The Living Is In The JourneyPosted by: Amy Hamilton on July 20th, 2012
“The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” – Barbara DeAngelis
Much of my work with clients is about helping them discover his or her preferred life; some would call it goals or hopes, Yogis may call it intent, and others God’s destiny. We explore ways to embark on the journey that leads to this preferred life. Whether your hope is to lose 10 lbs, get your child to sleep in his or her own bed or live a more peaceful existence; the work is in the journey.
Yes, these journeys can be beautiful and have unimagined pleasant surprises. However, our life journeys’ are often fraught with failure, pain, and unexpected detours. This is where the hard work begins and when many people get discouraged and give-up, because the attainment seems impossible. But the true value is not in attaining the goal, it’s that you are engaged in the journey at all.
So, how do we navigate toward the life we want and desire, even when it gets tough? Here are just a few ideas that may help…
1. First and foremost, is this really what you want? Whose preferred life are you working toward? It is very difficult to stay motivated and have direction, when you’re working for something you don’t really want. So, you must ask, is this what you want? Or is this what society, family or friends say you SHOULD want? Are you trying to get the kids out of your bed, because everyone says you should or because you want them out? If you like having your children sleep with you, family-bed style, then it may be very difficult to do the steps necessary to get the kids out of your bed. It was difficult for me, and I WANTED them out… I get zero sleep when the kids are in our bed.
2. Falling off the path is to be expected; just get back on. “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.” – Samuel Smiles. You can beat yourself up and struggle with feelings of shame and guilt if you fall off the path to your goal. Or you can trade the shame and guilt for big doses of compassion and forgiveness, so that you can learn from the falling-off and move forward. If, on your journey to lose 10 lbs., you fall off the path (or the wagon) and eat two desserts one night (or for me, 10 chocolate kisses with almonds), figure out what you can learn from your mistake and move forward. Personally, I found that I do better if I avoid dessert altogether. Others might feel that they are depriving themselves and they can handle just eating a little bit.
3. It’s ok to take a detour or even change your life plan. One study said that the average person changes careers 7 to 8 times in their life. So, while in pursuit of our dreams, if we take a detour, change directions and allow discovery on our journey, our goals can grow and change with us. Some of my best opportunities in life were not part of the initial plan.
4. Surround yourself with “yes.” If you have a lot of friends that throw up roadblocks with negative thoughts or discouraging words, it might be time to find new, more supportive ones. I sometimes call it “Spring Cleaning.” And yes, we need to do it in our social life as well as our homes. It is important to have good, positive, supportive friends encouraging you to continue your journey, especially when you get tired, overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Friends who have run marathons have said that at around mile 17, the only reason their feet kept moving was because of the people on the sideline shouting their name and words of encouragement. Life is often a marathon, put the right people on the sidelines.
The living is in the journey. Clients will often say, “When (insert goal here) happens, then I will be happy.” Much of my work with clients is helping them find the happy in the journey. Many people call this mindfulness, or being present to experience each moment as it was meant to be.
I would love to hear about a life journey you have been on. Were there roadblocks or detours? Has the goal or hope remained the same, or has it changed as you have moved through the journey?
“It is better to travel than arrive.” – Buddha