We steal if we touch tomorrow. It is God’s. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Life is a journey, a path we take to self discovery and higher learning. Our dreams, wishes, and goals place us on this path and keep us moving forward. Everyone embraces their journey differently. Some set goals and aggressively beeline towards them. Some take a more passive approach; hope, dream, pray, or simply wait. Either way, most adults, those who have the will to live, continue to look toward a more promising future.
To many of us, what we have today never seems as satisfying as what we think we’ll have somewhere down the road when we reach our destination, the place where life will be all we’ve planned for or dreamed of. Seeing our lives from the point of one destination to another means basing our ultimate happiness, fulfillment and contentment on an end result. What happens when we reach our destination? How long will we continue to feel elated with our accomplishment? It won’t be long before the happiness of reaching that goal fades and another fulfillment fix is needed.
While looking for contentment, we find ourselves focusing on another goal and another goal and more after that. Happiness can never be achieved when it is result oriented. True happiness comes from living in the present; moment to moment. Fulfillment comes from the process of getting there.
In our high-speed world of technology and instant gratification we’ve grown impatient. We’ve lost tolerance for the processes of life. But nothing in life happens without a process. If it did, we’d never learn and grow. We have to trust that life will take us exactly where we need to go as long as we step back and allow it to happen. We have to teach ourselves the virtues of patience and acceptance; remind ourselves to savor the pleasure of anticipation.
In his book, The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff cites a passage from the story of Winnie the Pooh about Pooh being asked what his favorite thing is. Just as he’s about to answer, “Honey,” Pooh stops to contemplate his answer. “Well,” said Pooh, “What I like best” –“and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were (eating it), but he didn’t know what it was called.”
Hoff writes, “The honey doesn’t taste so good once it’s been eaten; the goal doesn’t mean so much once it is reached; the reward is not so rewarding once it has been given. If we add up all the rewards in our lives, we won’t have very much. But if we add up the spaces between the rewards, we’ll come up with quite a bit. And if we add up the rewards and the spaces, then we’ll have everything – every minute of the time that we spent.
What we experience in this present moment is what’s most important. Think about the choices you make moment to moment, the tiny decisions that link together, form a chain, and steer your course of life. Sure, you will encounter bumps and detours, but what you learn along the way is far more valuable and fulfilling than the end result of your goal.
Whenever you catch yourself projecting toward, or focusing on what you need to do in the next fifteen minutes, in an hour, tomorrow, or next year, remind yourself to pay attention to the moment. Look at the sky, look around you. Notice who is nearby and what they’re doing. Don’t let life pass you by, don’t rush through each moment on your way to something else. Be present in your life. Don’t try to anticipate what is going to happen next – you can’t possibly know. Just live in the moment.
The road to destiny is long and winding. Be sure to stop and savor the view as you ramble along the way.