by Liz Jansen
Being open to what the road delivers and prepared to deal with the consequences, makes you vulnerable to pain. We’ve all experienced deep hurt, betrayal, and deceit by people close to us. It’s a natural reaction to close ourselves off, go into self-defense mode and shy away from experiences that could evoke that pain. But by doing that, we miss out on so much.
When I left on my Wheels to Wisdom quest, I had a loose plan in place. I knew what I wanted to accomplish and had a rough idea of where I wanted to be for the first three months and when I wanted to be there. I purposely left much of my time unplanned, staying receptive to guidance and acting, based on that guidance. My crash has been a course correction, enriching my life and this journey in remarkable ways.
- Judge less. Especially when you realize that while you can’t control another’s words or actions, how you respond is completely up to you. I’m no longer willing to accept anything but the best for myself. And I mean that with the utmost of kindness and compassion.
- Release your hold on goals. Goals are good, but they’re subject to change with new information. You don’t want to be so focused on goals that you miss a wonderful opportunity because it wasn’t on your radar.
- Recognize patterns that don’t work. Nurture and build on your strengths, and realize that as valuable as they are, they also have a shadow side that can sabotage your energy and effectiveness. I pride myself in setting goals and reaching them, no matter how much work it takes. Once I commit, I’ll get it done. But I’ve often overcommitted and while I accomplish my goals, it’s at a cost. Now I prioritize more and commit to less.
- Embrace fear. Become aware of how your body lets you know you’re holding fear. Thank it for trying to protect you and then let the emotion associated with it go. It disarms the fear. A fear that I’ve had to address is that of being 60 and wondering if I’ve got time to start a multi-year project with a scope I can’t even define yet. I address it by acknowledging the fear, then staying mindful in the present and trusting my inner guide and myself.
- Let go. Just like learning to ride a motorcycle, learning to let go takes a lot of practice and patience. There’s no other way around it. The alternative is to stay where you are, but once you’ve become more aware of behaviors that are holding you back, it’s not a comfortable place to be.
Accepting what the Road delivers and embracing change is a slow process. While well-meaning others offer their opinions, in the end, I take ownership of my own thoughts, feelings, and actions. I’m learning to focus on what I can control and stop wasting energy on things I have no control over. And there are lots of them.
Hitting the pause button and shifting my perspective has given me a different vantage point. It’s enabled me to give myself time and permission to heal. My shoulder is beginning to improve again after plateauing last month. I’ve been able to reconnect with extended family as I start looking for stories of the culture I was born into. I’ve spent more times with special friends. I’ve learned a whole lot about what history hasn’t taught us about First Nations/Native American history. I feel more content and at peace than ever before and know with certainty that I’m on the right Road.