The path of personal and spiritual development is a continual process. Though many of us believe that when we get to this goal or that achievement, we will be fully satisfied, there is no real defined end to the journey. There is no point at which we will look around at all we have accomplished or who we have become and say: “Ok, that’s good. I’m done now.”
In light of this, it’s very easy to get tunnel vision and to get caught up in the constant push towards some future-based destination. Having goals and a vision is a great thing and it helps to keep us focused, motivated and on track. At the same time, it’s important to take a step back every now and then to acknowledge our victories, to look at how far we’ve come and appreciate all that we are and have in this moment. That’s the fuel that keeps the engine going and without it, our whole lives can become an endless pursuit of something that we will never even get to enjoy when we’ve attained it.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been fully immersed in the process of recording my second album. I’ve poured my heart and soul into it and have had to make a number of sacrifices along the way to stay on track in meeting a fairly tight deadline. In the final stretch, the process has involved very critical listening to ensure that everything was sounding as awesome as possible. As I was driving to the final recording session, I was listening to a working version of one of the songs and it hit me like a ton of bricks! For the first time in months, I actually heard the music that I’d been working on so hard with appreciative ears and an open heart and it almost moved me to tears.
Now you might be thinking that only some kind of ego maniac could be so emotionally affected by their own music! The truth is that what really got to me in that moment was the realization that I’d been so busy trying to get it perfect and get it done that I forgot to take a step back and just let it in, to really appreciate the fruits of my labor, to stop and smell the roses as the saying goes. We can live our whole lives this way and forget to stop every once in a while to take it all in, to acknowledge our efforts, to honor all that we have become and achieved, to say thank you.
So maybe you’re working your butt off to lose twenty pounds. That’s great but don’t forget to acknowledge and thank yourself for the five that you’ve already shed. Or maybe you’re working on your own masterpiece and are knee deep in the process. Don’t forget to put the pen, the brush or the instrument down every once in a while and allow yourself to look and listen with kind eyes and ears on what you’ve done so far.
We are all our own masterpieces in progress and it helps to remember that we will never be perfect, that the process never ends and that it’s important to find the balance between striving and thriving, between doing and being, between improving and appreciating.
In that spirit, take a moment to step back and have a look at what you’ve accomplished, how far you’ve come and who you’ve become through all of your efforts and experiences. Give yourself the gift of acknowledgement by leaving a comment and sharing with the rest of us. It might be something as simple as a positive attribute you’ve worked on, a good deed you did or a bad habit you’ve kicked. Whatever it is, big or small, let’s celebrate our victories together and encourage one another as we walk the path towards our greatness and our dreams.
Written for The Daily Love (Jan. 14th, 2012)