25 April, 2013

Exit or Not?

The journey of life could be summed up as a long road trip.  There is the start, the path and the destination.  Along the way, we encounter pit stops; gas, toilet breaks, scenic views, grumbly bellies, rest etc.  We may even experience a delay because of traffic, construction or bad weather.   There are detours, the excursions we were not planning on which lead down a different road for a stretch of time.   Eventually we return to the path, resetting the course and are on our way.  

http://aroundtheplate.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/travel.jpgWhen you start the journey, you have an idea of where you would like to end up, as with all road trips.   Some people are very well planned out with ETA and AAA maps.   Others are more lax and allow the road to determine their destination.  Either way, there is a direction, a sense of exploration for the open road.  

How you choose to embark on this journey is all you.   The feelings of excitement, adventure, or dread and exhaustion.   I know I have experienced all of the above, to include the detours, bumps in the road, scenic views, weather delays and the necessary potty break!  
Now that we understand the idea of a road trip, let's talk about all those exits.  On your road trip, do you find it necessary to leave the highway at every exit?   I think the resounding answer would be, "No, why would I do that?"   Let's examine what an exit represents.  It represents a choice.  You have the choice to exit the highway at certain increments along the highway, or continue on your journey.   As we stated already, some choices are necessary, as in gas, food, rest etc.  The question is, how often are these choices needed and do you need to take part in every choice?  

If we stopped to consider some choices throughout our day, would you alter the choice in light of taking an exit, necessary or unnecessary?   Below is a list of choices,

Turn on the TV 
Watch the News
Engage in hurtful conversation
Pause and take a deep breath
Embrace a loved one
Exchange questionable jokes
Eat chemical laden foods
Speak Kindly
Allow the multitude of media outlets into your home
Watch negativity, either via the media, or in others
Plant wildflowers

My philosophy has changed over the years.  In the early 20's I engaged in it all, it would seem.  I was sorting out who I was and trying this and that.   Over time, I realized sharing an offensive joke perpetuated the energy of the joke and the hurt lingered.   If I kept quiet when the joke was being told... I still allowed the energy to continue.  It wasn't until I spoke out against the joke did I learn the energy stopped there for me.  I made a boundary, one based on what I felt inside was right for me.  (I was listening to my heart intelligence).

The same could be applied to any of the choices above.  Each choice constitutes an exit of where I was going to spend time.  I could exit and plant wildflowers to make the highway more alive for fellow passengers, or I could exit and allow the news outlets to suck up my time, before I continued my journey.   

Of course the choices are not always so clean cut and we tend to loose sight of the destination while watching others along their path.  I believe that term is called rubber necking, while driving.  There could be a line of cars piled up waiting to exit and the sense might be to exit a well, because we don't now what lies ahead.  Sometimes it is hard to determine what is right for your journey and what is not.  Which road or path will offer the best choices for you to consider?   

Pink-hearts_largeRecently, I have embarked on a love journey.  Sounds all flowery and pink hearts, now doesn't it?  Well it hasn't been.   What I thought would be easy, had proved more difficult on some days.  I have been challenged on this love journey and questioned as to why I wasn't taking certain exits.  How could I ignore the TV news, or other media outlets?  If I didn't allow the negative in, then how grounded was I?   

Truth is, I have never been one to watch or read the news.  Growing up, it wasn't a factor for my parents and I just didn't pick up the habit.   As an adult, I tried to be more "informed" and watch the news; stay "on top" of world events.   But this left me feeling hopeless and depressed, drained and tired.   Why was I taking this exit?   Just because the idea of being informed is one who is intelligent?   Just because others said I needed to, in order to be aware of current events?  Or how on earth would I know if the world was going to end?   (All questions that have been posed to me).

Honestly, I would rather not know the world was going to end.   I could think of a million other reasons to avoid the news of doom and gloom like playing a game with my children, reading a book, lounging on the deck, feeling the sun, tending to the garden, baking bread, knitting, talking with a friend, taking a bath, swimming, listening to music and the list goes on and on.  

This is not to say, I lack compassion for those who experience horrific things...  I have great compassion for the world's hurt, abused and ignored.  What I object to, is the proliferation of spreading certain negative messages.   I object to not giving the full story, inducing fear before providing facts.   Why are only certain stories put out and others completely ignored?   Is there a rating for tragedy... "wasn't harsh enough" or "too harsh" or "not the right people" being hurt?   Bad things happen every day, all over the world in far places and places close to home.  

There ARE other stories, those filled with hope, love, compassion, joy, and celebration.  I haven't found a media outlet which promotes these as much as I would like.  I certainly don't see enough of these images floating across our big screen TVs.  

Again, we have a choice - take this exit, that exit or keep driving.  My choice is clear, keep driving and appreciate the wildflowers another passenger has planted for me to see.  If I am going to exit, I will do so where I know a clean toilet will be waiting for me.   (Because goodness knows we have experienced the really nasty toilet, overflowing with filth and stench).   Having had to use such a facility, I vowed to always be more mindful of my exits and choose them wisely!  I also vowed to notice the beauty along the path, because as the destination is important, the journey is engaging and full of opportunities for growth and realization about my true nature.  

In the end, it is up to you to decide.  It might be good to seek council, from a fellow traveler who has already been on the stretch of road ahead, but always rely on what your heart intelligence is telling you.  Only you can decide.    Happy Travels Everyone!