Rest Stop (Thursday) … turn around

Ok, time for honesty from everyone.  Who here hasn’t, at some time in their travelling experience, reluctantly asked for directions, only to find out that you needed to turn around and go back from where you came to get to your final destination?  If we are honest we know this has happened.  We either missed a turn or simply ended up in the wrong direction.  Turning around, or going backwards, was not a negative in this scenario.  Although, most people don’t want to go backwards, sometimes, going backwards is what gets us to where we need to be.

In life, and in my clinical career, I have come to learn that words mean things.  Words are powerful.  Words can be healing hands of comfort, or a weapon; you chose how to use them.  But not only do words mean things, most of us tend to place judgements on particular words.  When you hear a certain word it evokes in you a positive or negative thought/emotion.  But what if we changed our perspective on the words we hear?  For example, the word “retreat”.  Most of us view this word as negative.  A giving up, a loss, moving backward.  But, taking the negative meaning, how can we change the perspective?  If a military needs to retreat, yes, we could say its negative, but we could also say its positive.  How?  Where does one retreat and why?  The military retreats to safety (a positive) to regroup, to learn what went wrong, and to strengthen themselves (a positive).  So, although the notion of a retreat, and possibly the reason for it, are negative, the result of the retreat is positive.

soccer, perspective, serenity, peace, history
soccer players (credit: www.axonpotential.com)

I am not a huge sports fan, but I love the game of soccer.  I’ve both played and coached the sport.  But, a concept which was very difficult for most soccer players to comprehend was the idea of passing the ball backwards.  If a player was rushing the goalie trying to score, but had opposition ahead of them, while a player just behind them had an open shot, passing the ball back was actually opening up a greater possibility for a goal.  Going backwards, in this scenario, was not a negative at all.  But the first player had to change their perspective.

bird, peace, struggle, serenity, perspective, change
bird stuck against window (credit: Chris, blog author)

A few years ago, while travelling in South Carolina, I took this picture of a bird frantically trying to escape the barn.  The bird kept hitting the window trying to escape.  But, the barn door was wide open, on both ends of the barn!  All the bird had to do was to look around and fly out one of the two open doors.  But, the bird was so focused on the task in front of it that it failed to see the options available.

bird, peace, struggle, serenity, perspective, change, butterfly
“trapped” butterfly (credit: Chris, blog author)

I took this picture just the other day of a butterfly banging against the screen trying to escape.  But, just behind it was the open door.  As a side note, I did help the butterfly to escape after I took the picture.  I guess, continuing with what is obviously my analogy, we all need help from time to time to find our way out.

For many of us, we feel trapped in life and bang ourselves against windows and screens because we fail to change our outlook, or our perspective.  We seem to focus so much on what is in front of us that we tend to forget what is around us.  And we forget to look behind us.  In other words, we tend to forget that we have a past, a history.  Our history not only helps to form who we are today, our history provides us with lessons.  And the more we can turn to our history, not to relive it, but to learn from it, we will gain the wisdom of the ages.

For most of us, myself included, how can I today look around me, see options, learn from the past to possibly find a new way toward the future.  If I feel like I keep knocking myself into a window, simply remember this important phrase: “stop it.”  Do something different.

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2 thoughts on “Rest Stop (Thursday) … turn around

  1. This is a great post and one that speaks to me. For the last five years, my family has been living in a place that none of us truly love but a place we need to be for the time being. In these five years, we have made changes along the path, each time making it a bit easier to stay the course. While I feel like I’m anxious to reach the end when we can all go back to living somewhere that feels like home, each change helps us to live a bit more comfortably in the present. I will continue to look around for ways to make things easier for my family rather than focus on one single path. It is making a world of difference for us.

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    1. I liked how you mentioned the present moment. For me, trying to stay focused in the present, looking for opportunities to learn from the present, has helped me to cope when I’m struggling. I appreciate your sharing, and I hope you and your family come to discover rewarding opportunities in the present, all the while striving forward toward your goal. Thank you for adding your journey to our collective journey.

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