What if You Are Right Where You Are Supposed to Be?
Consider this: You are exactly at the place you are meant to be at this exact moment in time.
Societal norms, rules, and expectations tell us that we should be following a specific pattern in our lives, which in large part revolves around uninterrupted education with the end-goal of solidifying our financial future. Go to school from almost the moment we can talk. Preschool, elementary, middle-school or junior high, high school, college, and then for many, graduate school. Start your career, find a partner--someone you can share your life with, start a family, and so on. White picket fence and all.
This linear track works for some and may go as planned, but for others, many others, it does not. Between all of that, and along that journey, many of us find ourselves wrapped up in the turmoil of life--with challenges such as anxiety and depression, trauma, grief and loss, social struggles, addiction, relationship wounds, and so forth. This is not what we envisioned. But here we are.
Rather than lament the road that led us to this point in our lives, one thought is to embrace our own realities thereby dismissing the "perfect" plan we all had for ourselves. By doing this it can, in a way, be liberating and even enlightening. One of the hardest parts is to look around us believing that most people are living a perfectly happy, unaffected, and charmed life. Social media often feeds this notion. Dig a little deeper beneath the surface and almost everyone is going through something--struggling in some way, or simply searching for meaning in their lives.
In my position at Evoke, I often hear parents say, “I can’t believe that I am talking to you about your program”, or “I can’t believe that we are actually at this point.” “Where did we go wrong?” That is the human experience, whether we signed up for it intentionally or not. And sometimes certainly by no fault of our own we have landed where we are. I try to meet those questions and concerns with empathy and compassion--because I too have experienced things in my life that are difficult, and even what I thought were unbearable at times. Would I change many of those things if I had the power? Yes, of course. Would I change the growth and strength that have come to me through those experiences? Never.
When one is immersed in the Evoke experience, whether as a young adult or teen participating in our outdoor therapeutic program; or as a parent, individual adult, or family participating in an Evoke Intensive; or one is simply engaged in the array of educational and support services like our webinars, podcasts, parent support groups, and psychoeducational workshops--there is no meaningful replacement for going "through" it.
I spend most of my time in my job behind a computer, on the phone, and traveling the country talking to people about Evoke. But I have the opportunity at times to visit the beautiful wilderness setting and witness the powerful work that takes place on a daily basis. Every time I leave the wilderness I feel rejuvenated and grateful for the work that we do. I’m amazed at the passion and skill of our clinical team and field guides, at the engagement and work that our young participants are putting forth, and at the power and natural beauty of the wilderness itself.
After returning home from my own experience in the wilderness I often look at my own children and can’t help but feel envious for the young people in our program that are having such meaningful and rare experiences--and, for the parents that are along that difficult yet rewarding journey side by side. I can’t imagine my son or daughters experiencing anything similar in this big busy world, or having the kinds of deep conversations that I see in the wilderness, while in the hallways of their schools or hanging out with their friends. Lucky may not be the right word, but fortunate may better define having these kinds of life-changing opportunities that most individuals and families don’t get to have.
So consider this: We are all off-track but we are meant to be, and maybe that is actually part of being on-track. We are meant to be at this place, at this point in time right now. We come to know ourselves, our relationships, our wounds--and we find the path to healing and connection more than we ever could without having gone "through" it.
Posted by Brad Reedy, Ph.D.
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