I hated the phrase, “It is not the journey, it is the destination.” I was all about the destination. It was all about achievement. I was all about making things happen. Overtime, I have learned the power of focusing on the power and purpose of the journey. I am learning that how we reach our destination is as important, if not more important than the destination itself. How we play the game of life – our strategies, each move, each interaction – is what makes the game worthwhile. It is where and how we learn. It is how we grow and improve. And it is where joy comes from. It is not that we shouldn’t have goals. It is not that we shouldn’t celebrate accomplishments. Nothing is wrong with having a target destination. But the key to life is in how we take the journey, not where we end up.
And it ain’t always easy. When life is filled with rainbows and unicorns, managing life can be easy. When we are met with challenges, we really discover who we are and who we can be. Every day can be a struggle as well as a chance to grow. Certain challenges we may resist because we are not ready for the change. Every week I share big picture ideals with you. What happened lately is that life has shown me that ideals without action serves no one. My own hypocrisy slapped me in the face when I noticed myself getting aggravated with my neighbor, just after writing a pithy post about the world needing love. Let’s walk the talk Melissa.
Here are a few tools I realized I needed to really make the most of this journey.
As I take my own journey, I constantly remind myself to return to the moment. I want the checklist and the well-worn path to follow. Unfortunately, a definitive how-to of life is not available. Instead I am realizing that in every moment I am meant to choose and learn, resist and accept, release and grow. It is not about following a path but having the courage to cut my own path. It is our journey that creates the destination, not the other way around. This concept helps me to focus on making this moment peaceful and to focus on being the best me right here and now. I steer away from my desire for the big picture knowledge of how things “should” be and instead focus on the trees. Focusing on the moment is the only place I can affect and experience life.
The First Time
Another aspect of being in the moment, is seeing every issue as if it was happening the first time. I had shared before how my neighbor’s smoking had been an issue. I was thrilled that just after that article, she moved. Unfortunately, the new neighbor smokes too. For me this is the 50th-million time this is an issue. For the new neighbor, it is the first time. When I can let go of my previous experience, I can let go of my anger and resentment so I can approach the challenge with less stress and a more open mind.
Take an Action
In a funny episode of How I Met You Mother, Barney shows Ted how he thinks too much and how he should just do. I don’t recommend what happens in the TV show, but I do agree with the concept. Don’t think, just do. Lately when I get stuck in an issue, when I am angry, confused, not sure what to do – and I catch myself trying to think myself through the issue – often replaying the same scenarios I have for decades, I stop thinking and do. I find one small action, usually one new action to take – and then I take it. Einstein is quoted as saying that we can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them. I agree. By taking a new action or at least getting out of my brain and doing something, I stop the old way of being and open up to new opportunities.
As you go about your day, be in the moment, treat every moment as if it was the first time, and stop thinking and start doing. Enjoy the journey!!