“It’s not the destination–it’s the path”–pathways
The point of the exercise
So, here we are at the end of this mini series, and I want to give you some guidelines.
As I’ve written, this exercise was designed to help you see an overall direction for your life. Most of us quite clearly know what we are called to do, or what “pulls us.” And many fear what such a pull might require.
I hope you followed along with the exercises, and especially looked at the ways you get in your own way. That one exercise is a priceless gift — providing you’re willing to take the next step.
Blocks–Your “Complexifying List”
Have another look at your list of ways you stop yourself. There may be many items on your list, but I can assure you that every item is a variant of one or two baseline reasons for not following one’s path.
Fear and Self-justification
Fear–we don’t like uncertainly, and following the pull of your heart, when reason is screaming, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” is tricky. You know you are caught in fear-based thinking when you find yourself only talking about what could go wrong.
Self-justification–here’s another exercise. Look at where you are, right now. Include an inventory of
- who you are with
- what you do: for a living, for recreation, for spiritual development, etc.
- where you live, and under what circumstances
- what you fight with others about
- who you ‘blame’ when you’re not happy.
Now, and this will be hard, look at your list, and notice what you tell yourself about these things.
Here’s what I hear, a lot:
“I’d be happy if I was married to another person.”
“My kids drive me crazy.”
“I’d leave my job, but I’ve got seniority and pension to consider.”
“My parents give me bad advice.”
And tons of other excuses that do only one thing: justify the person’s staying stuck, through thick application of finger-pointing and lack of self-responsibility.
Here’s the important part
You are where you are right now, doing what you are doing, solely and completely by your free choice. No one dragged you there, no one makes you keep repeating the same stupid mistakes, and no one ‘makes you miserable.’
I have one client who endlessly lists problems, then assigns blame, and then, after a session, lets me know I have helped her. But it’s a weird thing.
She thinks that what I am telling her is to suck it up, stop creating drama, and then life will be happier. I’m not. I want her to stop the games, stop wasting her life, and get on with her walk–which, so far, she’s been too busy to do.
What’s she busy with? Staying stuck, through anger, blaming and self justification!
Here’s the point of all of this
I’m not trying to find ways for my client, or for you, to be happier with your lot in life. I’m working toward getting you to drop your excuses and evasions, and go, do, and be the person you are meant to be.
Instead of fear or excuse based living, I’m encouraging you to step up to the plate, drop the things that you are holding yourself back over (including jobs, relationships, ‘social obligations,’ etc.) and finally get on with living a rich and meaningful life.
Consider the state of the world.
I don’t know about you, by my investment portfolio is down 30% or more in the last month. We are in a recession, jobs and entire companies are disappearing, the sub-prime mortgage debacle in the USA is nowhere near to the bottom, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Most naively assumed that the boom times would never end, and so fixated on externals. Now, the externals are crumbling, and external security is being seen for the illusion it always has been. And despite billions upon billions of rescue cash, the drama goes on.
My point? You can’t wait for the right time. You can’t wait for permission. You can’t stop yourselves out of fear. No matter what you want, “the world” is going to do whatever it does. Externals won’t save you.
It’s time to implement ‘your perfect day.’ How? Small step by small step, but always walking.
Time to own your path, and to start walking it. Divest yourself of the things that are millstones around your neck, and start walking.
The card at the top (the illustration) is from the OSHO Zen Tarot deck. Notice, it is called “Ordinariness.” The person is walking the path, collecting the harvest. He is doing what he is doing, with full attention. He is not trying to be special, to be noticed, to be “in charge.” He’s just mindfully walking the only path available to him–his own path.
Part of the card description reads:
You are facing a time now when this easy, natural and utterly ordinary approach to the situations you encounter will bring far better results than any attempts on your part to be brilliant, clever, or otherwise extra-ordinary”¦The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time.
You have your life, and you have your skill set.
If there is a point to all of this–to life and living–it is this:
Stop playing games and blocking your best self, either through fear or through endless self-justifications for staying stuck. Engage with your wants, your passion and your true direction. Take one step, and one step, but do not divert from this path. Drop that which weighs you down, and walk.
Or, to quote Anais Nin:
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Be the blossom.