Have you ever experienced those moments when you are so focused on the destination that the journey becomes irrelevant, even stressful? I'm with you there. I noticed this a few weeks ago during our morning walks with our daycare kids. I was so focused on getting to the park and getting back home in time for lunch that I was left feeling stressed, frustrated and annoyed. Why? Because the children wanted to explore and take the world in at their own pace, they didn't want to be rushed. They knew at the back of their mind that we were going to the park, but the walk was just as fun for them. They spent time running through the grass, picking flowers, watching a nest of ants and arguing over who had the biggest stick. What was I doing? Well I was being a massive stress head, telling them we needed to hurry up and get to the park so they had time to play before we needed to head back home. Did it work? Well if you know toddlers you will know that they can be defiant, stubborn and completely uncooperative when someone is messing with their flow.
All of this taught me a valuable lesson. One which I have read about, heard about, but until that moment on that eye-opening morning I did not fully appreciate.
The Journey Is The Destination - Dan Eldon
When we got home I talked through with my husband what I was feeling and how this method of daily walks with the kids was definitely not working for me. In that moment I made a commitment to let the children just be with whatever captivated their attention in any given moment and to fully explore nature.
How I Did This:
- Instead of saying "Let's go for a walk to the park" I now say "Let's go for a walk." By removing the "park" as the destination I am now free to go with the flow and let our walk be the destination.
- I let the children direct the direction and speed of the walk. This allows them to feel powerful and in control. As toddlers they are still quite new to this world and are often hurried; caught up in our adult world which can lead to feelings of powerlessness, helplessness and frustration.
- I breathe and enjoy the walk with them. I allow myself to be fully present and childlike in my approach to the world; seeing everything with excitement and wonder, as if for the first time.
Focus on the journey not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. - Greg Anderson
It can be quite challenging for us adults to slow down, go with the flow and be present with where we are at in this moment. I challenge you to take time each day to focus on your journey. For example instead of stressing about getting to work on time, enjoy this time in your car to yourself listening to the music you love; instead of rushing around the supermarket, take the time to smile to other shoppers (it may just be what they need right now); instead of rushing your child's bath time allow them to explore the water, the bubbles, the toys.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ernest Hemingway