those Easter eggs!! Although I imagine Karley would help you with them πŸ™‚


  2. There is a sign post (‘seinpaal’) up on the dune behind our house where you can see from the lights how severe a storm is. It gives no directions but just warns. This part reminds me of that signpost too somehow.

    Enjoyed the read and appreciate thought behind it. β€œBehaviour such that if he knew me it would be possible for him to respect me.”

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Ina,

      I like your description of the seinpaal behind your house – I can imagine looking out at it across the dunes. πŸ™‚

      The signpost you quote from the book is one that has provided direction for me all through my recovery – It is a good question for me to ask when I am considering doing something πŸ™‚

  3. christine Says:

    Until I went into treatment I had never heard the analagy of roads, signposts journeys etc for life though I think it is universal. I think it is fair to say that for many years I was spiritually unconscious. I remember very well the day you gave me a gift of “The Road Less Travelled”.(I thinK we were in the comfy room) *smile* You put a beautiful description inside the front cover; I think part of it said “not so much a map fo the road, more a signpost for the journey”. It is an inspirational book.

    In my early years on this planet I had many different people trying to teach me but it was all done through formal religion which left me feeling cold. I realise now that this culdn’t be taught, I needed to feel it. In order for me to do that it involved my travelling down a horrendous road to my rock bottom, a place from where I was given the help I needed to wake up and become aware.

    There is a signpost now which beckons, but as you know I have glued myself to the path of familiarity, safety, financial security, all the things which I have been stuck to for years. Changing that means choices, decisions, taking responsibility for my own spiritual progress. I could go on but you and I have plenty of time together to talk about all of this, which I am sure we will. As Scott Peck says “Life is difficult”.

    This certainly has covered huge territory in just a few pages. Very thought provoking and yet another opportunity for self examination.

    Lots of love



    • christine Says:

      I meant “inscription” !!!


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah Christine, their is another signpost in your comment “I needed to feel it”. Sometimes the only way we get to understanding that signpost is to reach that “rock bottom” We need to be very grateful. you and I, that when we got there we had enough of ourselves left that we could feel it. Sadly so many do not!!

      Scott Peck’s book was a very valuable signpost for me. I would go so far as to say it was life-changing. I still from time to time go back to it. πŸ™‚

      Lots of love

  4. I really like this post. I have come to realize that I’ve made some crappy decisions in life but I’ve also made some good ones. I love this part of your poem…
    The question -Will it nourish me? – in regard to that activity will make sense of the direction. If the activity is not nourishing then why am I following that direction?
    So true!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Cathy,

      The only way we find out if a decision is crappy or good is to make it and see what happens!! The trick of course when we make a crappy decision is to recognise that and to make another decision. That, of course, is easy to say but, in my experience, not so easy to do πŸ™‚

      You keep on making decisions – The “Will it nourish me?” question may well help. πŸ™‚


  5. So true. At the start of the year I went through a (very) long recruitment process for what I thought was my ‘dream job’, the one I’d trained for after leaving college and really waited 20 years to be offered. But I couldn’t accept it. The job was fine, but the daily commute into London would have killed me, and I knew it. So why did I still spend (waste?) three months trying to talk myself round? Because I forgot to ask the question you pose so succinctly: will it nourish me? When I finally got round to asking it, or something like it, the decision was easy. It was a hard lesson that I’m still learning, and I do ‘fall off the wagon’ sometimes, so thank you for this reminder, and for sharing your hard-won wisdom. Great post.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      All the wisdom I have learnt Nick has been passed on to me. There is an old saying in AA – “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion”
      When I did listen and heard that question I knew instantly how much value it would represent for me. Would that, like yourself, I always asked it at the right time!! But you did ask it. And we do learn. You have a good Easter.


  6. The difficulty of making the right decision, dealing with the ambiguities, look for the light in the experience, and understanding that it’s all about journey, not arrival – life is movement.

    Well done, David, and thank you for the intro to your YouTube channel. I think I may have missed that before.

    Happy days …

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Once we understand Jamie that it is all about the journey we can enjoy it more.

      I hope you enjoy the YouTube recordings πŸ™‚


  7. Once again I can only say, indeed and smile, if sadly, at your great truths!! Hugs, David!!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      One of my dreams for the future Sandy would include a hug from you in person πŸ™‚


  8. David,

    Beautifully written, as always.

    I suppose the time to worry is when all the sign posts have fallen. Or, perhaps it is just that it takes a lot of energy and courage to look for them. Maybe, sometimes, we have to write the signs and erect them ourselves.

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah Shirley, the signposts are always there. But you are right it does take energy and courage to look for them. Self love too because often the signposts are specific to us.

      Much love


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