Posts tagged ‘direction’

August 5, 2017

The path to happiness lies behind Doors 1, 2, 3 and more

Have you ever been floored by some tragic or particularly challenging life event, only to spend your time pining for the way things were before? Here’s a new way to look at your situation, courtesy of the ever-wise Helen Keller:

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

There is always more than one positive direction each of our lives can take. If a door to one of those directions closes, it’s OK to spend some time mourning that direction, but then turn and look around you. There are so many other versions of a happy, healthy you just waiting to come to life, if only you give them the attention they deserve. ❤

December 27, 2016

Follow that trail of crumbs to live more fully

Ever had an exceptionally appealing idea pop into your mind without warning, then dominate your thoughts for weeks or months afterwards?

In her travel memoir A Year in the World, author Frances Mayes suggests that these kinds of spontaneous, powerful ideas may be our subconscious mind’s way of ultimately getting us to where we need to be in our lives. She writes:

Should you not listen well to the questions you ask out of nowhere? Only in looking back do you find those crumbs you dropped that marked your way forward.

So when those seemingly random but totally tantalizing crumbs enter your conscious mind, gobble them up. They are fuel for your fabulous future. ♥

November 11, 2015

The right track means no backwards glances

Thought of the moment, source unknown:

You know you’re on the right track when you become uninterested in looking back.

Let the past be. Stop trying to be the person you once were.

Live like the person you are today, with joy, confidence and enthusiasm for what lies ahead. ❤

November 13, 2014

Let the wrong/right path be yours alone

Thought of the day:

To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Amen to that. Above all else, be yourself.

July 26, 2014

Pave the way for new beginnings

It’s a new moon tonight, a perfect time to reflect on old goals, set new ones, and open yourself to new beginnings and all the possibilities that go along with them.

The new moon also brings a calmness to your psyche, allowing you to breathe deeply, truly relax, and observe your emotions and motivations from a detached perspective.

Take advantage of the energy that the new moon brings to look within yourself and set a new course for the coming month — or reaffirm a positive course that you are already on!

A word on new beginnings, from English novelist Arnold Bennett:

The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. 

starry_sky

January 9, 2014

Change lives within you, always

A gentle reminder for the month of January, author unknown:

I don’t have to do it the way I did it yesterday.

You are never stuck in any single pattern of behaviour. You are never limited to act or respond in a certain way, even if you’ve done so many times in the past. What happened last time doesn’t have to happen again. You can change your direction, your approach, your perspective at any time. Ruts don’t exist, unless we let them.

I’m reminded of another quote — one of my favourites — from film director Cameron Crowe:

Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

You are always free to carve out a new direction in life. Nothing holds you back but yourself.

December 11, 2013

You have to be lost to be found

The following passage comes from Rachel Friedman’s travel memoir The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost. Friedman wrote her words in the context of travel, but I think they apply to other areas of life, too:

What happens when we lose the things that anchor us? What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable, not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment. After that, maybe we can finally go home — or maybe not.

Sometimes life requires us to get lost before we are truly found. Sometimes the “losing of our path” happens unexpectedly, without our input or intent, while other times we are the ones who purposely throw away the map and stride off into the unknown. Whatever the case, such instances provide us with the unique opportunity to live outside our “normal routines” for a time. In those strange places of initial discomfort, we often encounter aspects of ourselves that don’t typically show their faces in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes those aspects empower us, sometimes they unsettle us, and sometimes they just confuse us. But unearthing them is important, as each one of them gives us a more complete picture of who we truly are — and a better position from which to determine the kind of life we really want to lead.

So, every once in a while, give yourself permission to get lost. You never know just what you might find . . . .

November 3, 2013

Observed on the trail: A metaphor for life

Yesterday I went for a walk on a lovely meandering trail through the pine flats near my house. The track twisted and turned back on itself so often that it seemed a wonder it would ever reach its destination. But the scenery was gorgeous.

Kind of like life, I thought. Sometimes the long, circuitous, seemingly random path is the most beautiful and the most satisfying.

September 20, 2013

Be alone in the way that matters most

Following on yesterday’s post about the importance of finding silence and solitude in your life, here is interesting insight from the authors of the same book about why opportunities for silence and solitude — so crucial to staying grounded in life and in self — are effectively missing from the lives of today’s younger generation.

In Have Mother, Will Travel, mother-daughter duo Claire and Mia Fontaine take a four-month trip abroad in hopes of reviving their flagging relationship. When 25-year-old Mia confesses that she came on the trip partly to escape the confusion and discontent she feels in her own life, and that she fears falling back into “business and usual” when she returns home, her 50-year-old mother has this to say:

Unless you regularly allow time for solitude and reflection [in your daily life], you’ll probably always go back to business as usual once you’re home, even after a whole summer away. Think about it, [your generation is] basically always available, by text, tweet, e-mail, Facebook; you guys even sleep with your cell phones. You’re never truly alone in the way that matters most — in your own mind; part of it’s always on alert, listening to see how much you matter to everyone else. All of my formative years, unless I was in school or happened to be home when the plastic box on our kitchen wall rang, most of the time my mind was mine, walking, driving, studying, doing chores. Being by yourself is a big part of how you get a sense of self. I think [your generation is] all scared to death to unplug and find out how much you really matter. It doesn’t seem to be enough for you to matter just to you.

I had never thought of it in quite this way, but it’s true: being tethered to a cell phone and to social media also tethers your mind to the task of waiting — waiting for that call, that tweet, that message, that “like,” that external signal that you “matter.”

Unplugging for an afternoon, a day, a week, a month gives your mind time to ease up and stand down. But unplugging isn’t easy, especially if you’re accustomed to being connected 24/7. And the reward for going offline — an unhampered, reflective mind that can more clearly identify and chart the path of your own life’s satisfaction — might not come instantly, either.

In fact, if you’re so used to being plugged in that the mere thought of two hours offline makes your skin crawl, then you’re probably going to squirm through any gadget-free time with your teeth gritted, your body thrumming, and your thoughts narrowed to that single moment when you can snap the cell phone back to life.

That’s OK. Unplug anyway. Then do it again. It’s going to take time for your mind to get comfortable with the idea of being completely unoccupied and left to its own devices, distraction-free. But with time, that level of comfort — and its associated benefits — will come. Perhaps that’s why Claire Fontaine suggests regular time for solitude and reflection. Repetition breeds habit, and it also nurtures comfort and growth.

I know for me, if I’ve been through an especially busy period or haven’t pulled the media plug in quite a while, it takes me a good few days of self-care to wind down and reach a point where I can relax and settle into that space of my own again. In these cases, I’m always surprised at how I came to lose touch with myself in the first place — yes, it’s easy to get caught up in “life,” but how did I get swept along for so long? Returning to that quiet space of uninterrupted self-reflection is always a treat, and I’m always glad that I took the time and made the effort to get there. It’s in this space, where my mind is my own and my true self lives, that I am able to really tap into the things that matter in my life. Just getting to that place is often enough; afterwards, I can move back into my normal routine feeling refreshed and recharged, with my eye and my heart clear about where I really want to go.

So in this world of cell phones and social media, I encourage you to unplug — completely — every once in a while. Unnerving as it may seem, it may also help you discover how amazing you really are inside.

February 2, 2013

Life is random, like a bouncey-castle

Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet provides this wonderful perspective on the randomness of human relationships, and of life in general:

Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away.  This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive [detached] nor endlessly bifurcating [forking into two paths], but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.

Life’s encounters, Rushdie suggests, are completely random.  You might be able to choose which bouncey-castle you enter — or even whether you enter at all — but once inside, you can’t control exactly where the motions will take you.  You certainly won’t travel in a straight line, or bounce around in isolation, or move either up or down, left or right, according to your choice.  Instead, you’ll careen around the place, crashing into some people while never quite reaching others.  You’ll be hit from behind — unexpectedly knocked off course — by some encounters, while others will bounce right into your arms when you least expect it.  Even if you do control your trajectory for a while, you never know what the ground beneath you is doing — how it is rippling and rolling in response to the leaps and bounds of the other people cartwheeling around in there with you.  What seems like stable footing might suddenly shift under your feet, throw you left when you wanted right, tumble you head over heels who knows where.  No matter how you set your course, you never know exactly where your bounces will take you, and you never know who or what is heading your way.

What I like about this concept is that it encourages each of us to make the most of — to “jump on” — those bumpings-into that truly intrigue and attract us while we can.  At the exact moment when we cross paths or bounce in parallel with a like-minded soul, we have the ability, the opportunity, to reach out and hold on, to travel together for a while, wrapped in each other’s arms, until momentum pulls us apart.  These moments of shared travel may not last long, but we can live them fully while they’re there, until we tumble away into something new.