J is for Journeys
Updated: Jan 3, 2022
‘I am David’ is a book by Ann Holm that made an impression on me at a young age and whose central theme is journeys. In David’s case his journey is one of searching for freedom from misery. Throughout his journey, David is seeking to understand, looking for meaning and constantly trying to break free from whatever is trying to keep him from being what he can be, he wants to be or needs to be.
We can't always control our circumstances but we do have the ability to ‘co-author’ our life journey.
“Life is a journey between Perception and Reality!” Ramana Pemmaraju
A journey is made up of several parts: the initial decision about the destination; the preparations i.e. preparing the itinerary, any visas, exchanging currency, organising any necessary vaccinations etc; the packing ; the actual journey and then the time spent at the destination before the return.
“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday”.
Our life follows a similar journey but with some marked differences. We have no control over where we are born and the type of families we are born into, we have little control over the education we receive and the values that are instilled into us until we are of an age to start to take responsibility for our actions and decisions.
It is all too easy to simply stay in the mould that has been made for us but we have a responsibility to ourselves and the world to become the best versions of ourselves - authentic - not a replica of someone else or to allow others to live their lives through us. We need to choose the destination that we want to aim for, for us and not for anyone else.
“Your journey will still be difficult but the map shouldn’t be! Knowing where you’re going, how to get there, and how to tell where you are right now should be the easy part!”
Brian S. Holmes
The second part of our life journey involves making the preparations necessary to give us the best opportunities to achieve our goal. Preparations could be practical e.g. general learning, taking exams, gaining experience and qualifications, but it is also about the preparations concerned with knowing ourselves.
“When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe”. Vera Nazarian
We need time to spend time in self reflection examining the things we have been taught and questioning the values others have instilled in to us until we can ‘own’ them or reject them for ourselves. Certainly we should not hold onto beliefs that don’t serve us, rather we should question them, challenge them and change them!
“I know the task ahead seems impossible, but all we need to do is begin. The rest will take care of itself. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Jennifer Donnelly
The packing is about clothing ourselves with the skills and mindset that we require to live the life we want. We cannot move forward unless we seek to develop a growth mindset and we need to focus on what is required to achieve our goals and not get distracted by other things.
Every thought, every decision, every action will either bring you closer to your goals or further away. What we give our attention to today will shape our future tomorrow. Ultimately, we are responsible for our lives and rather than live life with a ‘victim’ mindset, we need to step up and take responsibility for our choices and decisions. Your values should influence your choices and in order to experience fulfilment and satisfaction you need to act in alignment with your values.
“Throughout this journey of life we meet many people along the way. Each one has a purpose in our life. No one we meet is ever a coincidence.” Mimi Novic
Sometimes we will travel by ourselves, at other times, we will travel with friends. Our own journey's are individual but our paths cross others of all ages and backgrounds with whom, even though they may have started at different times and come from different places, we can make connections, compare notes and give each other hope as we walk alongside each other whether it is for a short time or a longer one.
The type of friends we surround ourselves are vital. We need to choose those that will support our aims and for the most part share similar core values. We need to chose people who encourage us, but will put in their two-penny worth too when appropriate.
(See post on Friendship https://www.reflectiveresources.com/post/f-is-for-friendship )
“Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus
Friends are not a set of clones who agree with you on every issue, you can have a disagreement whilst maintaining respect of one and others point of views. Worthwhile friends retain the three I’s (their individuality, integrity and independence) yet through their loyalty, authenticity and consistency and by a free exchange in a safe shared space you can learn about yourself and experience mutual beneficial learning where you both discover new things and different perspectives.
“We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path. Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are. Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey”. Steve Maraboli,
A major difference between the journeys that we usually make to travel somewhere and our life journey is that in the former the destination is more important than the journey, but with our life the opposite is true, the journey is more important than the destination.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end”. Michelle Obama
Life will gives us many challenges but we should seek joy in the little things for example through every day kindnesses, gratitude, learning new things and caring and having empathy for all living beings so that life can become a beautiful journey for all.
“A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us. But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination. To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one. I’m certain some will feel threatened by this record. Some few may feel liberated. Most will simply feel that it should not exist. I needed to write it anyway”.
When things go wrong when we are travelling like delays or strikes, cancelled flights etc we see these as sources of frustration but on our life journey,
“Delays and disappointments are often only detours along the journey of life”. Amelia Rose
and failures are simply First Attempts In Learning
A final difference about the two different types of journey is that when we book a trip we know the start date and time and the return date but with the journey of life:
“Life is a journey which never lets you know when and where it will end”.
We only have one life therefore we should 'carpe diem' and make it count. We all have 24 hours in a day. Some people use that time intentionally and generously, achieving great things, others waste it, complaining and making excuses; they have little to show and they don't achieve their full potential or have the best relationships with others that they could have.
“You are not here merely to make a living, you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” Woodrow Wilson
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
What future are your thoughts leading you to?
Who or what is stopping you from having the life that you want?
Who or what is encouraging you to move forward on your personal journey?
Which stage of your journey do you think that you are on?
Where or what are you aiming for?
What values and skills do you consider essential for your journey?
What friends are walking along side you on this particular part of your life journey?
If you want to explore this subject further, here are a few links to get you started:
“A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one. Treat them with respect.” Mark Lawrence