Leave the Niche to Find Your Path
by Lady Maureen Chalmers AOS

As a spiritual person, I try to seek the path to enlightenment. My good fortune has brought me to the Path of Selohaar. Within the Order I have tread a path that has many winding routes and has enriched me in more than solely a spiritual way. I have walked the Path and learned self-respect, personal empowerment, leadership, mentoring, spiritual expression, love and forgiveness.

These lessons were learned as I progressed the Path. I may have slowed, but I rarely tarried at any one point. I have revisited some wonderful lessons to further enrich myself. Sometimes, fortunately, a path loops back on itself.

Two former members' paths have once again lead them to the Order. Both are like bright comets that looped back to brighten our Circles and membership. Each is returning with new strengths. Even personal adversities and self-exploration of doubts can be tools to toughen a knight's mettle. Those that walk the Path of Selohaar with these once and future Order members can only be enriched by doing so.

Some people, while on the Path will seek growth by growing strong in one area of talent. They are like a plant that finds a niche and sends out roots. They offer their fellow members enrichment or encouragement as the member travels the path. But, what personal enrichment can be gained by residing within a niche?

When I first became a Free Sister of Selohaar, I had attempted to grow roots in the niche of my strength; archery. Being new, I was insecure in what I could offer the Order. I had not yet traveled along the Path to explore what new things I might learn and become. While attempting to grow within my niche, I gave Sir Jay a challenge on the Archery Field. But really, all I gained was frustration at not being the best.

I was gently tugged from the security of my niche by Lady Cynthia, Sir Carl and Sir Mark. They walked with me and exposed me to the vast potential that was mine within the Order. Lady Cynthia requested articles regarding archery for the Vortex. It felt safe to step out in this area because it involved a strength of mine. But, it set me on the path of "teacher", "leader", "mentor", and "policy maker". I was no longer rooted in the role of "competitor".

Sir Carl and the Lady Cynthia walked the Path with me and began my quest for the Selohaar Grail. My narrow view of a spiritual path was broadened into a satisfying and empowering experience. I exercised myself on this path and truly began to realize the power that resides in action and fluid participation. A niche would have never afforded me growth in this branch of Selohaar. On this path I realized a new means of serving the Order.

Sir Carl met me on the path and challenged me to attempt the path of the Sword. He walked at my side as I faced my fear of confrontation and combat. He was my adversary and my mentor. I gained self esteem on the tournament field and it has carried over to my personal life outside the Order. The lessons of strikes and blocks kindled my leadership as a Union Chapter President. I could read people, I could accept a challenge, and I could deliver a blow for what I believed to be justice.

Once I was able to stride the path with a sword in my hand, Sir Mark came to my side to march more diligently. He has been a constant and patient teacher. He met me where I was and expected nothing but earnest effort and commitment. I would never have had the opportunity to learn from the likes of Sir Mark if I was sheltered within my niche. He would have rocketed past me like the shooting star that he is.

I look forward to the lessons I will learn while walking the Path of Selohaar with Sir Jay and Lord Russell. I hope to learn forgiveness and acceptance of change. I can learn these valuable lessons because our paths loop back on themselves and they lead us to the people who can best impart the knowledge.

I hope that fellow members can avoid the niche of comfort and seek the challenge of striding the path. It is where the knowledge you seek exists, and the teachers of the knowledge walk there daily.