So often we have our eyes firmly affixed on the “prize.” We spend hours, days even, imagining what it will look like, what it will feel like, what it will be like to achieve whatever goal is in our future. The goal becomes the sole destination: Welcome to “Pie in the Sky,” U.S.A!
Yet, what truly happens when we focus all of our energy, thoughts and actions on reaching for this, many times elusive, destination? We completely lose sight of the journey unfolding right in front of us; blossoming and growing with each step and action we take. We get so focused on the product of all our hard work, that we can feel depressed by the end result.
We try to manipulate our lives, our surroundings, people, time; anything that will hopefully contribute to a satisfactory outcome. We can over analyze ever aspect: if only I had done x, y and z, it would have been better! We can live in fear of what may happen; setting up contingency plans for all the “possible” outcomes: if A happens, then I’ll do B; but if C happens, I’ll do a combination of B and E; and if P happens, then… We may feel shame over what happens; falling into the mental trap of the “should ofs,” the “could ofs” and the “wish I hads.”
But what if we decide to do differently? To stop right now. Try and focus solely on what is in front of you at this very moment. So, you’re reading my blog. Embrace it. Don’t think about what you’re going to do next, how this blog will serve you in your future, how you would have written it differently, etc. Just embrace each word and let them settle into your mind and spirit in whatever way they may.
Our one true purpose on this earth is to go with the flow of the process of living… fully: to be completely in the now. This is what brings true peace. For most of my life, I spent (and wasted) so much time thinking about the future. I was always waiting for the other shoe drop, and when it did, I was determined to be prepared! Then I couldn’t get hurt, right? Then I would avoid fear and uncomfortable situations. Then I would I have the power and be in control of my own destiny. But no one knows their own destiny. None of us have control over the outcome.
Our futures are already written in the stars!
And instead of feeling a sense over loss over this, look at this as the greatest gift of all. The gift of freedom. The gift of letting go. Permission granted to just live your life and be.
And if this is the case, then why do we expend so much energy trying to manipulate the future? For me, it started way back in childhood, when I thought my “little self” had the power to make my dad angry or to keep him calm. So I tipped toed around and tried to constantly be on guard for whatever the future would bring. And I kept on tip-toeing right into my adulthood. I measured my actions and behaviors to the people around me, thinking I knew what their reactions were going to be. I prepared myself for whatever next health challenge would come my way. I had contingency plans for every “possible” scenario (emphasis on possible!). I was armed for anything; I was a Girl Scout, after all!
But, all this created was an internal state of constant anxiety. And when you’re anxious, there is no way to just be… in the moment or with yourself. Then I was blessed with being shown a different way of living and I decided to do differently. This has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined! I now feel truly at peace. I don’t have to worry about the future, that’s already taken care of. For me, I know the loving energy of the Universe is guiding me in the direction I am meant to go. For, you, it may be trust in God’s hands. Just as long as you believe in some power or force greater than your own. It’s called “turning your will over.” When we hold onto to our will, we make ourselves into God. We think we can control the outcomes, the end product of our hard work. That’s exhausting!
I read recently that you can think of the word “will” as “faith.” And in that context, if you think of the phrase “Thy will be done,” it is now transformed into “They faith be done.” Let go… have faith. Your life will turn out exactly as it is meant to be. Stop keeping your eyes on the prize, and instead realize you’ve already received the prize. The gift of life is right here, right now, unfolding before your very eyes. Each step you take on your journey presents you with an opportunity to be fully present (hmm…sounds a lot like “gift,” doesn’t it?).
Once you take your foot off the pedal and turn on the cruise control, you are still moving in a forward direction, heading to your life’s goals. But you can now enjoy the scenery as you drive past it, be focused on the conversation that is occurring with your loved one right in that moment, feel the energy of the radio’s music pouring into your soul. You are now completely embracing the JOURNEY.
You’re alive… believe in that. Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive. Repeat that to yourself every morning:
(Excerpt from The Witch of Portabello, by Paula Coehlo)