Those are the last words in June’s edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. I like Oprah. I know a lot of people don’t, but I really do. I like how she seems so willing and able to admit her shortcomings and failures – often publicly – and move on from them to attain (what seems to me to be) a higher level of understanding of herself and what she needs from – and can contribute to – Life. It’s impressive.
Anyway, those words, about Life’s journey, hit me hard when I read them yesterday. I love it when I’m struggling with an issue – some inner turmoil or frustration – and then I see or hear or read something that shines a light on it and makes it a bit clearer.
“No matter where you are on your journey, that’s exactly where you need to be.”
I’ve spent a lot of time regretting some things I’ve done in life. I’ve been angry at myself, often, for what I consider to be failures. I berate myself for my shortcomings. I beat myself up for poor decisions I’ve made and holler at myself when I misstep and fall into a hole. I see those things as set-backs to attaining the life I really want. (I'm often quite hideous to myself, really.)
But what if they’re not really set-backs?
What if those failures, shortcomings, poor decisions, and missteps are simply things that are supposed to happen to get me to where I need to be?
Now, I’m not a believer in fate or a ‘divine plan.’ I don’t even believe in God in the conventional sense (or even some of the unconventional ones). But I refuse to believe that we’re here simply to take up space and use up our Earth’s valuable resources. I want to believe that we each have some sort of purpose. And I do believe there’s something beyond this existence (I’ve seen too many episodes of Ghost Hunters and Long Island Medium not to!) and I often wonder if we simply move on to the next plane to work out some of the stuff we never got around to working out here.
So, as I say, what if those failures, shortcomings, poor decisions, and missteps are actually what’s necessary to lead us toward our purpose?
I don’t know.
I don’t know a lot of stuff.
But I have to admit, I like that idea. I’ve certainly noticed how Life has thrown a few (crappy) things at me over and over and over. But when I finally figure out the lesson, I move forward. Interesting, no? And when I’m resistant to learning the lesson, Life steps up the game and hits me harder. Does that mean I think Life targets me and throws things at me – or rewards me – deliberately? No. I don’t think Life does anything to us. As I say, I don’t believe Life has a plan. But I’ve definitely seen patterns and similarities in the obstacles I seem to encounter – in the lessons I need to learn to move forward. And I’ve come to realize that in learning the lessons, I also develop the tools to avoid or overcome the same sorts of hits in the future. So it seems that Life is going easier on me… but it’s me, really, who is handling Life better.
So I really like the idea of those failures, shortcomings, poor decisions, and missteps being stepping stones rather than obstacles. I like the idea that instead of flinging myself down the stairs when I screw up big, I can use the screw up as a step up. I like that instead of getting so frustrated with Life or myself for what happens to me, I can simply accept that I’m where I need to be, learn from my situation, and move forward.
I like it a lot.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few lessons to learn.