I love long train rides and 8 hour plane trips. Not just for the fact that food and wine gets served automatically or that I can catch up on blockbuster movies or the bestseller in my bag. Its because there is excitement in just the journey itself.
Sometimes, the journey IS the outcome. It matters more how you get there than you actually getting there. There are classics that narrate the story so eloquently, Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, The Princess Bride to name a few.
Let’s take this concept a little deeper….
Say you desire something big. The dream job. The soul mate. The big promotion. The baby.
You can picture it in your mind’s eye and feel the longing for it yet your intense concentration always seems to wander to the blatant fact that you don’t have it.NOW. It is absent from your life. That is a fact. And that realization makes you feel empty- like there is this huge gap that you (and everyone else) can see living in this space that is specifically meant to be your desire in real-life.
What if the gap is suppose to exist if only to remind you to focus on the journey to fill it rather than the gap’s very existence.
What if…..the journey was actually the outcome instead of just the desire?
Take the analogy of a vacation. There are 2 ways to experience the weeks leading up to a vacation.
You freak out because you are physically NOT there. You complain about not being on vacation yet. The longing takes over your consciousness and all you can focus on is the unbearable time you are waiting sitting behind this desk. Complete focus is on the gap between you and the moment vacation is to begin.
You dream up a vacation and then start planning. There may be days even weeks of giddy excitement and anticipation building. The preparation is FUN. There are feelings of adventure, joyful anticipation and sheer happiness in the knowing that it.is. coming. There are investments of time, energy, money and focus but they are all given freely and lovingly because you know the vacation is coming, its scheduled. There is inspirational energy in the knowing that vacation is coming and that creates momentum that carries you to the very day vacation begins.
What if every desire is actually scheduled and your only role is to enjoy the journey to it? Then shouldn’t you be relishing the moment. RIGHT NOW.
It is the journey in fact, that makes up a life. Not just the string of destinations- like pins on a wall map. Rather is the overview of the entire map and the dotted lines that link the destinations that tell the real story. The intimate moments, hard truths and lasting memories. Perhaps the conversation you have with the stranger on the train is even better than the travel destination you’re headed. Perhaps your next manager is seated beside you on the airplane and your dream job is in the bag before the plane lands.
So, how can you start to enjoy the journey more?
Here are 3 ways to help experience the journey:
1. Breathe. A deep breath in causes your body to jolt into presence. You can easily shift focus to the moment by taking a deep intentional breath in and out. One breath can change your perspective, which can change everything. There is power in the breath.
2. Keep a journal. Each night, commit to writing down 3 learnings, memories of the day. You are building a ritual that will support you in bringing presence to each day. Soon, you will be able to stop and experince the moments in real time instead of just recounting them at night.
One of the most incredible feelings is to go back and re-read some older entries. It brings to focus how far you have come in your journey.