"Do not go where the path leads, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I sit here, coffee in hand, I can’t help but reflect on my life’s journey thus far. The pathway has never been a straight line……EVER! It’s been more of a meandering, winding, curvy path. In reflecting on my path, I came to a couple of realizations:
First, our lives were not designed to be a race. Look at the design of the world: there are very few straight lines in nature. That’s on purpose! If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, then consider that the world was not designed to accommodate straight lines. Perhaps this was so we would have to spend time wandering about and in so doing we see more.
I’ve seen far too many people head down, “game face on,” pushing toward the end of their lives as if it were the finish line of a race. They don’t seem to enjoy much of anything. Their lives are focused on achieving more, earning more, accumulating more, doing more than anyone else. They are driven! I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad to achieve, earn, accumulate or do. What I AM saying is that if this is your sole purpose for existing, you are missing out on far too much!
Think about your weekends and vacations (if you take any such time). When you return to your job, what’s the first thing people ask? “What did you DO?” I’ve made a point of spending some of my down time doing absolutely nothing but enjoying being. You wouldn’t believe the astonished responses I get when I tell people this. “WHAT? You did nothing on your time off?” Actually, I did a lot of LIVING on my time off.
Do you go to the Grand Canyon at full speed, glance at the crevice, think “OK done that,” and then race away to the next object? NO! We go, we stop, and we are amazed by the beauty of this wonder! Then, we go back to the “real world” and it’s time to put the nose to the grindstone and charge ahead at full speed. Why? And yet we wonder why we have so many stress related illnesses, so many ulcers and heart attacks? We call ourselves “The Human Race” as if someone is going to win.
SLOW DOWN! Spend time looking around you. LIVE your life. After all, you only get a few trips around the sun.
Second, we spend far too much time and effort keeping our walls up. Think about it…we don’t want anyone to get close to us. We are very particular about having our privacy. There are more people on this earth now than ever before, yet we don’t want anyone to get to know us. We put up false personas, as if we were actors on a stage. We stifle how we feel, what we think, how we care, because we don’t want anyone to know that we’re human.
Our lives were not meant to be lived alone or in a plastic bubble isolated from the rest of the world. We are, by design, social creatures! We NEED others, whether we want to admit it or not. Don’t believe me? Go to the desert where nothing else grows and see how long you last alone.
Why is it so difficult for us to be genuine with each other? If you are hurting, chances are there are several people within a stone’s throw that are hurting too. Feeling uncertain? Bet there are quite a few others in your office who are feeling uncertain too. Are you lonely? Guess what? So are many of the people you come in contact with every day! If only we would drop our plastic façade and let others see who we truly are, we would find who our genuine friends are truly. Okay, some people would need to get passed the shock of who we truly are, but we would find people who are just like us. And they’re a lot closer than we may think.
If only we would take the time to LIVE, we would enjoy our time here a lot more!