Giving meaning to my journey? It’s been quite a difficult few weeks since coming back from Greece and you might have noticed that even my writing sort of took a toll. If you read some of my other posts, you know how I share my journey and certain aspects of my daily life, but all of that became very blurry in the last few weeks.
For those who have been following my blog since the beginning, you might remember a post called I Failed at Dating Myself! It was basically a post in which I shared my difficulty of loving and accepting myself. In the context of a solo night out, I decided to head back home after feeling repulsive and unattractive.
Well, let’s just say that the last few weeks go along those lines. It is sometimes easier to run from the problem and fall into some form of escapism, but so much harder to deal with the issues and decide to take action.
Meaning of the Closed Door
Years ago, I saw a picture on Facebook which was very evocative. I cannot insert it here for copyright reasons, but let me try to explain. It was basically a cat, sitting in a cage with no ceiling, just a closed door. The cat was focusing on the closed door, begging its way out, without ever noticing that he could simply jump out.
Aren’t we often focused on the closed doors just like that cat? This question has inhabited my meditations for the past few weeks. Why is it so difficult to step away from a situation? To mourn? To turn the page? To go on with the next chapter of our lives? Maybe because we keep focusing on the closed door.
Truth is, if our focus is on the closed door, how can we see the opened ones? We might lose opportunities of growth, of love, of prosperity, etc., because our mind is not welcoming the new.
Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he said; “No one puts new wine into old wineskins: otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins: but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins” (Mark 2:22). In other words, to welcome newness, make space for it! Or else, you might lose all these opportunities.
Finding the Meaning
Funny enough, as I was trying to focus on my next post and give meaning to what I’m living at the moment (that is struggling to let go of the old, to make space for the new), I stumbled upon a quote from Viktor Frankl on a friend’s Facebook wall; “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
OK, Mr. Frankl, chill please! Years ago, my spiritual director, gave me the book Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. I obviously read it and felt lots of admiration for this man who gave meaning to a horrible circumstance (concentration camp), enabling himself to survive the worst atrocities.
In other words, he was teaching with his own example, how man needs to give meaning to sufferings, challenges, atrocities, etc. in order to become victorious over them. I read his words with empathy, but I realize today, that I did not truly understand what it all meant.
Giving Meaning to Our Journey!
Well, it sort of dawned on me yesterday as I read this last quote. I need to give meaning to the challenges I’ve been facing lately in order to grow and learn from them. If I only focus on the pain they caused, I will never get the life lessons intended for me.
Those around me know how the last few days have been particularly difficult. However, as I woke up this morning, I felt a strong conviction that I needed to start focusing on the positive and the opened doors.
Indeed, while focusing on the closed door, we end up doubting ourselves, we focus on the weight gain, on our defects, on our limitations and we stop looking at all the positive that still and does exist.
I’ll give you one simple and very personal example. A few years back, I was in love with this person who hated body hair. Might sound banal, but I’m covered with more body hair than one person can handle. Long term, it made me feel disgusting, unloved, unappreciated, etc. I kept shaving all my body hair to try to please this person and was living with an honest feeling of being repulsive.
Only years later did I realize that there are people out there who love body hair. What? Really? Might sound crazy, but there began my journey of acceptance. It took me a long time to get there, but I am now accepting and loving this hairiness of mine.
It’s a very simplistic example, but I think it can resonate with many. If we focus on our self-love and acceptance of who we are, we can then welcome others who will do the same. If we truly love ourselves and accept ourselves, we will never allow others to destroy our self-image.
Meaning in All We Live
So same goes for all the closed doors in our lives. Some doors close for better opportunities, others close because they weren’t meant for us, others were always closed but we simply tried to force them open.
If we focus on the pain and the loss, we will not learn from our mistakes and will keep trying to open the same type of doors. If we accept the failure and try to better understand why it happened, what it means, etc., we can maybe start opening the right doors.
So here I am, tired of waiting upon opportunities that don’t show up, on people that don’t really love me for who I am, on those who promise with empty words, on those who make me feel undesirable. I choose to focus on all the other doors…
I give meaning to these challenges by choosing to see them as life lessons and by allowing myself to learn from them. I choose to give meaning to my past wounds, to my troubled journey and to my broken dreams as opportunities that allowed me to become who I am and that enable me to share my journey with others in order to help them grow as well.
I am grateful for everything I’ve lived and learned because I know that gratefulness is an open door for us to receive the much-needed blessings.
Meanings in Chaos
OK… Wait, before you go, I need to tell you what just happened! As I was finishing my post, I stopped writing to go take care of the washing. I suddenly noticed that my dishwashing soap dispenser was almost empty. The refill is a Costco size … if you know, you know! Lol. The refill container is located in the cupboard on top of the fridge.
Instead of taking it out, I decided to pull it out on the edge of the shelf and tried filling my dispenser … it did not work … the soap was falling to the sides. I then urgently brought the dispenser to the sink, thinking of another solution and forgot about the refill that decided to collapse on the fridge.
Consequence? Dishwashing soap all over my fridge and floors. I can easily focus on the disaster caused by this incident … but you know what? I smiled and thought; “Hey Nick, here is an open door to a life lesson. You sometimes are tired and try to avoid an extra effort. It’s called laziness. The perfect results are probably just behind that extra effort. Giving up might just bring loads of problems.”
So please, make this loss of soap worth it! Share with a friend, make sure to subscribe and I’m looking forward to reading some of your comments.