You may have heard the quote ‘The journey is the destination’ by Dan Eldon. It’s something that I’ve been pondering over for a while and I’ve found that the more I continue to pay attention to what’s going on around me, the more I can absolutely see that the journey is where the joy is. Let me explain…….
Over the last few years, I’ve asked myself the questions time and time again, why do I do what I do? And do I enjoy what I do? And more recently I’ve been asking the questíon ‘can I enjoy my work without attachment to an outcome?’, something the yogi’s call non-attachment.
Can I immerse myself in something, not to get anywhere, not to make money, not to please anyone else but just simply for the joy and love of it – creating, writing, exercising……?
We are a society pretty obsessed with setting goals aren’t we? From school to the workplace, we’re always expected to have a plan and be achieving – getting more and further each time.
But what if that’s not where the joy is and where our true happiness is?
What if we were sold the idea of pursuing the ‘perfect life’, one where we’re told we’re never quite enough, so we’re always striving for something more than what we have. Getting that promotion, that award, praise, new car, new house.
Maybe our true joy is found not in the external pursuit of anything, but has been lying within us all along.
Our constant pursuit to fill the hole, that feeling of loneliness, that void, that feeling of something not quite right or enough has us constantly looking for the ‘next’ thing to give us momentary happiness and a dopamine rush.
But have you noticed that it’s temporary, and before long you’re looking for the next thing….? I certainly have (as a recovering shopaholic) :0)
So lovely, let me ask you this; Can you follow your heart more, do what you love, what lights you up, without expecting something to come from it?
When you’re doing what you love to do there’s no end point, there’s no destination because if you love it, you’ll not want to stop doing it, ever.
It becomes part of you
What I’ve come to realise over the past few years is it that the JOY in life is the journey, not the destination. It’s all the things we go through – the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, the challenges and the unexpected surprises, that make life worth living. If it all went smoothly and we got where we wanted to easily, then we’d get bored very quickly!
Surely, it’s those little achievements in life, it’s the smile from a stranger, it’s a hug from a loved one, it’s a ‘thank you’, or the sound of a chirping bird that make this a life worth living, not how much we earn and how flashy our car is. Of course these are nice to have, but they’re just a destination point and when we reach it we ask ourselves ‘now what?’
So I believe well and truly that it’s the journey, it’s the here and now in this present moment where we find the joy.
And this was really highlighted to me earlier in the year when my hubby and I went to Sri Lanka …..
We did a trek called Adams Peak, a place where the locals believe that Adam, Shiva, Buddha arrived on earth. For many months of the year streams of people trek up the 5000 steps to reach the peak at sunrise. Most people begin the 3hr trek at 2am, so it is quite an experience.
What surprised us though was the number of tourists who complained how disappointing the view was. They felt robbed for not having got their expected awe inspiring view for the 6hr return trek. And yes the view wasn’t the most spectacular that we have seen, and yes we did put a lot of effort into reaching the summit.
But surely there was a lesson here. Here’s why I think so….
In the modern world many external things come so easily to us and instant gratification is an issue, as it separates us from the joy in every moment. By only doing something in the pursuit of an expected outcome, we have missed the beauty along the way. And if we don’t get the expected outcome, then we’re angry and disappointed. And this leads us into pain.
As I stopped to think about this on our trek, I came back to the present moment and I watched the streams of locals as they walked up the steps; slowly, mindfully and deliberately, many barefooted, many with babies and children.
They were pilgrims, they were taking in and enjoying the journey as much as keeping the destination in sight.
Maybe, just maybe we can take some learnings from this.
So my question is, can you find more joy in the day to day?
Can you immerse yourself in something, just for the sheer joy of doing it, not for an expected outcome?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!!
Much love to you