There are some parts of the US where getting directions to somewhere is a bit of a struggle. That is without resorting to our friend the internet. Online, of course, you can find your way to just about anywhere. Then too there are those GPS navigation systems that seem to come in most cars these days. With those voices that always seem to be criticizing you no matter what you have done in your car.
But, enough digression.
Back in the day, when you had to actually ask someone for directions to get where you wanted to go, depending on where you were in the world, your conversation could go something like:
You: Can you tell how to get to Portland?
The other person: Why yes, just follow this road for 2 miles until you see the sign for the interstate, turn onto the highway until you see the sign that says exit for Portland.
Or sometimes, if you ran into someone who thought they had a sense of humor:
You: Can you tell me how to get to Portland?
The other person: Yes.
And then there are the folks who answer with the title of this article:
You: Can you tell me how to get to Portland?
The other person: You can’t get there from here.
And this third one is the version we are going to talk about today.
You can’t get there from here
Bunches of people have ideas about how they can change their lives. There are seminars, and books and online courses and audios, videos, and concerts. All of these things are valid and useful and have helped many people to lead better more satisfying lives.
But none of those things changed anybody. Not one of them.
Going to a seminar or listening to a tape does not change you anymore than driving from here to Portland changes you. You are still you when you get in the car, when you stop for directions and when you arrive at your destination too.
You used to be here and now you are in Portland.
And the commonality there is – you
You are in charge of your change, not the concert, not the webinar, just you. And that is why the title is the way it is, You can’t get there from here, because you are already here.
Now true enough the guy kicking back on the front porch of the gas station you stopped at to ask directions is just giving you a hard time when he is saying that you can’t get there from here. What he means is that you are going to have to go somewhere else first in order to even get on the right road to Portland.
Maybe drive around to the other side of the mountain, or maybe cross the river before you can get to a place where it’s easy to start your trip. But eventually you can get to the place where you can start your journey to Portland.
In thinking about making life changes or thought changes or emotional changes, we can use the same phrase with almost the same meaning. You can’t get there from here.
[su_box title="A Bit Of Clarification" style="soft" box_color="#06457c"]Now, for sure, we know that all changes are things we do, and just the going on of a trip or making a change in the scenery doesn’t create any real change inside of us. We can take the things we learn along the way – ideas from listening to a webinar or watching a video and then apply them to our lives, but the video itself does not make us change.[/su_box]
Sometimes, like the guy giving directions to Portland and saying that you can’t get there from here, we need to do a bunch of things differently in our lives before we can make our own change.
We might need to stop doing a certain behavior – something like criticizing ourselves whenever we think we make a mistake. Or maybe stop thinking a thought like it’s just too hard and I will never be happy, that’s just the way my life is – doomed to be forever sorrowful.
Those things are good to let go of and get them out of the way before you start to make your real change.
If there is a constant stream of self-denigrating words running through your mind, it is hard to get yourself started on living as the light-hearted person you really are. It is in fact, much easier to let go of those ugly thoughts before you start filling your mind with good thoughts instead.
And not really any reason to carry the old uglier thoughts around to save for later either, just in case being happy doesn’t work out.
Once you get started on your journey to Portland, or on the path of seeing yourself and the entire world as happy, light and beautiful, there is not much going back. Making a conscious change in your life, changes your life. You are not going back, and your trip will be a lot more fun and enjoyable if you are only carrying around one set of thoughts.
And frankly, once you experience how light your life is - when the set of thoughts you are carrying around is the peaceful, easy, good thoughts - you are not going to want to go back and try to find where you left those old unhappy thoughts.