Shifting Gears

open road
image by Evelyn Proimos

Sometimes I dream of being able to ease my life onto a new road. To simply get in a car, give it some gas, and shift gears in order to propel myself forward. Instead of driving around the same town in the same car, I get in a different car seeking adventure and new opportunities found in undiscovered territories. I feel alive with wonder and awe as I watch a new road open in front of me. I’m still not sure about the destination, but I know that I am headed in the right direction. I am confident that destiny will greet me along the way, and a new life will unfold before me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to leave my current life or run away. I am very fortunate to have the life I do. My dreams are not born from a sense of lack and desiring “more.” My dreams are part of imagining a future that is infinite in possibilities. I am aware that no matter how great and wonderful our lives may be at any given moment, they will change; we will change. As I allow myself to be present with gratitude and acceptance for my present self and life, I am also aware of my desire to glimpse a new and evolving future.

My anxieties and fears may grasp for a tangible sign or some clear direction, but I am not so easily tricked by my neuroses anymore. I am aware that in order to allow myself the opportunity to shift, I must acknowledge the process. I must start with where I am NOW. Now includes being honest about who I am, where I am at, and where I would like to go. So often, I think it is too easy to assume that how we were is who we are.

I work, grow, and expand my awareness, yet the temptation to hold onto history is strong. And, it can be easy to use the past to foster limitations instead of strengths: you can’t do that, you’re not ready, you don’t even have a plan or directions, who do you think you are to dream that big! The oh, too familiar theme that is built on a foundation of questioning one’s worth and value while discounting strengths and abilities.

In the face of confusion and doubt, I dream of a joyful future filled with potential. I hope for a future that is centered in meaning, purpose, and living fully. The idea of a new car heading out on the highway seems like an appealing metaphor as I leave behind my old and no longer useful ideas that slow down, limit, and holdback my stronger new self. Yet again, I know that in order to move on, we must start with where we are at. Until we are able to magically materialize at a new destination like in Start Trek, we are faced with accepting that life is a journey. Finding our dreams is a process, and we cannot simply wish something into existence and expect change to “just happen.” Even if we change vehicles, we are still faced with needing to drive the car and choose the route.

As I open to the unknown that the future holds, I try to include an authentic view of myself. Maybe I don’t need a new car. When I look more closely, I can see that I’ve changed and upgraded a lot. The vision that I’m holding onto may be clouded with the past that I’ve clearly let go of. It’s time to shift. More accurately, it’s time for me to recognize that I have already shifted, and it’s time to cruise in a different gear.

I can let go of the past and create a more honest assessment of who I am, where I am, and where I want to go. I can dream of an open road. I can allow myself to glimpse a future birthed from unlimited potential. Instead of hoping to just arrive, I can enjoy and embrace the road. More importantly, I can recognize that I don’t need a new car; I just need to shift gears and keep driving.

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