Several times a year, particularly at each New Year, I think it’s helpful to reevaluate where you’ve been recently and where you are going in your life. A few different people recently provided me with tidbits of wisdom about their chosen paths and how to achieve their goals, and together they provided an “aha” moment.
The first friend noted that even if you are “on the right path” it doesn’t help if you are just sitting on it, not moving. How true. Just imagine yourself sitting and having a snack on your true golden path and not moving an inch. What do you need to give yourself a kick in the pants to get moving? Do you need to remove an obstacle in front of you?
During another discussion, I realized that we should visualize our path being on water, not on land. What could be more appropriate since many people view water as a symbol of life? Picture yourself in a lovely sail boat. If you are in your boat and on the right path but not moving, you are actually drifting and will end up farther and farther from your goal.
The final piece of wisdom came from a teacher friend. She used the boat analogy in the context of learning. We rarely learn in a linear fashion, but more with fits and starts, as with sailing in different conditions. To reach an objective, we need to continue to navigate with a series of tacks (as any sailor knows), rather than sail in a straight line, as a result of outside influences (wind, waves). This analogy applies well to learning something new or working toward a goal. The winds are the outside pressures of the world. Some days the winds will be with you, and sometimes against you. The waves are the obstacles of life. Rarely is there a perfectly calm day, and some days there are tremendous storms that you must weather. Many people find family, friends, prayer and faith in God sustains them during these turbulent times. Sustained effort is required to make it through.
I recently finished reading a book my brother sent me called Sailing Grace by John Otterbacher, in which a young and seemingly healthy man suffers extreme heart trouble over several years. After too many heart surgeries to recount, his options were limited to heart transplant or go on living in hopes another traumatic heart episode did not occur. Even this dire health situation didn’t keep him from his dream of sailing the world with his wife and two daughters. They eventually spent more than five years at sea and in various harbors along the way, despite his chest pain. They encountered frightening and life-threatening storms and saw amazing sights. While I myself can’t imagine taking such a risk, they kept their focus on their dream, made continual adjustments, and achieved it. It puts our smaller obstacles in perspective.
What’s your dream? What are your goals this year–for your relationships, spiritual growth, career, children and family? What’s standing in your way? If you’re on the right path, are you moving in the right direction? Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and keep your eye on the goal. I hope the winds are blowing in your favor.