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Movin' On
by Diana Robinson

"One pauses, considers, absorbs, and eventually, moves on"

I have a number of times had people tell me that they became involved with a particular activity, or group, or philosophy, for a while, and then "did not stick with it." There is often a tone of self-recrimination in this comment.

When I pursue the issue I often find that in fact they had learned quite a lot during their time with the activity, and had incorporated specific behaviors or viewpoints into their lives before moving on. Frequently, having moved on, they then judge themselves as having in some way failed, showing some degree of fickleness or lack of persistence.

Certainly this can be the case. It may not always be wise to dance superficially from one thing to another so as to never learn anything in depth. However, I have an alternate viewpoint to suggest.

It has been suggested that in our lives we move as one might move through the great, old cathedrals of Europe. In these cathedrals are many small chapels, each dedicated to one or more saints or biblical situations. As one moves through the cathedral one pauses at each chapel, for a longer or shorter time. Or one may choose to by-pass some. Each chapel represents a particular aspect of life, perhaps a particular virtue or something associated with that saint's life. One pauses, considers, absorbs, and eventually, moves on. Yet, in leaving the chapel behind, one can also take with one the influence of that saint.

Likewise, when we take up an interest, or a philosophy, relating to self-development, at first we focus on it, making it central to our time and energy, learning it, absorbing it. If we later move on, it does not necessarily mean that we have abandoned that philosophy, or that we are being fickle. Perhaps we have simply completed that phase of our learning. At first, what we needed to learn had to be front and center stage of our attention, just as any new skill does. Eventually we learn the precepts well enough that they can become integrated into the way we live, the way we think. We may then move on and center our attention on something else that, in turn, will help us to grow yet more. We are not necessarily leaving the former philosophy behind. If it has become an integral part of ourselves then we are taking it with us.

So there is no need for judgment on oneself, or on others, for changes of direction. Sometimes one zigs, and sometimes one zags. Both may constitute forward movement and growth.

Copyright 2000 Diana Robinson, WORK IN PROGRESS, (Life, Me, You, This Newsletter). Please "share the wealth" by passing Work on Progress on to your friends and colleagues. To subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the Work in Progress free newsletter, read Top Ten Lists or Coaching Tips, visit Diana Robinson's website at Choices Personal Development & Life Creativity.