Recently, some friends and I took a trip to Houston for my daughter’s graduation. We had no idea of where we were going so, we used the GPS navigation system. Little did we realize that using the GPS system is a metaphor for navigating life.
When we arrived in Houston, near our destination, the GSP took us in circles until finally, we realized we had to refresh it.
The GSP experience reminded me of the old atlas maps (which my daughter knows nothing about). When I was young, my mother would take me on an adventure, and she would let me read the map and direct her. I loved to read the map. I felt as if I were in control and had the power to make the decisions as to where we were going. I liked the map because it was visual and very detailed as to directions and roads. Unlike the GPS system, you could see in which direction you were traveling, what streets and roads to look for, and at which intersection to make turns. It was great until there was a new development or change in street names. Then, we were lost.
Life is like that. We would like to think when we are on our path, progressing on target, and in alignment with our purpose and passion, things will go smoothly. We set goals and make decisions as to how to reach our goal. Like having a map, we can see the direction we want to go in and the outcomes we want to achieve.
The reality is, things happen. Similar to the GPS, we might encounter twists and turns. In life, sometimes the twists and turns are planned for, and at other times, they are sudden and catastrophic. When this happens, it causes us to stop in our tracks and reassess our path, our roadmap. Sometimes we need to regroup, rethink our strategy and choose another path.
On our trip, once we took the time to refresh the GPS system, the system redirected us on the right path.
When your life path gets interrupted, or you just have a bad day, there are things you can do to get back on the path. First, slow down, take the time to tap into your heart, and feel the wealth of love around you — in nature, family and friends, co-workers, and even, strangers who smile at you in passing. Take a moment to just breathe in love. The feeling of love is a reminder that we are all human and in need of connecting. We are encouraged to love one another for the greatest of the commandments is to love.
Chaos often brings on confusion. When you get lost on life’s path, just live for that moment or that day. The reality is, we don’t have all the answers, and often in chaos, we make poor decisions.
We really don’t know what’s ahead, and so, we can seek the guidance of a higher power, through prayer, to guide and direct us. After all, unlike the GPS system, we can depend upon a universal power that knows much more about the universe than we do. We are entreated to “be anxious for nothing, but, in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Getting back on the right path means we express gratitude for our blessings. After all, in our shortcomings, we learn to appreciate the significant things in life. When I’m having a bad day, I remind myself to acknowledge each person that comes across my path and express appreciation for what they bring to my life and the joy that I can bring into their life.
Like traveling with a map or GPS system, sometimes you have to pull over and rest, reassess where you are, and start all over again.
I’m about to take another trip. I now accept that even when using the GPS system, everything will not go as planned. I am prepared to expect detours and misdirection, and when that happens, I know I can pull over, rest, and observe the scenery until I’m refreshed enough to continue the path and, so is it with life.
Gerry J. Tucker is an author, certified career and life coach, and spiritual writer.