November 23, 2008

The Journey

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -- Lao Tzu
Periodically we all go through this period where we wonder if we are on the right path. Particularly for me, I get in these jobs / places / relationships (and sometimes all three at once) in which I wonder if it's where I'm supposed to be, where I want to be, or if it's my "last job", the one I will want to stick with forever. 

I'm ready to be There (wherever There is). I want to get where I'm going, to skip the book and read the last page to see how it all ends. This is the norm. We are not born patient creatures; patience is a skill we must develop like good penmanship, bicycle riding, or using the remote control in pitch darkness.  
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
Mediocrity wears on us like a sandpaper suit. We slide into daily and it degrades us as time passes. We begin to experience dissatisfaction because we go to bed expecting great things for ourselves and wake up knowing we won't use all the skills and talents we possess. Some days it feels wrong, wasteful, disappointing. 
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. -- Sir Winston Churchill
Which comes first, the optimism or the success? For some our first reaction is to say that it's easy for Churchill to feel the joy and glory of the climb when he was a brilliant, creative, articulate man who probably achieved everything he set out to do. 
But why would he be any more capable of maximizing his journey than you or me? No reason except that it is easy to be distracted by the nagging sensation that we're wandering blindly through the woods with absolutely no clue as to where we're going. The truth is we all feel it. At times we are all just bumping around in the dark. Probably even Mr. Churchill now and again. 
In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. -- Dante Alighieri
What is the trick of those who make the best of their lives, who really maximize the time they have on the planet and pack every second of the day with brilliance, intensity, and fullness? It is those who see that, as cliche as it can sound, it really IS about the journey and the grace we bring with us as travelers. They tackle the day with fierceness and courage. They are not satisfied to be carried along with the current, but will push through and make their own way.
No man with a man's heart in him, gets far on his way without some bitter, soul searching disappointment. Happy he who is brave enough to push on another stage of the journey...
Acknowledge uncertainty and doubt, then get out a piece of paper and make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in this life, your "bucket list".  Pick a point on the map and head out, take the single step. Remember, that a traveler never goes it alone. Cast your eyes to the side and you will see many of us near you -- some ahead, some behind.  We're all together in this journey.

What do you want to accomplish along the way? What is on your bucket list? What holds you back?

[photo credit: cindy]


  1. Beautiful post! There is a song I like by the group, Blindside, and the lyrics are 'The secret to any success is that the success is in the process'. Good post for today.

  2. Thank you! Those were such great quotes from very successful people -- I personally find it comforting to know that even people who've "got it going on" have their moments.

    Thanks for adding that lyrics quote! It's a nice addition!

  3. Hi Wendy - I'm so glad you are still blogging. Haven't been by for a while. Love the sandpaper suit simile.

  4. Aw... I haven't seen you in a while! I just went back over to Dadness, it's so soothing. I am proud to say I got to be the first one of your "Bewildered" to sign up. Yay me!

    Thank so much for checking in again. Next time you're wandering, go check out A Passion for Letter Writing too! :)


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