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I absolutely love The Journey by Mary Oliver!
Yes, I know. The poem often appears in self-help books or on self-development websites, and in my opinion, it should.
Because it is a reflection of my own story. There was a time in my life I felt unfulfilled although I was a mom, wife, friend, etc. I had a good job and a decent social circle. For the most part, life was good.
However, an emptiness still existed. It was an emptiness I couldn’t really identify. This feeling existed for some time even though I tried to ignore it. I told myself that I shouldn’t feel this way. I am Blessed!
Nevertheless, the feeling of “Is this all life has to offer?” became more pronounced when my youngest child left home.
Was it loneliness? Was it empty-nester syndrome?
Ohmm….No. I was never the mother that had her life revolving around her children. My parenting skills were to love them, support them, and guide them, but at the end of the day, I had a life of my own. And let’s be honest, your children do, also. But that’s a topic for another day.
The energy I was using to prepare my son for the “real-world” was unknowingly distracting me from those feelings of unfulfillment. However, not long after he left, those feelings once again became more present which finally prompted me to take action. I had the time, and most importantly, the desire.
So, after much thought and journaling, I realized that the overwhelming emptiness I felt was because my life lacked purpose. I really didn’t have significant, life-changing goals.
Unfortunately, because I needed to adjust my mindset, my journey for a more purposeful life began with the naysayers, self-doubt, and negative self-talk tagging along.
In retrospect, I was never a person who was bound to others’ opinions. Strong-willed, whether it’s considered a good or bad thing, is one of my character traits.
So, the only obstacle I had to overcome during this transformation was ME.
Creating a Positive Mindset
Here are some simple, but effective, actionable methods I incorporated in order to get my mind right, and they can be beneficial to you, also.
- I surrounded myself with positive people even on social media.
- I surrounded myself with some of my favorite Bible verses, affirmations, quotes, etc. I placed them on my computers, in the exercise room, on the refrigerator, and in the bathroom.
- I journaled and practiced gratitude.
- I read uplifting stories and self-help books.
- I read books and blogs about creating a positive mindset, which, by the way, is the key to any goal you want to accomplish.
- Lastly, but most importantly, I took action in the form of “baby steps.” I put into practice some of the suggestions I encountered from my research. I kept the ones that helped me move in the direction of my goals and discarded the others.
When Your Soul Says Yes
From my desire to fill this void, I stumbled on the poem The Journey. It spoke to the fabric of my soul that yearned for more from life. It showed me that once a person realizes the time has come to make a change, there’s no turning back. Although our palms may sweat and our heart beats out of control, the poem says
- You are ready to step out on faith.
- You are ready to travel the road less traveled.
- You are ready to take risks.
- You are ready to let go of the person you have outgrown and embrace the person you are becoming.
- You are ready to invest in you.
That investment can start right HERE. If you are looking for a practical approach to coaching yourself to your goals or if you just need motivation, this is the place to be. I am only asking you to
- Be open-minded and positive. This will make the journey more exciting.
- Put forth a genuine effort before giving up or saying “This is stupid!’
- Be willing to share with others what you have learned.
- Be patience. True transformation is slow and uncomfortable, but so rewarding.
I am not promising profound, out-of-body experiences where you are happy every day of your life; however, if you stay on this journey long enough and consistently implement some actionable methods, you will see subtle changes such as
- A slightly new and positive perspective,
- A realization of what is possible,
- More courage and confidence, and
- More motivation.
That’s what happened to me. I didn’t experience in-your-face changes, and once again, I am not promising you that. I evolved over time and still am.
Having a positive mindset and creating SMART Goals have given me purpose-things I now have a passion for. I will go as far as to say that they have placed excitement back in my life back. I wake up most mornings, even during the week, being grateful and excited about what the day will bring. Sounds cliche, but it’s true. Being excited and happy about life doesn’t have to be this thing on a grand scale. It can be quite simple and low profile.
Your first assignment is to go back and re-read the poem with this new found perspective you have gained from this post. Allow the poem to speak to you. Let it encourage you to recognize that voice that says, “Mend your life!” Allow it to give you the courage to discover your passions and begin the journey even if you are unsure and doubtful. And allow this blog to help show you the way.
New and exciting adventures await you. I hope to see you on this Journey!
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