It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who first said it, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This quote has somehow gotten turned around by most people to a variation of “It’s not about the destination, but the journey.” It has been adopted by different spiritual teachers and given great weight so that if you for one single solitary second worry about the destination and don’t just have a singular focus on the now you are doing it wrong.”
Man am I ever doomed.
Mind, I know that it’s true and when I seriously practice mindfulness, which, I must admit, I do rather strenuously a great many days as if trying to pin myself to the present moment like a butterfly to a board, I can almost get there, some unbelievably few golden moments I actually make it, but I backslide. It would be easier if I knew that the destination would end up turning out alright, then I could go willy nilly shimmying joyfully in the present moment. It’s what I want to do, what I long to do, if I could just get a little assurance about the outcome.
I’m trying, I really am, every single day I try, but I am bi polar, I have a serious anxiety disorder, PTSD, and I am agoraphobic. It puts a crimp in things. I also worry a terrible lot about this Law of Attraction business. I watched The Secret, I read the book, I listened to the cd’s so often they groaned when I went to put them in the cd player, I read all the books from all the other people mentioned, but, well, it’s just like the destination and the journey. I get scared, and you are absolutely NOT supposed to get scared or worry about anything if you are working the LOA. It’s bad juju. Is there a set of rules for these things for bi polar people for whom the best of days is full of challenges? If there is will someone please use the contact form on this website and send me the info. pronto?
I know this all seems rather tongue in cheek but you’ve no idea how much I worry about it. I’m not saying there isn’t something to it, I’m just saying that positive affirmations, and God Bless ’em, don’t seem to work so well when you worry a lot.
I am coming back to the present moment. I like it here. Right now I am sitting on my couch with 4 wee pugs snuggled in around me. They are snoring their soft puggery snores and I feel very cozy and happy and I am not worrying about anything. In this very moment I fully get what Emerson meant and I believe it. I always believe it, it’s the doing it that doesn’t always go smoothly. I want to stay with it, I really do, I have prayed about it. I have spent hours in meditation, I have felt it in the garden watching a butterfly hovering at a bright red zinnia and I was awestruck, it was a time out of time moment.
Mindfulness works best for me when I am immersed in gardening. There are cycles and seasons in the garden that follow one after the other, year in, year out, and they can be counted on. I like that. I can move through the seasons in the garden knowing what to expect, give or take weather conditions, and there is a tremendous peace in that for me. But when I worry about how I am going to support myself past the next year or so, when I work so hard there is no way I can work any harder and a class that I’ve prepared for doesn’t go, and I have to plan the next step and the next, when I am not able to work outside the home and must get something going successfully and soon, well, I really have a hard time being mindful about it. God knows I try. I am writing daily posts for a year hoping that something will click into place. I had no idea that that was why I started this project, or why I have kept up with it day in and day out no matter what when I have struggled to keep up with anything this past year which has been one of the hardest I’ve lived through in a long time, but I have realized that I am writing for my life. Like practicing scales if I just keep writing about it, from every single angle I can think of, and be honest even when it’s scary, then maybe the answer will come.
Gracious me, it just hit me! This project is a journey, not a destination. I didn’t start with any destination in mind, just write every single day about living mindfully in some form or fashion for 365 days. I truly believed, and still do, that at the end of this year of posting about mindfulness I will have learned something very, very important.
I have to pause for a moment to let this sink in…
I’m still worried about the destination but these posts have given me something to hold onto. That must be why I am keeping up with them. It’s like stringing beads one bead at a time, one post each day, and there is a beginning and an end that I know. Day 1 to Day 365, and I truly have faith that this journey is important, that it is taking me somewhere, but honestly I am not even worrying about where. I know, somewhere inside of me, that it will take care of itself.
Can life be like that? If I just keep doing my work, day after day, just like I am these posts, will everything turn out alright? Well, I guess the thing is it is going to turn out however it is going to turn out, and the only way I can influence that outcome is to work as hard as I can and live as well as I’m able every single day, in each and every moment.
That’s it. That’s IT. I will worry about the destination, that’s just human, but along with that I just have to keep working every single day to take care of myself and do the best work that I can. What else is there? I will stray, but in the meantime I will keep stringing beads. I will write these posts and I will do my other work. I will hope and I will pray and I will use affirmations and I will try to have enough belief in myself that the good energy will build steam and keep me going through the hard times. When I have difficult bi polary days I will be gentle with myself — those are the days I get positively terrified about my future and though it seems ridiculous to those who can’t understand what it is like to live with a basket full of mental health issues jangling around, on those days the fear builds to such a fever pitch I feel as though I am going to go down with the Titanic and I’ll be one of the ones that didn’t make it on a lifeboat. You think I’m being dramatic. I promise you, I’m not. A high IQ and a brain whose two sides are out of kilter can be a terrifying thing to live with. But I will manage, I always do.
So these posts will be my teacher. I think I am actually learning a little bit about the destination and the journey. I think that will do. I’d dearly love to believe that I could get The Law of Attraction to work for me, but right now we’re just trying to get my meds balanced so I can keep teetering along through my days pretty much okay. And that’s working. And I am so grateful. Onwards and Upwards, as they say. At the very least I know I will be here tomorrow, and for the time being that’s destination enough for me.