Today could be the last day of my life, or tomorrow. We never know how long our time on this planet is going to last. “I’ll get around to it, I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll get to it” is too often the music of our lives. John Lennon once sang “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Boy, aint that the truth! My life coach has been reinforcing the concept of goals to me. I used to just wander through my life, doing things I do, with no real sense of purpose. Goals help define my sense of purpose, and allow me to develop action plans. The goal is just that, a goal, a desired result, a landing point if you will. A goal is a stated landing strip for my vision. Once I have determined my goal, I can begin developing an action plan, and then I have a launching point.
But what comes between the launching point and the landing strip? The process; moving forward, one day at a time, one event at a time. This I believe is the journey of life; moving forward, learning, advancing, failing. Most of life’s best lessons have come from failing. Learning to fail with grace and acceptance, makes the accomplishments that much sweeter. We will not always reach our goals. For one reason or another, a goal may be out of reach, or may be altered. Yogi Berra once said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Keeping our eyes wide open allows us to enjoy life, to it’s fullest. Taking the fork in the road may lead us somewhere different than we planned and it could turn out to be extremely valuable. It may lead us down a path of diversion and to beauty and success we never imagined.
At a time in my life when I had been experience a prolonged period of depression, I had a visit from my aunt Liz. Liz is my mother’s sister, and my favorite aunt. It was the seeds that she planted on her visit in 1981, that started turning my life around. She was visiting from England that summer, and we had many enjoyable times together. She talked to me, and listened in a way that no one had before. I felt love pouring out of her as she talked to me and encouraged me. She knew what a dysfunctional childhood I had, and wanted dearly to help me.
Near the end of her visit she asked me what I wanted out of life. “To be happy” I said. “Is that all” she asked? It seemed enough to me. It had been at least fifteen years since I was really happy, not since that time of young childhood innocence, had I felt steadfast happiness. I constantly wondered when I would be happy. What would make me happy? The day she left for home, I drove her to the airport, and said goodbye to her, as the tears flowed. She had made me feel like a person who had value, like someone who deserved to be happy. When I arrived home, I went to my bedroom and found a rolled up tube of paper, wrapped in a shiny ribbon. A gift from Liz I was sure, but what? I removed the ribbon, and unrolled her gift. It was a poster, an autumn day, a windy road, and a horse and carriage slowly passing through the woods. On the bottom the caption read; “happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling”. I began to cry again, the level of understanding that she demonstrated, the love that she had for me came shining through. That was the beginning of my understanding of the value of “the journey”. Whatever comes our way, we choose how to react, how to handle it. I have made a multitude of bad choices along the way, but my journey has been my path, has lead me to where I am today, and at this point in my life, I have a better understanding of what it is all about. I have very few regrets.
Somewhere along the way, I lost the poster, but not the message. The journey is what it is all about. I’ve heard it asked, upon achieving a goal, “Is that all there is”? No, it is simply time for the next step. To go forward, with eyes wide open, expecting good things to come into life, to accept the bad experiences and the failures, is the next step. I am firmly committed to moving forward and fulfilling my purpose.
What is my purpose? I believe that we each have more than one purpose in life. We each have a purpose of achievement; to be a writer, a doctor, a good spouse, or parent, to be a caretaker in some way. Then we each have our Purpose, and I believe it is the same for everyone. To love others, to give to others, to represent God on earth, after all he is in all of us. If you don’t believe in God, or you are not sure, think of it this way; The world can only be improved by us loving each other and giving to each other. There is nothing to be gained by taking from each other, or by being indifferent to each other. God or no God the truth is the truth.
We all have the power to improve the quality of our lives, to achieve our desires, to manifest the type of lives we wish to have, in effect, to create our own realities. Our ability to do this has been damaged by the messages we have learned from our failures. The problem lies not in the failures themselves, but rather in the messages we have told ourselves. It is one thing to not place first in a contest, it is quite another to tell ourselves, that we can’t win contests, that we are in effect, losers. We have programmed our brains to believe these things. As a matter of fact, we have programmed our brains to believe everything that we believe. For some reason, it seems that human nature is more comfortable working in the negative than the positive. We do however have the ability to change that way of thinking.
The sub conscious mind is full of the “realities” that we have taught ourselves. “I’m unhealthy, I’m unhappy, I’m unsuccessful, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, nobody likes me” etc. These thoughts must be replaced by positive thoughts, the thoughts that represent the reality we desire. One very important place that we teach ourselves these messages, are in the minutes before we fall asleep. The tendency is to reflect on the problems of the day; “I did this wrong, I did that wrong, I feel bad, somebody doesn’t like me, I am failing in my job, I did a lousy job on that project” etc. In these last moments before sleep, we must think of the positive thoughts that would represent our desired realities. We must put these desires in our minds and on our lips, not just; “I want to be healthy, but I am healthy!” Don’t say “I hope to be successful” say “I will be successful” or even better, “I am successful”. The single most important change we can make towards achieving the reality that we want is to say it. Our words and our thoughts are our realities.
There is a roadblock to achieving this however. Judgmental thoughts and actions prevent the power of positive thinking from working. We must accept that everyone is doing the very best they can at any given moment, and not sit in judgment. If we accept that our higher power is living, unconditional love, then to achieve this ability to create our own realities, we must not sit in judgment of others.
One of the most important aspects of achievement is having a vision. I recently put this into play without realizing it. I had recently purchased a new printer that would print directly onto my CD’s. It also came with software for making jewel boxes and inserts. I had been creating these in Microsoft Paint. Although I was able to create the covers and inserts, the quality was not what I wanted. I believed that this new software would help me achieve a more satisfactory look. Towards that end, I began creating a new CD package. After I had selected and positioned my artwork, I decided that to complete the project, I needed a list of song titles. Rather than using existing titles, I made up some new ones and placed them in the project. As I looked at my work realized that not only did the project look like a “real CD”, the song titles sounded like a “real CD” as well. I decided to see if I could write songs with these titles. A few days later, I sat down with my guitar and digital voice recorder and began singing and playing, whatever came into my head as I looked at each of the titles. These ideas became the framework for the actual songs. At this point I have seven of the songs well Fleshed out, and have recorded most of the basic tracks. I hope to have the collection finished shortly. This experience has taught me the value of having a vision, of having an actual physical representation to inspire me!