Summer begins to fade into Fall here in New England and the leaves are already beginning to turn. Life continues to churn on. Summer fresh salads turn to slow cooked stews. Light clothing is replaced by warm snuggles and what later seems like layers upon layers upon layers of warmth.
On my way to visit a friend at Hampton Beach this past Labor Day weekend, I was listening to my Spotify Whitney playlist (I mean does she really need a last name??). This song comes on and as the lyrics come through the stereo tears begin to collect in my eyes and fall gently down my face.
The words shoot right to the heart like only Whitney can.
“There’s a bridge and there’s a river that I still must cross. As I’m going on a journey, Oh I might get lost. And there’s a road I have to follow, a place I must go. And no one told me just how to get there.
But when I get there I’ll know.”
I wanted to be like
I haven’t been available for our chats very often these days. Or maybe I should say rarely often. As I am sure you are feeling it too, the energy that is challenging just seems to change names and shapes but otherwise continues to beat on like a brass band drum all around us.
I’ve been doing a lot of work internally and some externally behind the scenes for some time. The journey that we have all been on is pretty long and winding. A lot of times the path has felt fairly unclear and yet I know that it’s all about just showing up for the challenge and letting the chips fall where they may.
As I’m driving northbound to the ocean and my friends where there will be laughter and waves, Whitney continues to show the way….
“Cause I’m taking it
Step by Step, Bit by Bit, Stone by Stone, Brick by Brick.
Step by Step, Day by Day, Mile by Mile, Go your Own Way.”
Yes, Queen Bee. Yes. That has been the way lately.
They say that life is mostly about just showing up and I can say that has always been my way. I’ve been through some tough times as any of us who have been on the planet for decades. The one thing that has always been shown to be true is that life is about taking things step by step and letting the journey unfold.
Around this time last year, I decided to shift gears with my business and move away from merely trying to help people with stress management and instead focus on guiding people towards living life intentionally. Intentional living is about waking up to the life that you want to be living.
So many of us, especially these days, have resigned ourselves to being swallowed up by a life that we can’t wait to be done with. Americans are known for excess and gluttony. I would say that this stems from an imbalance of the mind and heart. Capitalism has us convinced that the way to happiness is through manipulating the external. We live in service of productivity which leads us to have a lack in the things that add up to the meaning of life.
The moral of this story is that it is not lost on me that I too am American and can swim in the deep seas of what life is “supposed to” look like. I could even say that this has been where I have been most recently which is why Whitney’s words hit so sharp.
“And this old road is rough and ruined. So many dangers along the way. So many burdens that I have to take.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, we were all taking to the outdoors in droves. People posting their nature walks and hike pics with smiles galore. The fear of being indoors brought people into the natural world by droves. There was something bittersweet about this. Kids who are being raised in the digital era trading in technology for frogs, turtles, birds and dirt.
As things have shifted, for the most part, away from fear of what was, fear has been replaced by Anger with a capital A. The divide between groups being wider than ever. There is no need to discuss why people are feeling this intensely. Suffice to say, shit is real uncomfortable for most people for one reason or another. The natural world with it’s earth bound energy is needed now more than ever.
I recently read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey which was a phenomenal book on managing emotions and creating healthy relationships both professionally and personally. This book is so rich with wisdom that it’s hard to capture it all succinctly. Covey’s second habit is titled “Begin with the End in Mind.” To me this habit encapsulates not only living intentionally, in line with Whitney’s message but it also speaks volumes to the more combative energies we are experiencing these days.
To begin with the end in mind, on a day to day basis, means to not only take into consideration the affects of how you are living on your well-being but also on the well-being of all those around you. It requires that we think before we say or do. That we take life step by step and not jump ahead. It means that we take the time to get grounded enough to even know that the road ahead is paved by the steps that we are taking today and every day forward.
As we factor all this together we see that the journey of a life well lived is a journey that is lead by the heart not the head. Opinions, beliefs, support of this politician or that, being on one side or the other is energy that is entirely lead by ego. Whether you believe you are “right” and someone else is “wrong” doesn’t matter much because it’s all in service of separation not unity.
“Oh But I won’t let my spirit fail me. Oh I won’t let my spirit go. Until I get to my destination I’m going to take it slowly cause I’m making it mine.”
Take the time to pause. I know it’s hard. I say this to both you and me. In the moment saying or doing feels so much better. It’s all about discharging that of which feels uncomfortable. Yet, when we do that, we leave ourselves wide open to hurt and pain as well as to inflicting said pain on others.
“Say it baby, don’t give up. You got to hold on to what you got. Oh baby, don’t give up. You got to keep on moving on. Don’t stop.”
It’s harder than ever to stay present these days. But it’s in the here and now that the beauty lies. Take the time to breath, to ground yourself, to be in nature and to love the ones your with.
Living life step by step is the only way. The road is paved by the steps we take today and every day moving forward. Let your heart lead the way and leave the ego aside.
Beginning with the end in mind means that we accept that our actions today have consequences for tomorrow. Make those consequences be the gold in the steps towards your heart.