In life, we all get signals, advice, direction. It can come from our own inner cues, or
it can come from outside. And when it's the latter, it can reach out to us from the most
unlikely of places. I've noticed that it seems to come to me in a "shower" of sorts...
as though when I need it most, the pieces of the puzzle shower down on me.
The last year of my life has been more than a little like a puzzle. It's held excitement
and growth, and it's held a great deal of pain. It's been a joy, and it's been a trial.
And why? Because I left a safe, sound, peaceful day-to-day existence to take chances.
Not just in my career, but in every aspect of my life. In short, I closed a lot of chapters
and started all new ones.
As we travel any path we set forth for ourselves, there are times when we look back.
Times when we question our next step... times when we ask ourselves if we can continue
Such questions have haunted me for the last several weeks. Sometimes the path feels true
and sure and even when it becomes rocky underfoot, I continue with faith that I am headed
in the right direction. But other times our human capacity for doubt takes the driver's
And then... a few universal truths came to me to help me fill in those missing puzzle
pieces. Maybe they can help you too.
As I questioned my leap into an unknown future, paying for it with my inadequate but
"sure thing", I heard the following words spoken on television one evening:
"While it's tempting to play it safe, the more we're willing to risk, the more alive we
are. In the end, what we regret the most are the chances we never took."
It was as though the message was spoken right to me... I knew it was true. I thought
back on my life and the seeming "mistakes" I'd made... the ones that I'd learned the most
from — the ones that had challenged me. None of those were truly mistakes. They were a
part of the journey I had to make — the result of risk taking. Then there were the joyous
parts of my past... the unexpected adventures that came to be from pushing past fear and
living a dream.
I began to question my choices with my relationships... had I chosen well? I couldn't be
sure. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I was feeling drained and spent, dealing
with a death in the family that week. And there was no support system for me. I was the
support system... in this case, as it should have been. Yet I felt hollow; empty; needing
to be filled up. I found myself resentful that a man I loved so much could not give me a
thing. Grief and pain had left me clouded, needy, and selfish.
And then a dear friend who I love and respect gave me some advice that afforded me a new
"If you ask a man for $100 and $10 is all he has in his pocket, $10 is all he can give you.
If you ask a man for $10 and pain is all he has in his pocket, pain is all he can give you."
Of course. Time. Space. Currency. All relationships are built on some aspects of them.
And what we have to give is all we have to give. When we're rich and full, we can give a
lot. When we're tapped out, we've nothing to give but pain.
So the question remained... what's the future here? Midway through a book it's hard to
answer the question, "How will this story end?" And then, another message came my way:
"In the end, things seldom work out the way you expect. Sometimes fate is on your side;
other times you've sealed your own fate. Either way, you have to trust that what's supposed
to happen, will happen. Besides, somehow you always seem to end up with the person you're
meant to be with."
You have to trust — that's it. We can't control everything. As a loved one keeps reminding
me, sometimes you have to stop trying to hold onto that control. Sometimes you just have to
"get out of the way." While you're busy trying to control everything, you're not learning
So I've gained some real insight on life and how we see it this past year. I've cried a lot.
I've laughed a lot. But mostly, I've learned a lot. It's not about the destination. It's
about the journey.
We all know the saying that every journey begins with a single step, but we sometimes forget
that every journey ends that way too. It's all a series of steps. Each one laying down a
piece of the puzzle that builds your path.
Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.