I had a discussion with a friend today about the ups and downs of life. My friend said she reminds herself that life is about the journey and not the destination. I then shared with her my favorite analogy for life. Even though I've shared it previously in this blog, it bears repeating.
Knowing that life is about the journey doesn't describe it in detail as much as an analogy offered by Barbara Brown Taylor. She likens life more to a sailboat ride. The sailboat analogy gives complexity and depth to the word "journey."
There are a ton of questions and scenarios that arise in our daily lives that can relate to the sailboat analogy. For instance:
- Are you the captain of your boat? Might seem like an obvious answer to some, but do you really know the answer? Are you living life on your terms, or are you living life according to someone else's expectations (another captain's course)? Have you given the captain role to someone else completely, bearing no responsibility at all for the direction of your boat?
- There's the ocean dynamic to deal with - are the seas calm, rocky, or are you in tsunami-like waves?
- What about the winds? Are they pretty steady and perfect for propelling you to advance? Or are there only hints of a breeze every now and again? Or is there absolutely no wind at all and your boat is standing still?
- Who else is in the boat with you? (This is a key question. We never do anything alone.). Are you alone on your boat? Do you want it that way or do you have no one willing to join you? As captain of your vessel, do others on your boat know how to support you? Are they effective at their jobs? Must you expel them from your boat, but you're afraid to?
We often want life to be about the destination. Even when we acknowledge that it's about the journey, we expect the journey to be linear. Life isn't a straight line to the destination. We take turns, move sideways and sometimes backwards. The key is, are we the captain? Are we in control? Are we moving effortlessly with the winds or are we moving against them?
What are your thoughts about the sailboat analogy?
Be open to what comes.