Last week I had the opportunity to go on a long drive by myself. I was left to my own thoughts for a bit of time and I thought about how pain sets the pace our lives. Yeah, it was a rather different topic to be thinking of while driving a car along the highway, but my thoughts twisted towards how much the pain in our lives is just like a pothole.
While I am not going to get into the chorus a song by Tom Cochrane, “Life is a Highway”, I am going to use his analogy of how life really is like a highway. The highway is the journey to the destination. The cars riding along the way, are the people who we encounter in our lives. Some pass by quickly, some tailgate us, some just stick with us at a safe distance.
Then there are the potholes.
Potholes are a nuisance, they interrupt our smooth drive as we travel along to our destination. Like the emotional pain in our lives, potholes slow us down, they make us feel uncomfortable, they can even cause us to go off the road. If left unattended, potholes can get huge and crater-like. These huge painful potholes not only affect you but they can break other people who may pass over them; sometimes with irreparable damage. I lived with huge potholes on my highway of life and it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t fill them in, I just didn’t know how.
It wasn’t until I came to the realization that to fill the painful potholes, I would have to change the way I thought. Getting away from victim speak, trusting and forgiving others, learning with an open mind and engaging my body physically so I look and feel my best were all ways to fill the pothole of my life. But that wasn’t enough. While my pothole was filled with all of these amazing rocks, as people drove over my filled pothole, they would take a stone or two back out. My pain would once again start opening up and it didn’t matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep my pothole filled and I became tired.
The only true way to fix a pothole is to fill it with stones and then pave over top of it to keep them inside. How could I fix my pain once and for all, what would be the pavement that would seal it for good? I chose creativity.
The basic reminder of consuming versus creating was the pavement that helped cure my pothole of pain. The balance of realizing that I am consuming too much and creating too little became the solution to my problem. When we are creating, we are in control of the masterpiece of life that we perceive. When we are consuming, we are allowing ourselves to be controlled by the masterpiece of others. When we consume too much, we give up our control of our reality.
When we are consuming by watching TV, listening to music, reading our social feeds and eating processed foods, we are allowing others to dictate the parameters or our mindset. We become slaves to the thoughts and feelings of others and open ourselves up to be controlled. Over time our brain becomes addicted to being unstimulated and it gets lazy. When we create by learning a new instrument, writing a story, painting a picture or building a Lego masterpiece, we unlock our minds and gain control over our mindsets and innermost thoughts.
There will always be potholes along the highway of our lives. Just how bumpy your journey will be, is dependant on the work you are willing to put into sealing your potholes. Dealing with your pain is never easy but neither is allowing it to grow. Unrepaired potholes will not only damage you, but it will damage others following behind you. Fix them before it is too late.
Oh, and do your best to avoid the potholes of other people’s journeys. Your car will thank you.