Life is a journey, a continuous process. Life is not a goal, some nebulous point that we achieve through striving, great hardship and struggle. We don't wake up one day, at a certain age and state, "I have arrived. I have everything I want and Life is Good!"
‘A man's delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.’ ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
Isn't this true? The human condition is such that we are constantly longing for something bigger, something better, to achieve more - to fill the void that we perceive in ourselves.
We yearn for the bigger house or that long awaited trip to Europe, the next big promotion, or ‘winning’ the next marathon and so forth. We all attach value to external things, looking for something outside of ourselves, something beyond us that will fill our holes. We use food to fill the void. We believe a man or a woman will fulfill us. We think the big, beautiful home will make us feel secure.
We struggle, and we work through 60-hour weeks and push through the pain to achieve what it is that we believe will bring us happiness. The struggle invades our body, mind and souls.
When we finally get that vacation, the big beautiful home, the significant other, the promotion, or whatever our goal was, it no longer seems to satisfy us, but we continue to desire more. What is it about us that we struggle so hard yet continue to be so unfulfilled? Why is it that we never seem to arrive at the ultimate goal? Why are we so willing to live with the chronic stress that all this brings, even at the cost of our health? We deny that we are even stressed - yet our blood pressure tells the story! As does our weight, our cholesterol levels and our overall bodily health.
When will we change our perspective, that life is a journey, without a destination, without a goal? Life is a journey that cannot end or will not end? The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow never really comes anyway as long as we are alive!
If we view life as a journey we can find freedom. We no longer have to seek external things.
We may say to ourselves, “I am not that shallow!” We may believe that life is not about attaining things. But yet when our work is criticized or when our significant other is upset at us we immediately respond with anger and frustration because we never get the praise, recognition or love that we deserve.
We are so consumed with getting others approval that we don’t realize that again, something external or something out of our control is what we believe brings us happiness. We struggle and suffer to control other’s behaviors so that we get the love and approval that we deserve. We are still
seeking the love, attention and recognition our parents never gave us. This is what we are taught. This is how we were shown how to respond. I believe that all our yearning and striving and achieving is about attempting to find love - the love that somehow we feel we missed in our growing up, in all that we failed to learn or earn.
Life is a journey. Not just a journey to find love, but a journey to pass love on!
Our emotions are the barometer that tells us whether or not we get what we want. The more we try to control our external environment, the more we are disappointed, the more our emotions rise, and the more we try to bottle them up - pretend they don’t exist. We shove them down under it all, so deep we think it is hidden from others. For sure, it is hidden from ourselves – or so we think. In actuality, it is only hidden from our conscious minds.
Alexander Lowen, MD, the inventor of bioenergetics, and one of the originators of body-mind medicine in the West, in his book, “The Spirituality of the Body,” describes ‘control’ as holding in our feelings, and dealing with every situation unemotionally. Losing control or letting feelings out ‘raises the specter of insanity,’ so we are looked upon unfavorably if we show our emotions.
In the moment of our highly charged emotional response, our bodies respond by tensing and tightening as we try to control the emotion. The tension can be any or all our muscles, including the diaphragm, the muscle of breathing. Our breathing becomes shallow as we tense our diaphragm - our bodies tense and we crimp forward or stand tall and puffed up.
Our fight or flight hormonal response heightens, making us ready for action, ready for the fight or flight. We hold these feelings and postures for minutes, hours, sometimes days or longer. Over time, these tensions become a permanent way of being. Distress is created.
As more time passes we impose a multitude of fight or flight responses that our bodies absorb and retain. Instead of ease, dis-ease and injuries are created. Where we choose to hold our tension is precisely where the injury or illness happens. Where we hold our distress, is where dis-ease is created. As we can see, our bodies become the metaphor for the distress in our lives, or our emotions have become embodied, or they have become body emotions.
This is how emotions affect our body.
Life is a journey that continues, that leads us down paths that we never thought we would take. Life throws a myriad of events our way that constantly change the picture, and challenges us to rethink our direction, our values, and our life strategy. Whatever we thought was so important to us may fade into the background, as illness, accidents and death surround us on our journey.
Our health is also a journey and a process, just like life is a journey. Most of us have health issues. If you do not yet have chronic illness, you may have pains and strains and aches. Or the occasional acute illness. They may come and go. They may be nagging and persistent but not yet chronic. Congratulations if your health and body issues are not yet chronic. Hopefully by reading this website, they won’t become chronic.
If your life is a journey already, you may also treat your health as a journey. When you view your health as an ongoing process of becoming more whole, you will always be on the right journey!
In your quest for health, happiness and wholeness, if you view life as a journey, the first step in the process is often the knowing that something is awry. A small flicker of something inside you, something that you know is wrong in our lives. Some choose to ignore this knowing, or ‘gut feeling’ at a great cost to themselves and their health. Others try to follow the knowing, but don’t know how to proceed. In order to travel through the process to happiness and healing, you must pay attention to this nagging.
In order to move ahead, toward health and happiness, the knowing must be replaced by the desire to do something, the desire to make a change and improve you life. This desire is for something new, something better, something deeper. Without this desire, you will not take the next step. You will not move forward and do something about your desire for change. You need to convert the desire to action, the desire for a new process to be born in you.
This is my process. And the experience of something needing to be born continues. It is ongoing. Life is a journey! The process is a continual birthing, a process taken quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) and in stillness, seeking my heart, seeking my direction and finding better health and well being. Health is a process - a journey.
You can always find the tools to create positivity in your life, and replace the stress and negativity. Learning the power of positive thinking is a skill that needs to be developed, because most of us are not taught it.
Life is a journey with neither a destination nor a goal. The steps in this process are: knowing - desire - action! The journey is ongoing, a continual path to more fully understand ourselves and our deepest desires.
Knowing our path is what leads us to The Secret to Happiness. Holding in our hearts that life is a process, not a goal is what will set us free. Life is a journey - your journey.
May your path to health and healing of your body-mind-soul begin right now!
© Copyright 2009-2013, by Elle Bieling, BodyWindow.com