August 2016

Stepping stones along a path

Path

Are you headed in the right direction?

Are your journey and your desired destination likely to make you happy?

Did you chart your own path, or is it a product of circumstances? Do you have control over your path?

That last one is a biggie. It may seem that our paths are out of our control, that we are destined to continue with our lives the way we have been and that deviations aren’t possible. We may feel trapped.

In some cases, we are wedded to certain aspects of our lives. We make commitments, we have responsibilities, and we have people to whom we have to answer. But if we take those as foundations on which we can build a life that is flexible (as much as possible), fun, fulfilling, and meaningful, we may find that we have more control over our paths than we originally thought.

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Man screaming in pain

Pain

Pain hurts.

No one wants pain in their lives, but we all have it. If we didn’t have pain, we probably wouldn’t have much joy. Creating happiness in our lives involves taking risks—including the risk of pain. Ultimately, if we can find a balance between pain and joy, we have had a life worth living.

There are different kinds of pain, and it can come from different sources. There is physical pain, the pain of unfulfilled desire, the pain of loss, the pain of regret. Some might say that these are different kinds of pain—in how they feel and in how they manifest—but to me, they are very similar. Intense emotional pain hurts just as deeply as any physical pain we might endure.

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