KEEP THE CHANNEL OPEN !!!
“Knowing the path is not the same as walking the path.”
Morpheus (The Matrix)
I have been struggling with this concept my whole life. I tend to turn to other things, when I get to the point where I think, “okay, got it, I can imagine where it goes from here, don’t have to actually do it.” Unfortunately, I have acted on that thought many times throughout my life and did turn to something new at this point. Consequently I never really mastered anything. Well, I’m living proof and here to tell you that it makes for an entertaining life but not necessarily for a fulfilled one.
Knowing this now I make an effort to pay close attention to what is happening at that crucial moment when I am about to turn my attention elsewhere. I try to be mindful, observe my feelings and thoughts at this moment and as a result, resist the urge to turn away and do something new. It’s been a life long struggle for me – but I’m learning.
And I can say from experience by now, that indeed, walking the path is quite different from knowing it. It has its frustrating phases but the rewards are so much greater. So, stick to it. After every down, there will be a high. Without the bad we would never be able to appreciate the good. Life does not work without contrast. Be nice to yourself and keep showing up. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. It’ll all work out in the end.
Life is demanding – every day. Most of us have a job, a spouse, children, pets, a house, a garden, etc. to take care of. And while we do some things lovingly, others are a drag, and there never seems to be enough time. And as if this was not enough, some just bend over backward every day to do what’s expected of them and lose themselves in the process. I know what I am talking about. I’ve been there, done that, and experienced all of the above before I finally had the guts to face my fears and ask some tough questions. Consequently, I’ve made some changes over the past few years. I don’t want to get into details, but they were truly major changes. I realized something had to give, rather sooner than later. If I did not make certain changes, I would lose myself completely – even more than I already had.
Now, that sounds so easy now that I am writing this, but in reality it was a long and painful process – getting to the point where it’s just too painful to go on, making the decision, announcing it, and going through with it. I don’t know which part was more excruciating. Coming out at the other end though was all the reward.
Most people, when they learned of my decision, asked, “Why?” and my one-word answer was always “authenticity”. Authenticity is the single most important ingredient for a happy life. Of course, there are others: love and affection, passion, compassion… but all of these cannot be developed or enjoyed to the fullest without authenticity. Authenticity is about discovering and knowing who you are and living accordingly. Again, that sounds way easier than it is. There are many humans out there who go through life without ever even approaching the subject. They live, but at what cost.
“Know thyself” is an ancient Greek aphorism, which just goes to show that the topic is not new to mankind. Many philosophers and poets discussed it and wrote about it throughout the centuries. It’s also been a subject in psychology and psychotherapy for over a hundred years, and in more recent years, a topic of the so-called self-improvement-movement. For me, it’s an ongoing process, which I truly enjoy. It has also become part of my professional life over the past few years, and by now, I’m proud to say, I have a practice for psychotherapy. If you want to know more about that, please go to my website at www.juttabreitling.com. I also intend to write more about the subject on this blog. I hope you will join me once in a while and let me know your thoughts. I’m looking forward to it.