You’ve got something important that you’re taking on. You’ve been talking about how important it is for a while, and you’ve finally committed to going and getting it handled. This is the thing, this is the time, and it feels good to take this on. Hoorah! You’re pumped and ready to go.
So you pull out a map, and you get ready to plot your course. You sit down and you begin to orient yourself. The first step to any journey is determining where you’re beginning from, and with a little sleuthing, you get yourself situated on the map. Now you know where you are starting from. You have gotten yourself a “You Are Here”.
Now if this were an ordinary journey, the next step would be to determine where you want to go next, and track the path from where you are to where you want to be.
But this is no ordinary journey. This is a metaphorical journey into the great unknown. This is a journey towards what you truly desire, and the path from here to there involves walking through fear.
And so a funny thing happens, as you sit in front of this map.
You ask yourself “But how did I get here anyhow?” That seems important, so a few things unfold.
First, you start to get curious about the place you find yourself. Maybe there’s some valuable information in that. After all, you understand how important it is to know where you’re beginning a journey from, so you pull out a magnifying glass and you give that map a good look. You get really curious about the colours and the features surrounding where you find yourself. You give that starting location the ol’ stink-eye, really getting in there.
Once that’s done, you start to explore how you came to find yourself here. It’s a fascinating exploration! You find many paths lead to here, and each path is as interesting as the previous one. It seems like there’s never really an end to how you came to be here. You trace the journey that led to you sitting in front of this map all the way back to your birth, and yet there is still more analysis you can perform.
You call up your parents, and ask them about the social norms that were around when they first thought of conceiving you, and you begin to ask them about their parents and how they were raised. At this point, determining how you came to be here is taking a little longer than you initially conceived, but that’s okay, because you’re making progress and that means ultimately getting yourself where you want to go. In the meantime, while you continue to explore the question of how you came to be here, it’s started to rain, so you take a brief interlude to build yourself a shelter to protect yourself from the elements.
Over time, the rain picks up, so you set down your map, temporarily, and reinforce your shelter, making it nice and stable, and including some interior heating so that you can keep up this important practice of figuring out how you came to be here, regardless of the weather.
After all, you are committed to this task in front of you and to making sure nothing stands in your way.
But looking outside you see the rain has turned to hail, and so you figure it might be a good idea to stay in here for a little bit longer, until there’s a better time to move forward. Plus, you really feel like you’re getting somewhere, now that you’ve started talking with your grandparents.
You probably don’t need this brilliant and hilariously-written metaphor to be drawn out any further. You get the point.
But when it comes to taking on what’s scary, we really don’t get the point. We tend to miss it over and over and over again.
It’s not because we’re dumb, it’s simply because it’s scary to step into the unknown. Everything that led us to where we currently are has already happened, and so it’s safe to explore that ad nauseam. We may not love what we see, there may be some confronting things to sit with, but analyzing our past will rarely produce the future.
Sooner or later, we have to leave the shelter and safety that comes from looking backwards and leave it in the past. The future is in front of you. You don’t need to sit in front of the map at a mall asking yourself how or why “You Are Here”. You just need to get that that’s where you are, and then leave the safety of the map to walk towards what is next.