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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

Know Your Way Home

Dr. Nadine’s Thoughts:

It’s winter.  The holidays are behind us, and stretching out ahead is an expanse of minutes yet unclaimed.  Winter is traditionally the season of rest, reflection and repose. It’s full of potential and promise, captivating our imaginations of what lies ahead.  This second week of January ushers in the time waiting to be shaped in any way our hearts desire.

If you’re like most people, this is the time that we reflect on what we want our lives to look like and where we want to go.  We prepare for our journey into the new year, with the unknown ahead, and with the promise of finding our true destination. It very much reminds me of the story of Odysseus.  Odysseus was the Greek ruler of the island of Ithaca, who left his home to fight in the Trojan War. At the end of the war, he began his voyage back home. The expedition should have taken a few weeks, but instead lasted 10 years.  He encountered many unexpected obstacles along the way, including mythical creatures, sirens, rebellious crewmen, and Greek gods, all of whom distracted and delayed him from his trip. He eventually arrived home, a much wiser, more experienced man, who immediately reclaimed his kingdom from those who wanted to take it as their own.

And so we too begin the journey to our own personal Ithaca.  Without a doubt, we’ll encounter unexpected obstacles that seem insurmountable.  We’ll encounter frustrations in our jobs; we’ll experience setbacks with our Dear Ones; we’ll suffer losses; we’ll fail ourselves and disappoint others.  And yet, as Odysseus did, we’ll find support and inspiration in unanticipated places. And, like him, we will persevere. We will learn to distinguish between appearances and reality.  We will remain loyal to ourselves and our tribes. And we will grow.

Here’s what we must do to get home:

Decide where we’re going.

Direct all of our actions toward that place.

Dodge distractions with energy and focus.  Then,

Do it. Do it again. Do it more.  And, lastly

Don’t give up!

Bon voyage!

Dr. Zan’s Reflections:

Ah yes, the 2019 journey begins. I so appreciate that the new year provides the time for reflection and an opportunity for new beginnings, as Dr. Nadine so eloquently reminds us. The idea of having a periodic fresh start is one that I relish.  Having spent so many years as a part of school communities, I have always appreciated the chance to offer a clean slate to students who have found themselves heading in a direction they really don’t want to go. The problem is that sometimes you just feel that you’re so far down a particular path that you’ve reached “the point of know return,” quoting Kansas, one of my favs from the 70’s.

So what would happen if we decided to actively embrace the “know return” and not the “no return”? I suspect that we would know that there is always an opportunity for a new beginning just around the corner. A new beginning provides perspective. Perhaps the path that feels so inescapable and necessary is one of our own creation. Could it be that we are actually choosing to remain stuck when we actually have many other choices at our disposal? Is the lack of options merely an illusion?

Yes, indeed, it is winter, and this season typically signifies for me that it is time to spend as much time as possible just sitting and relaxing beside the fire. While I will certainly do my fair share of fireside time this winter, I also intend to respond to the metaphoric fire lit beneath me. Rather than passively ambling along on a course set before me, I am prepared to proceed boldly, to ask without reluctance, to assert without apology. With Dr. Nadine’s encouragement, I will not give up.

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