Direction is something many people have difficulty separating from goals. I had struggled with that for many years. Today’s post is about direction and continues the theme of endurance from the previous post.
One of the easier distinctions between goals and direction might be:
- Goals are what we want to do and have.
- Direction is who we want to become.
Goals can and do, change from time to time and, as we achieve them, cross them off our bucket list.
Exceptional visionaries have their direction fixed from an early age. Saints and sinners, political, business and religious leaders find their guiding star and strive to follow it.
For most of the rest of us, direction changes often and dramatically in our early years. Our compass swings wildly when we are looking for a life partner, choosing a career, deciding where to live.
Fortunately that compass needle steadies in our middle and later years, sadly, some of our compasses are faulty, the needles point away from the best courses for our lives. It takes a major jolt to our compass to reset it.
Sometimes events beyond our control cause that jolt..
Loss of a job or a business. Divorce, illness, serious injury, natural disaster, or as in my case, political upheaval and moving to a different country can all affect our compass.
We all respond to those resets in different ways. Some find a better direction, some a worse one and a few find the best one for them. The one they have searched for all their lives.
They find that inner peace, the satisfaction of knowing with total faith that they are doing what they want to do and in the process becoming the person that they wish to become.
This week Sue and I watched the movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen on Netflix. It’s about an American father who is notified that his son has died in the Pyrenees. He travels to France to collect his son’s body, he then discovers that his son was making the pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James, when he died.
Tom the father has is son’s body cremated and decides to complete the 800km walk himself and scatter the ashes at shrines along the route.
The movie shows how Tom deals with his grief, how he is transformed by the people he meets along the way and the endurance he develops from days of physical exertion.
It’s a good movie, set in the beautiful countryside with historic villages and towns and a good message.
It was only a movie, but over 200 000 people make that pilgrimage each year, a huge test of endurance for most and a time for thinking about one’s direction without electronic devices and all the distractions of modern life.
As one reviewer wrote, “It makes you want to do it yourself.”
That’s how it affected us. It’s difficult to be away for 6 weeks to do the whole route, but there is a shorter route from Portugal that includes the last 100km, the minimum requirement for completing the pilgrimage. It’s on our bucket list for 2017.
It was a good metaphor for finding your direction in life.
Fortunately most of us do not have to experience the death of a son to change our direction.
We can do it by changing our attitudes, by deciding how to respond to life’s disappointments, challenges, adversities.
By changing our thoughts and habits, examining our beliefs, asking if they still serve us.
Do they allow us to check our compass?
Are we strong enough to reset it when needed.
Are you going in the right direction for you?
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Signpost Graphic courtesy artur84 / freedigitalphotos.net