“My perception of what is “far” has been changed drastically. I found myself thinking that distance is nothing when you’re willing to travel the miles and enjoy the ride while doing so. No matter how far your dreams may seem, make sure you take steps toward them every day and enjoy the walk. In good time you will get there.”
Hector Jesus Arencibia in Letters from Wanderlust
I find so many intriguing threads within the fabric of this quote…but “Perception” is requesting my attention first. As that particular topic would deserve an entire book, I will only say that perception is the crucial key to how we experience everything. The beliefs I carry (many entrenched for years) are always at the root of my thoughts and actions, and will always influence how I see the state of things.
The next fabulous thread that shows up is “Changed”. If I want my experiences to change, its time to consider altering my viewpoint, tough as that may be initially. We often find ourselves stuck in beliefs like “Sorry – that’s just the way I am” or “I couldn’t ever be different” or “She/he/they will never change.”
But hey! Reign in those runaway horse thoughts for a Pause moment!!
Contrary to the habitual stampede of old beliefs that may be going on in your mind right now, you are NOT stuck. “Stuck” is actually an illusion, a story we have agreed to accept and then allow to run our view of “how things are.”
So I’m here to dislodge the illusion of “stuck”. We always have a choice…therefore, Perceptions CAN indeed be changed!
Funny, I had initially written “perceptions can be hanged”…A perfectly timed typo(!), because “hanging up” a perception for further viewing allows me to walk all around it, view all its sides and then decide what to keep, what to eliminate…what honestly fits into how I want to move forward.
“Distance” is thread number three. How far away something is is a relative term…(seeing a theme here yet?!)
With any goal, I can certainly choose to dwell on how “far” away it is, using words like “too difficult”, “inexperienced”, “not enough time” or “what will others think” and, my personal favorite “what if I fail?!”….Feel free to add your own special “quotation words”: we’ve all succumbed at times to that inner voice, talking ourselves out of taking an action and later wishing we hadn’t listened.
But if I can choose debilitating phrases, I am also equally capable of selecting words that are instead supportive of the courage it took me to even contemplate this journey in the first place.
“I am feeling energy from this idea”, “The passion I have for this idea is powerful”, “I am able to search for resources to help me along my way” or “I can get up if I fall down.”
So….Pause. Just how do YOU perceive “far”?
Is there an illusion hidden there?
Does it need to be adjusted? Or perhaps replaced with a new vocabulary?
“Distance” is defined by you alone: you are the only one who chooses how you see it. Therefore there can be no finger pointing placing blame on exterior reasons for our view. If we don’t like what we see, then it’s time to shift our position. And that can only happen within.
And that leads to the next two important threads…
Willingness and Enjoyment.
Are you willing to take the journey towards your goal? This means sticking it out through thick and thin. Perhaps a daunting thought at times…but fortunately you WILL be learning as you go AND you’ll be fueled by your passion. You will receive more than you will ever give.
Again, how we perceive our “learning” will depend again on how we choose to see it:
Will we focus on drudgery, perhaps permeated frequently with personal assaults, and taking obstacles as signs that we’re failing…rather than being curious about the lessons that are within each one?
Or do we determine instead that perhaps our stumbles are simply opportunities to seek out the joy hidden along the path?
Joy may not be blatantly obvious…but we will increase our ability to ferret it out the more we practice expecting it and looking for it. Over time, it will be more and more apparent and thus easier to find.
And yet ultimately we will discover along the way the best result from this search…
Gratitude will accumulate and motivate like nothing else will. Gratitude empowers us to truly learn, to reveal more of our passion, continuously encouraging our persistence and enjoyment of the entire ride. And Gratitude will lead us to the final thread in the tapestry…
Commitment is a must. Arencibia exhorts “No matter how far your dreams may seem, make sure you take steps toward them every day…”
Notice he doesn’t say “once a week”, “whenever you feel like it” or “after two days, skip several weeks”!
As we grow our Gratitude, we will learn to love every step…yes, even the hard ones. When we decide we are willing, then we’re saying we’re in for the long haul.
Can you add “daily”, or something very close to that, to your schedule for walking your path?
Uh oh…”DAILY?!”…”COMMITMENT?!” “LONG HAUL?!” Hold on now!! This is really starting to sound way too scary…too overwhelming.
Okay then…I can say now is the perfect time to have a breakdown….
Absolutely yes, you heard what I said.
It’s NOT the kind of collapse you’re thinking of!
This is where the Daily Steps fit in so perfectly. To access yours, begin by breaking down your journey into 2-4 main sections; next, break each of those sections down, and perhaps once again, until you have gotten to the single steps within each section. You’ll know them because for the first time, your actions will actually look reasonable and manageable…and not so overwhelming. The bigger the goal, the more breaking down will be needed…so stick to it. Don’t give up.
Writing down a detailed breakdown very effectively organizes and clarifies your path. Make a special trip and purchase a unique notebook and pencil to record your ideas…let them be your constant companions, ready for spontaneous thoughts. And should you prefer typing, simply start a note page (or two or three) on your phone, laptop or other device. Give this page a personalized name, with capital letters. Maybe add a photo that inspires you. Making it individually yours is another key to making your journey more real, more tangible…something you can see yourself doing.
But please…the most important thing is to just do something!
Putting your path into words is a more concrete commitment than just thinking about it or talking about it with others; seeing it expressed in black and white print helps to make the dream begin to become real…
And with this very act…
You’ve actually taken your first step…
And this is huge!
From here, you will determine your next step, set a reasonable deadline, then complete it. To help with deadlines, reveal your “step” (or other smaller goals) to a Step Partner, someone whom you trust so you can stay accountable, then check in with them regularly. I can vouch for the effectiveness of this tip: having a “step partner” helps me stay with my schedule and prevents me from being lazy…or afraid…or giving in to doubts or obstacles.
As you walk along, look up at your Dream Mountain…you’ll find you’re closer than when you last looked. Seeing progress – yet another bonus from being persistent – will grow your energy to go further. This check-in glance needs to be consistent too because, aside from being inspirational, you may find you have shifted off track and need to reorient your direction to stay on the path. Ask frequently “Is this where I really want to go?”
To conclude, Arencibia says, “In good time you will get there.” So here is one final Perception Shift:
What if we decide that each single step we make is an actual “getting there” all on its own?
Check it out.
When you took the first step, you were “back there”, looking ahead.
Now you’re “here”, where you had planned to go.
So in effect, with one single step, you “got there”!
Your next step will then take you “over there”, so then you “get THERE.”
And so on.
In this way, we can choose to look at the entire journey as if we are always accomplishing an arrival. It’s continuous success, because the destination is not only “out there”, it’s “here now” as we arrive anew with each step.
“Far” is not far…Unless we believe it is.
“Joy” is defined by how we search.
“Distance” is always relative.
What step will you take today to begin your journey?
What step will be yours tomorrow because of the one you took today?
Lao Tzu says it best in Tao Te Ching 64:
“A tree as great as a man’s embrace springs from a small shoot.”🌲
“A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.” ⛰
Just take one Step.
It’s not “far” at all.