There’s a familiar quote: “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” That concept is so sweet in theory and so very sticky in practice. Let’s face it. When we identify something we want, it’s hard to wait for it to show up.
When money is tight, it’s difficult to enjoy a journey fraught with financial stress. Lonely people dread the empty span of time between love’s absence and its arrival. It’s tough to savor sickness while we wait for health to return. So how can a person change their outlook? What does it mean to “enjoy the journey”?
There’s quote attributed to Henry Ford: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Ford was a brilliant business man, a man of action. But Ford’s words apply to attitudes as much as action. In fact, attitudes and action are closely connected. Enjoying the journey is all about attitude.
Thoughts determine attitudes. Attitudes guide actions. Actions determine life’s outcomes. To change the outcome, go upstream. Change your thoughts.
Money is tight. There’s not enough to pay the bills. You are behind on rent or mortgage payments. The thought of not being able to make those payments causes a pit in your stomach. Any time you’re relaxing or having fun, the broke thoughts pop into your head and kill the happy buzz. It’s like having a money monster in your brain and its mission is to seek and destroy any sense of peace and well-being.
What if you turned the tables? Instead of focusing on lack, take a moment to deeply appreciate abundance. If the thought of your current financial reality causes stress, count all of life’s other blessings. Literally. Count them. On paper. With numbers.
Walk into the house and feel a deep sense of appreciation for the space that protects you from heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, animals, insects, snakes, etc. Look down at your clothes. Just a few generations ago, this would have been one of the two or three outfits you owned. The freedom to choose clothing from a wardrobe was a luxury enjoyed only by the wealthy. Feel gratitude for having a closet / dresser filled with clothing you choose each day.
And speaking of wealth and abundance, look at the food choices available to you. It’s simply mind-boggling. You are wealthy beyond imagination when compared to 90% of the people living on this planet today. Less than 500 years ago, your current standard of living would have made you the wealthiest person on earth.
Grab a piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just started writing all of the blessings that come into your head. Don’t limit yourself to material blessings. Include health, family, friendships, creative inspiration, EVERYTHING you can think of. In 15 minutes, you will have shifted from thoughts of poverty to thoughts of prosperity.
The next step is very important. When 15 minutes has passed, don’t rush off or allow yourself to get distracted. This is the “golden hour” of creativity. It’s the time when you are tuned to your higher self / God / Spirit, ready to receive intuition. Sit in silence and prepare to receive inspiration and insight as to exactly what action you need to take to move in the direction of your goals.
Shifting mindset from lack to prosperity shifts your attitude. The mindset of lack creates an attitude of impossibility. The mindset of prosperity creates an attitude of possibility. From that place of possibility, your options expand. The path becomes clearer as the next action steps come into focus. This process can be applied to literally every problem that hinders you from enjoying life’s journey.
I am thankful for my divorce because it revealed my deep capacity to love. Like any other divorce, there are times when I feel that I’m being treated unfairly. I believe I’m being wronged. But through it all, I can look deep in my heart and still find love for my husband. I still find compassion. Thankfully, the love isn’t a romantic love. It’s a love of friendship. Maybe that’s a more authentic form of love anyway. I’m so proud of my heart for its capacity to love in spite of pain and fear.
I’m thankful for my father’s cancer because it woke me up to the fact that my parents won’t be on this planet forever. I need to savor each and every moment with them. I am treasuring my parents in a way that I’ve never treasured them before. I’m finally treating them how they’ve always deserved to be treated. For 50 years, they have been there for me every single moment of every single day. I wish I could say that I’ve always been there for them. But it’s never too late to start. Now we talk every day on the phone. I appreciate those calls more than words can express.
Last of all, I’m grateful for the coronavirus. How can you be grateful for something that wields the power to cause pain, suffering and even death? Because now as a planet, we are finally discovering what it means to really live. There is no mistaking it. People are waking up. In the silence of quarantine, we are finally listening to our hearts. The messages our hearts are sending are filled with love and compassion and hope and resilience and connectedness.
I’m 51 years old. I’m going through a divorce. My father was diagnosed with cancer. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. And today is a day I’m enjoying the journey. I hope to see you along the way.