I woke up with this Diana Ross song in my head: Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?
It might be because I’m booking flights for an upcoming trip to California to attend a Kyle Cease workshop for entrepreneurs. It might be because the metaphor of life being like a plane trip popped into my head the other day. It might just be because I’m old and often pop songs from the 70’s fly into my head in the wee hours of the morning.
Anyway! Do you know?
Someone told me that pilots don’t enter coordinates–ping ping ping-and then fly the plane straight there. They punch something into their panel of knobs and dials and then course correct the entire trip, adjusting for weather and other things. Sure, it’s a gazillion times more complicated than that but I like the idea of a calm, cool pilot sipping her black coffee as she punches in new coordinates to avoid the storm ahead or the flock of birds or a patch of choppy air. I tend to take things personally and start yelling, WAIT-WHAT? WHY? WHAT’S GOING ON AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
Planes don’t sit on the tarmac until they know EXACTLY what the flight path will be. They can only find their perfect path by flying.
You sense a metaphor coming, yes?
It seems to me that life is like a cross-country plane trip. Everyone on the plane is you, some aspect of you: the screaming kids, the terrified lady clutching her drink, the snoring disheveled guy who’s entirely out of it, the task-oriented lady clicking away efficiently on her laptop, the chatty one talking non-stop, the over-it-all one rolling her eyes at everything. You don’t have to get rid of anyone before you take off. You don’t have to change anyone before you take off. Everybody gets to be on the plane BUT (and this is key!) not everyone gets to operate the controls. Only one person gets to fly.
I don’t think anyone really knows where they’re going to.
We think we know. Sometimes we love that and sometimes we hate that.
We love it when we feel good about our present, pretty clear what’s up ahead. We feel in control and on target. We hate it when we feel bad about our present, when it’s hard to see anything down the line except more bad news. We start to feel trapped and scared, sure our current circumstances arose from past mistakes–ours, other people’s, or the universe’s. We freeze or we run scared, trying to get away from the bad news even as we’re sure the future we dread is inescapable.
What we want is control. What we want is to know where we’re going to. And to like the things that life is showing
you, er–I mean, us. (I wanted it to rhyme!)
I love feeling clear and confident as much as the next gal. I prefer a sense of ground beneath my feet, vision in my head, passion in my heart, and wind at my back. IT’S SO FUN! Look! I’m doing it! Life is working!
It is fun. And it’s also an illusion to think that I’m doing it ‘right’ when it unfolds according to my plan.
I love the Buddhist saying, The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.
Not knowing where you’re going to is actually the good news.
Our job is to punch in the best coordinates we can find at any given time and then GET INTO MOTION, course-correcting as we go, paying attention and responding to the internal and external information that arises.