If you’ve followed my blogs for any length of time you’ll recall me waxing poetic about the amazing European journey I was blessed to partake in last year.
I accompanied my son, Trey, on his senior high school trip to England and Scotland in March, 2017. It was truly the most incredible vacation I’ve had in my life.
There were several aspects I’ve mentioned in the past, but I woke up this morning thinking about one particularly interesting observation I made on the trip.
There were 46 people in our group—mainly from Trey’s Springfield, Missouri high school, with a small number who joined us from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida—and we travelled from London, England to Edinburgh, Scotland by bus. The countryside was beautiful, and Trey and I were pretty much looking out the window the whole time.
Forests, cottages, rolling hills…on and on went the beautiful countryside.
Glancing around occasionally at my bus-mates, however, I noticed many of the younger ones spent much of the time in the bus either playing on their phone or sleeping.
When we were told our next destination, be it Stonehenge, Oxford, whatever, some would pull their hood over their eyes, slink down in their seat and groan, “Wake me when we get there.”
That’s ok, Trey and I were enjoying the countryside enough for all of us. I know he was paying attention, because still, a year later, we’ll be passing by a group of trees or a wide open field and he’ll say, “Wow, this reminds me of Scotland” or “England.”
We also conversed, and laughed. We enjoyed the journey.
You’ve heard that a lot, right? “Enjoy the journey,” but it’s so vital to good mental health and happiness.
Some are in college to get the almighty diploma, that glorious piece of paper, whereas others are joining groups, making friends and learning.
If you allow it, the journey will change your life.
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. (from 1 Peter 1, The Message)”
I’m no therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, so I did a Google search for “tips to enjoying the journey,” and found the following very interesting:
“10 Steps to Enjoying Your Life Journey”
(taken from the Transformation Ministries International website, http://www.tmitacoma.org)
“1. Start a Daily Meditation Practice
One of the best ways to gain balance in your life and inner peace is to start a daily meditation practice. Start with five minutes and extend your meditative practice each day until you are meditating for at least fifteen minutes each day.
- Eliminate Multi-Tasking From Your Vocabulary
Studies show that only 2% of people are able to multi task effectively. For the remaining 98% of people multitasking will do more harm than good. Studies also show that trying to focus on more than one task at a time causes a 40% drop in productivity.
- Be Fully Present in Everything You Do
The majority of people are rarely fully present in the current moment. Their minds are usually regretful for things that have happened in the past or worried about things that may happen in the future. (As our family motto goes: “No fear of the future, no regrets of the past”—Rob)
- Count Your Blessings, Start a Gratitude Journal
One of the reasons why we lack inner peace is because we don’t count our blessings. By starting a gratitude diary you can refocus your mind on those things that are positive in your life. A gratitude journal is simply a notebook where you record on a daily basis things that you can be grateful for.
- Stop Living in Your Head
(M)ost of the negative things that we worry about are simply occurring in our head. Even if things do not go according to plan we can usually correct them over time.
- Let go of the past (there’s that “no regrets of the past” thing again!—Rob)
We cannot control the things that have happened to us. Many of us carry trauma from our childhood or feel that people have done us poorly in the past. You can make a conscious decision whether you are going to allow the negative things that have occurred to ruin your future.
7. Trust God for Your Future
None of us know what the future holds for us. But by trusting in God and his plan for us we can take comfort. Only god knows our future.
8. Accept What Is In Your Life
If you cannot accept your life right now there is very little chance that you will ever be truly happy. This is because changes in your exterior circumstances are far less important than what is going on in your mind.
9. Stop Judging Every Situation
Finding inner peace often requires that we step back from viewing our life as a set of disparate events and look at the larger picture. We need to keep in mind that all events in our life our temporary.
10. Schedule Your Calendar With Fun Events
Lastly remember that life is to be enjoyed. We should actually schedule in fun activities. Don’t hope for more fun in your life; plan for it!”
I’ve discovered #10 to be true the last few years. My family, friends and I literally set a calendar date for fun, be it a potluck dinner, a movie, or—in the case of this weekend—a belated Easter egg hunt. You have to be proactive about family, friends and fun, or life will pass you by.
So don’t just set your sights on the destination; look out the window and enjoy the journey!
Blessings, my friend.