Thursday, August 26, 2010
It took being shaken to the foundation of my soul
Emerson said, "Life is a journey, not a destination."
In a recent article I commented that life is a journey and used the analogy about crossing a stream on stepping-stones. Each stone is a life experience that prepares you for the next one. More importantly, before you can fully step onto the next stone, you have to remove your foot (release yourself) from the previous one (your past thoughts on life).
I have found that it is possible to become so involved in the current stepping-stone (life experience) that it becomes nearly impossible to move forward. This usually happens for one of two reasons: fear or contentment.
Fear is one side of the pendulum. Something devastating happens in your life and you just cannot move on. In fact, you would do anything to have the moment just before the crisis over again. It could be the loss of a loved one, a catastrophe or a serious disease. Whatever the reason, you find it difficult, if not impossible to take the next step (move on). Your thoughts and actions are consumed with what has already happened and what could happen tomorrow. Paralysis sets in and over time, wallowing in "what was" and "what if" thoughts incapacitates any rational thinking.
Contentment is the other side of the pendulum. Life is good or great. Things could not be better. You have a great job, a wonderful family, and everyone is healthy. Why would you ever want to take another step forward not knowing what might be waiting for you tomorrow? In other words, why tempt fate? Like fear, contentment is just another form of paralysis. You are clinging to the moment hoping that nothing will ever change. Unfortunately, contentment can lead to uncertainty and unhappiness just as quickly as fear.
In both cases, something has to change to give you a little nudge forward. That often comes by way of a nagging sensation that keeps asking, "Is this all there is" or "There has got to be more."
In my life I have experienced both sides of the pendulum. Several times I took a couple of steps backward trying to recapture a moment in time that I thought was better. The comment, "you can never go back" is so true. Life's experiences are meant to be lived once and never resurrected. There is only one way to move and that is forward.
I was living in the "contentment" mode for several years. It took the realization that I had Kennedy's Disease to shake me to the foundation of my soul. It challenged most everything that I felt was sacred. I am now on the journey once again ... stepping onto the next stone. It is a foreign world to me ... one that is filled with unknowns. "Acceptance" is what I am working on today. For without it, I will never be able to step onto the next stone.