With Memorial Weekend right around the corner, I think a lot of people are making plans for summer vacation. I know I am. I’ve also read that people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their lives—but that’s another topic for another blog post. Then this morning I listened to another lecture by Abraham-Hicks and through the course of a question and answer period Abraham said, “You didn’t come to get it done.” Another way of saying that is, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” However, if you are anything like me, I need to be reminded over and over that the gift of today is reason enough for my life. What about you?
Abraham-Hicks offers a perfect example of what she means by, “You didn’t come to get it done.” This particular lecture was recorded during a cruise from Amsterdam to Rome, enjoying several stops along the way. Abraham said, “If the whole point of this trip was to arrive in Rome and get off the ship, would any of you go to the captain and say, just take us there and forget all the other stops?” Obviously, the answer to that would be an emphatic “No!”
Think about any vacation plans you might be making for this summer. Chances are good you’ll just end up back home when you’re done—so does that mean you might as well not go? It makes sense when talking about a vacation or anything we think we want to do. But what about all the events of our day-to-day lives? Or what about the things we’d prefer not to experience? Still, if the whole point of our life was to get to age 95 (or more) as quickly as possible, and then die—why bother? Instead, every 365 days of the year we have the opportunity to enjoy the journey. Or not.
Abraham-Hicks then posed another example relative to going to the buffet on the cruise ship. Is the point of any meal to stuff ourselves? Would any of us attempt to take every single bit of food piled in the dining hall back to our own table and eat it all at once? No! Most of us realize that sampling a bit of this and that is far more enjoyable. The company sitting at the table matters. Then tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, we try different things sit with new people along the way—experiencing and enjoying along the way. Again, we didn’t come to get it all done or to eat it all in one sitting.
This isn’t rocket science so why do we all rush around acting as though we can’t be happy or have a fulfilled life until everything is packaged up perfectly or every duck we know is lined up in our lives? I spent a little time thinking about it and here are five reasons I think we (I) routinely forget that we came for the journey, not just the destination.
- We are guilty of “if only” or “yeah, but…” thinking. It is far too easy to tell ourselves we can only be happy “if” something happens in our lives or use excuses like “yeah but…” to justify our lack of fulfillment. Instead, by enjoying the process and letting go of our excuses, we can empower ourselves to shift our focus from complaint to inspiration.
- We constantly compare our lives to other people and events. No matter how wonderful our life may be, there will always be others who appear to be experiencing better health, have more money, or seem to do more interesting things or work than us. Just look at Facebook anytime day or night! Instead, I am reminded to celebrate my own successes and to notice each and every moment of the good I can find right in front of me.
- It’s easier to blame other people and circumstances than to take response-ability for our own choices and experiences. There is something about the human ego that finds it much easier to blame others than to admit that we are part of the problem OR the solution. Feeling victimized by others or circumstances might momentarily let us off the hook, but in the long run we forfeit our empowerment and wellbeing to do it.
- We forget to practice gratitude and be grateful for the good that we have right now. I get that it’s easy to dream and imagine all sorts of wonderful things that we wish we could do, be and have. But anytime I routinely forget to be thankful for what I do have, I am creating a habit to be unsatisfied instead. Far better to make it a habit to be grateful and enjoy my life.
- We’ve been taught that our future good depends upon sacrifices made today. Some of us were taught that we don’t deserve to be happy now—only after we spend our lives in service and sacrifice may we someday hope to be rewarded. Even those who realize that much of that message was a manipulation, we still carry the seeds of it around with us on a regular basis. Unless we become willing to accept that we deserve to be happy today—we might never be able to enjoy the journey.
Of course, it might seem that this lesson is permission to chuck it all and do whatever you want right now with no thought for the future. As a person who loves to plan, I can’t imagine living life without a destination in mind. Perhaps that’s why I like this statement from Abraham-Hicks so much. Rather than say the destination doesn’t matter, she says, “We didn’t come to get it done.” In other words, it’s okay to want. It’s okay to plan. It’s okay to reach for the stars. Just don’t let the absence of those stars, or the complete fulfillment of the plan, keep you from feeling good today.
I’m also reminded that what makes the journey so enjoyable to me is the process of evolving and unfolding an intention. Right now I am working on another blog-to-book about positive aging. I’ve been writing articles about that topic and believe that a book containing the best of my blog posts surrounding that idea will be well received. But the process is complicated and challenging. So, it’s tempting to believe that once the book is done and available for sale I can be happy. But as I’ve explained above—getting it done or reaching that “destination” is just a set point. If I’m not happy with my life right now, if I’m not enjoying the process of creating something new right now, having another book in my series won’t mean a thing.
Taoism has a saying, “The journey is the reward.” Perhaps if we all started remembering that the next 24 hours in front of us is what really matters, we would remember to be grateful for all the little things. Perhaps even better, we wouldn’t ignore the little joys filling our days, or put off anything that we know makes us smile and brings more meaning to our lives. Our lives may never be perfect in someone else’s definition, but if we’re SMART we will remember that that isn’t the point in the first place. After all, we didn’t come to get it done.