The Gradual Ascent
The Journey Begins
Life is not a destination... it's a journey. Success also is a journey.
There are so many facets of life in which we desire to "arrive" at a particular destination. The unfortunate thing is that many don't give themselves the opportunity to just enjoy the ride.
Today I ventured out with my daughter into unknown territory. Territory that I had never experienced before.
She asked me, "mummy do you want to go riding through the forest?"
Well I'm up for a good adventure and I love spending time with my children so of course I said, "yes".
Thing is, I had NO idea what path I was about to tread, or more specifically ride upon.
It started off great. It was a beautiful day today. And I really enjoy cycling.
We literally went riding through the forest.
There was rough terrain. There was smooth terrain. There was hilly terrain. There was dangerous terrain.
When I started off on this adventure I didn't think about any of the things that might be uncomfortable or scary about this new experience. I was just down for the ride.
We got off of the bikes at one point to explore. My daughter told me to watch where I was walking because there was poison ivy in this patch. Well that was okay because I know how to walk carefully.
And then she stopped and said "Oh God!"
I asked, "What happened?"
She said, "That's a snake!"
Now Jesus! I don't walk in fear but I also don't walk with snakes!!
As we got deeper into the forest I realized that this might require some caution, but also awareness.
I honestly was very tempted to turn around and exit stage get the hell outta here. But I chose to continue the journey and not allow fear of the unknown to interrupt the experience. I just said a prayer that went like this...
"Ima need all snakes and things that I wish not to experience to remove yourselves from my view and path!"
And thankfully she was the only one who had a snake experience!
The Path Less Travelled
The interesting observation I had during the first part of the ride was that only she and I were on the trail. As we got in a little further we saw an occasional rider other than ourselves. Trust me this ride is not for everybody and the reality of that hit me pretty quickly as I observed there were few people on this path.
That's the way it is in life.
Sometimes, when treading into new territory there won't be many people along for the ride. And we have to be okay with that. Everything is not for everybody.
As a matter of fact I said to my daughter, "seems like we the only two black people out here. I guess it's the white in us that would have us doing something like this." We both laughed. My mother would have been proud! :)
Towards the end of the journey we saw one other person who we thought looked like us.
But isn't that what we do sometimes. Look for something familiar when we are in unfamiliar territory. Looking for something outside of us that makes us feel comfortable when what we really need to do is seek for comfort and assurance within.
Why is this important?
Because most often you will not find outside of yourself what you need to feel good about the choices you make FOR yourself.
When you step out into new territory the journey may feel isolated or lonely at times. I have learned that the quantity is not what's important. It's the quality that ultimately matters the most.
As we got deeper into the forest we hit some rough and hilly terrain. This trail was a new experience and I realized at one point that I might need to slow it down and be very aware of the path ahead of me.
My daughter rode this path once before and I was actually VERY impressed at how confidently she led the way. And yes, I relied on my daughter to lead me on this adventure because she was more experienced than I was with this uncharted territory.
When we don't know where we are going, trusting someone to guide the way is sometimes necessary to staying on course. There is NO way I would have been able to navigate this trail on my own. As a matter of fact I said to her when we completed it, "there is NO way I will be taking that ride by myself." Not right now anyway.
But I digress...
As we rode on a little further we hit a hill that I didn't expect!
How many times in life and business are we hit with unexpected hurdles and mountains. But you know what I have learned about life. It is always teaching us. It is our responsibility to learn the lesson.
The hill that I didn't expect caused a major stumble, a painful bump, an inevitable bruise and an almost crash to the ground. I didn't hit the ground but the hit I took to the groin definitely caused me to keel over, and say a few choice words for about 10 minutes.
But we were already deep into the journey. Turning back was not an option.
I had to make the decision, in spite of the pain, to get back on the bike and resume the ride. This was something I had set out to do and I was determined to complete it.
Situations will cause us to stumble and at times fall. We can always make the choice to get back up and keep moving forward.
The pain that I experienced during the mishap was a great pain but you know what I observed...
Within 10 minutes of getting back on the bike I no longer felt the pain that had me doubled over.
But even greater still was this...
When I came to another hill, because of the near fall that I had with the first one, I knew that I needed to maneuver this one differently. Did I have another stumble? YES. But the experience was less traumatic.
When I came upon the third hill the lessons that I had learned through my encounter with the first two made me decide that I might do better getting off of the bike and walking up the hill rather than trying to ride it.
I chose to ascend more slowly. And even though the it took me about 30 seconds longer I got there, unbruised.
At the end of this ride I had a major revelation.
I reflected on the fact that the journey of life isn't always an easy one. There will be stumbles there will be beauty. There will be struggles there will be ease. There will be pain and there will be pleasure.
But no matter what bumps the journey may bring your way, if taking it is something that you desire to do, while you're on the path give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the ride.
I could have focused on the pain or the scary parts and I could have let it stop me from ever having that experience again. But you know what...
I'm looking forward to the next forest bike ride with my daughter and possibly my son (who would have enjoyed that adventure).
Life is not a destination. Success is not a destination. Happiness is not a destination. It is a journey and the journey of getting there can be an enjoyable one if you decide it will be.
And when you do get there don't stop because there's always another journey to somewhere that awaits you.
Even though this ride bruised me up a bit (actually quite a bit lol) I am ready to venture out again.
In life we will be bruised, hurt, scared and even a little bit hesitant but never forget to enjoy the journey.
Don't allow the mishaps to limit you from moving through life with hope, excitement, fun and laughter.
Don't let the small stuff, or even the scary stuff, hinder you from experiencing, and creating, even bigger memories and experiences.
Always give yourself permission to enjoy the ride!
The Cruxcifiction is not the END
The FOCUS of the Message
Even if you don't ascribe to the Christian religion, I feel it's safe to assume that many throughout the world are familiar with the story of Christ.
But what is the REAL story. We pretty much understand the repeated story but I ask today is the told story the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.
But even more important to me is this... what is the FOCUS of the story. Or more importantly, what SHOULD the focus be.
We all have a purpose in this world and whilst our purpose may not be global, worldwide or even community wide, we all have a purpose and it is our responsibility to tap into what that purpose is so that we can effectively carry it out.
Christ was sure of his purpose.
1. To testify to the truth. John 18:37 "For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth."
2. To exemplify forgiveness. Matthew 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
3. To teach us how to walk in faith. Matthew 6:31-35 "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
4. To make abundance available. John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
5. How to show up positively in the world. Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
6. That nothing is impossible. Matthew 19:26 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
7. To give his life and die. John 19:30 "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
Matthew 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
John 10:17-18 "The reason the Father loves me is that I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. "
The title Christian was given to a group by men because they were teaching the words that Christ had spoken. It's not a belief... it's a label. Jesus never gave a name/label to his followers. The title used most often in the bible is "Saints" which simply means consecrated to God. This reflects not just the individual but the connection to a group of people set apart for the purpose of being the ultimate message of the Creator... LOVE, Forgiveness and Unity.
So how did the movement of the message become a structured organization of massive buildings, elitist arrogance, judgment, condemnation, separation and self-righteousness?
For me personally, the answer to that question is of little relevance.
The way I honor the messenger Christ, the Son of God who assures me that I am the daughter of God (as are you daughters and sons of God), is to continue to be an example of Love, Light, Hope, Unity, Compassion and Empathy. All of these I see Christ as being.
Not a being who felt that he should be exalted and set apart. But a Teacher of good news. One who chose to be a LIVING example of the Love of God and the Compassion that man should strive for. He chose to be born that he might be an example and then he chose that he would die that the impact of his message may continue in power.
In my opinion the FOCUS should not be the cross. It is one of the reasons that I don't resonate with wearing one. Remember during that time everyone put to death was nailed to a cross.
I choose to FOCUS on the resurrection... the glory in the story rather than the sting in the story. The crucifixion was the process of the experience to produce growth... in this case life.
The ultimate message for me of Christ's sojourn here in this earthly realm, and the impact of that message, is that LOVE is key. It is the one force that when exercised and allowed as intended, will cover a multitude. For me this means will put an end to everything that is not in alignment with the highest good for ALL.
When I love God and I love me and I love you, therein is peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (the FRUIT of the spirit). Against such things there is no law (manmade) and in my opinion no need for law.
Therein is the message that Christ came to demonstrate. See words mean nothing without action behind them. Sometimes we need to see the action to understand or justify the words. Christ was the word in action.
On today, a day set aside to celebrate RESURRECTION, let us remember that this is the day that matters. The crucifixion was the necessary path to the purpose. The message of the resurrection for me is that we can have life and have it more abundantly.
So I choose to live in abundance daily as I love and be love for others to see and experience. I choose to let my light shine and help others to see their way through the darkness.
Let us live our lives, LIVING, LOVING and BEING rather than focusing on death, pain, persecution and living in a place of fear.
The pain is simply the process of the experience that produces growth. If you are not growing you are dying. So give yourself permission to grow and live...
BE Love for yourself and to others
KNOW that it's all possible
You get to CHOOSE
And if you want to know who and what I am.... I AM Love... Period!
I am Denika Carothers, Life Coach, author, healer and Mental and Emotional Wellness specialist. I help my clients transcend the pain and trauma of rejection, grief, abandonment, loss and abuse.