“Life is a journey, not a destination.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I can’t name the number of times I’ve heard this quote and never thought it through until just yesterday. We’ll often hear: “It’s about the journey, enjoy the journey!”
If life feels like everything but an exciting journey, I mean how can this really be true right? Can’t you see the number of hours I’m scheduled to work this week? How sleep deprived I am? The paper I have due at midnight that I haven’t started because I’ve been so busy focusing on how STUCK I feel?
Well...Why don’t we take a break from the heavy panic? Let’s try and really think Emerson’s quote through. So, life is “supposedly” a journey. Hmmm….
A group of friends or family will gather and say: “Let’s take a road trip to California!” or “Let’s drive to New York this summer!” The excitement grows and grows as the idea unfolds. And on this road trip, you’ll usually see mountains, plains, and wildlife. You may even see the sun shining and setting in a way you never have before.
Well, what if I told you that all of these different things in nature represent the treasures in your life you’ve yet to notice?
“But Alexi, how?! WHERE are these treasures?”
The treasures lie in the little or big things you’ve yet to celebrate! Your dog licking your face before you leave the house. The heart-shaped macaroni card your younger cousin gave you last holiday saying “Eye laf you.” That promotion you got at the job you can’t stand, or even, the letting go of something old and welcoming of something new.
So today, just for today, I challenge you all to remove yourselves from worry and angst, and instead to ask yourselves: “How many treasures have I let pass me by, so focused on my destination, without having noticed them? How many trees have I not seen, how many mountains? How many opportunities, how many triumphs? How many hugs? How many moments of laughter?”
My friends, it is when we recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the beautiful treasures along the way that we can truly absorb the greatness of not only our destination but of life itself. You see, the destination is honestly that, a simple point on the map: a location.
But our lives are more than just a dropped pin on the Maps app.
Our lives are roads on roads. Intricate roads with bumps and potholes, yes. But also roads surrounded by birds, trees, and valleys. Let us ask ourselves honestly: “When was the last time I stopped to take a look around?”
For today, I challenge you all to remove the blinders that are keeping you from using your peripherals. The blinders that have you SO focused on what’s ahead rather than what’s around. Just for today, forget about the goal you set for yourself: losing 15 pounds, hating your boss, making more money, or acing intergalactic organic chemistry.
For today, rather than driving towards your destination, I want you to stop all movement. And if you’re feeling REALLY risky, step out of the car you’re driving and take a walk through the empty highway. Today, I want you to spend your day in stillness and inner exploration. And after some time I want you to ask yourself: “Where does my magic lie? At home? In that book I haven’t picked up in two years, but have been thinking about rereading? In my favorite bottle of perfume? In that sweet text from my best friend this morning?”
Scan your surroundings, your mind, and your heart. Come into contact with your bliss. Look around. Inhale deeply. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? And what do you love?
Feel that love and that excitement. That gentle smile and sense of comfort. These are the feelings of gratitude and appreciation. These are the feelings of love and of light. Breathe in the gentle atmosphere that surrounds you.
You see, the destination is only 20%. The other 80 lies in the treasures leading up to it.
Would you want to say that you drove your life at a fast pace? Working endless late nights just to try and get to that 20%? Or would you want to say that you stopped to smell the roses along the way? And got to live in your full 100%?
If you haven’t heard it already, let me to be the first to tell you: we are all meant to live our 100%. In each and every moment.
So for today, I challenge you to live in your 100%. Choose gratitude. Choose insight. Choose light. And choose love. Regardless of where you’ve been, or where you wish to be, move mindfully today, in stillness, in awareness and in peace. For the best things in life may not exactly be what’s in front of you, but instead, are what you’re letting… pass you by.