Wednesday, April 3, 2013

23 & The Road Less Travelled

Every time a birthday rolls around it's stock-take time. Get out the check-list. The inevitable questions abound. Have I grown up yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet?

The great or not so great truth is that I will never 'arrive' I will never be 'there yet'. Life doesn't work that way, it's not an infographic or an essay. I can't pen it, graph it, get it down to a science. And if someone does, I assure you that is not living. 

It's the marvellous and soul-racking design of God, this thing called life. The haunting, joyous, tiring, everything experience. And it's after many years and at the eve of my twenty-third birthday I remember one of the first non-fiction books I ever read cover to cover with words and lessons that have stuck to me, all these birthdays later. The below are all quotes taken from psychologist M. Scott Peck's classic bible of experience and wisdom 'The Road Less Travelled'. 

1. The Pain of Living

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

"Most do not see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy."

"What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one...Yet it is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning."

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” 

2. The Necessity of Truth

"Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost."

"While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be."

"But the biggest problem of map-making is not that we have to start from scratch, but that if our maps are to be accurate we have to continually revise them. The world itself is constantly changing... The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful. Rather than change a map, an individual my try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place."

"Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true"

3. And Love, oh yes, Love

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them, and exceeding limits requires effort. When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through exertion - through the fact that for that someone (or for oneself) we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful."

"We are incapable of loving another unless we love ourselves... Since I am human and you are human, to love humans means to love myself as well as you. To be dedicated to human spiritual development is to be dedicated to the race of which we are a part, and this means dedication to our own development as well as 'theirs'. ... not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but that ultimately they are indistinguishable."

“Love is the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth... Love is as love does. Love is an act of will -- namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.” 


  1. So funny that I came across this, as I was just reminiscing about a post I wrote a few years back and made mention of you!

    Are you still on Twitter? I couldn't seem to find your handle. I hope life and your travels are treating you well :)

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  3. Thanks Tiffany! I'm still on twitter (although admittedly do not frequent it as often as I should) on @willtravel4life - I remember that post all those years ago, so good to see how your blog has grown and continues evolving :)