There is a familiar saying: “A journey of a thousand miles starts beneath one’s feet” or more usually said as: “A journey of a thousand begins with a single step”. The quotation is from the Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese text from about 500 BC.
Perhaps we know where we are headed, some of us have a specific destination or goal. We might simply feel the need to move from where we are right now, to new pastures, in search of adventures or to leave behind some aspect of a life we have outgrown that is causing us discomfort or pain.
It is always advisable to prepare for journeys. To map the route, know which roads to take, anticipate dangers and pack provisions and things we might need. I don’t need to tell you this. You wouldn’t set out on foot without good shoes, a raincoat (in Wales definitely), and a map or satnav. But how many of us, as we embark on new beginnings, or change direction in our life, head off without enough clarity and resources to guide us and sustain us on our journey?
Life paths, life journeys
Life as a journey is a common metaphor. It is both the process and the experience. In education, learning is also visualised as a journey… A learning pathway. We arrive at crossroads and have to make choices, we are guided along and we map out a route. When I was grappling with indecision, I came across this quotation by Yogi Berra, a famous, philosophical baseball player: “When you come to a fork in the road … take it”. This lovely idea takes the seriousness out of having to make decisions and choices…just do it, it’ll be OK.
The journey within
Life takes many twists and turns and presents many challenging detours, stops and starts. Most of us don’t end up where we thought we were going, and yet, the truth is that we end up where we were meant to be. The more we come to see and accept this the more peaceful we become. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” (Ursula Le guin).
Deep down, we know that our most exciting and challenging journey is the one within, to explore the depth and heights of our being, and our connection with each other and the planet. If we are at peace with ourselves it doesn’t matter where we are!
“Always the journey, never the destination” Sir Simon Rattle.
Simon Rattle is a famous conductor and I imagine he understand the joke that if it was all about the destination, then orchestras and choirs would speed through a piece of music in order to get to the end … ta ra!
When we are feeling lost
“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself astray in a dark wood where the straight road had been lost sight of” (Dante Alighieri). Often, I have felt like that, as if there are no paths open to me and I was constantly fighting the undergrowth and looking over my shoulder. One way out is to climb to the top of a hill to get some clarity, perspective and to take our bearings; at other times the best thing might be to plod on, one foot in front of the other. Whatever we do, it’s important to keep moving.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” Martin Luther King Jr.
Travelling companions and compasses
We all need guides and companions in life, and at times a little more than that. This is where a life-coach comes in.
Are you are feeling stuck? Is the idea of moving on or changing your life-course scary? If you can’t see the path ahead or there are too many roads and you feel overwhelmed; if the traffic on your life path is deafening and you need someone to help you discover new paths and life-landscapes, then don’t hesitate to ask for help. A skilled life-coach will support you to discover resources you never know you had and to map out your unique journey and move forwards with ease and even some excitement.
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius and power and magic in it” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.