Overcoming The Bumps In The Road Of Life. By Dr Linda Berman.

6031364139_d1f29af2a6_oNuria Armengol – Journal de Voyage 7 [2008]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“The path that takes us straight to its destination is a dull one indeed. It carries only the one message and when we have read it, we have read it. The winding road, however, is a continuous story. Each bend is a mystery and rounding it a discovery.” 

C.R.Milne

Traversing the path of life is inevitably going to give us a bumpy ride. Life itself, as we all know too well, can present us with many harsh ups and downs along the way. 

How can we best negotiate these bumps along the road of life?  In this post I reflect on this and related issues.

  • The Concept Of Life As A Journey

40408875652_b037f84e2c_oMaurice de Vlaminck – The Road to Longny. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“It is a common saying, and in everybody’s mouth, that life is but a sojourn.”

Plato

The metaphor of life as a journey is an age-old one. It is a helpful concept, in that it relates our lives to experiences of discovery, growth and learning, which are characteristic features of many journeys.

We are sometimes told to ‘follow the right path,’ yet there is no one path. We must each find our own unique direction to move through life, a way that is right for us and us alone.

Attempting to ‘advise’ another to follow one’s own chosen path is an imposition and an intrusion into the other person’s life.

We can only be there to try and facilitate that other person’s journey, if asked and required.

6665920577_0257ccb7b2_oJustyna Kopania – Untitled [2011] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“I know there is no straight road
No straight road in this world
Only a giant labyrinth
Of intersecting crossroads”

Federico Garcia Lorca

However painful and difficult, it appears that we all need the bumps in the road of life, even if we hope for an easy ride.The ups and downs teach us so much.

“We often cause ourselves suffering by wanting only to live in a world of valleys, a world without struggle and difficulty, a world that is flat, plain, consistent.”

bell hooks

The huge ‘bump’ that is the pandemic is painful and restrictive to us all, but there have been and will be, lessons learnt.

Each of us has, inevitably, discovered something new, about self, other, the world.

“So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories.”  Albert Camus

“Life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.”

Oliver Goldsmith

Without the bumps in the road, life would be like a monotonous and uneventful highway, with no twists and turns, no interesting sights or experiences, no colourful scenic contrasts.

Painful as they may be, we would not learn how to live, relate or function without these difficulties.

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

Kahlil Gibran

48436826592_eb06e22797_oOla Billgren – Summer [1969]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

48966496026_f778bd0c39_oMarc Chagall – Rain (La Pluie) [1911] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

  • Paths Of Discovery: Taking Risks.

‘When you lose your path, you get an opportunity to discover a world you have never known! And better worlds are often found this way! Darkness and uncertainty hide presents in itself!’

Mehmet Murat ildan

125291276_e4bb833542_othe road more travelled, Forêt de Bouconne. Simon G. Flickr.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I –

I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

5761329880_0512486948_oArvid Johansson – Winter in Paris [1894]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture 093
The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown, 1855. Wikimedia Commons.

“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller

The painting above depicts the artist and his wife and baby leaving Britain to emigrate to Australia. In reality, this never happened, but he was tempted to leave because of shortage of money.

The couple are obviously nervous about the change in their lives and the journey they are taking. Their expressions appear anxious and worried.

They hold hands for reassurance. They protect their baby. (Find the baby!) It obviously demands much courage to embark on such a new path in life and it looks like this is certainly a bumpy ride.

“Everyone should have the experience of getting lost in life at least once. Part of growing up is learning how to tolerate uncertainty, and when the time is right, to find or create a new path for yourself.”

Cole Todd

Finding new paths involves coping with uncertainty and venturing into the unknown, but without taking such risks at some points in our life, we would remain static.

“I have not always chosen the safest path. I’ve made my mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon and fail to appreciate the consequences. But I’ve learned something important along the way: I’ve learned to heed the call of my heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.”

Steve Goodier

Many times, we need to find our own way, to discover our own unique and personal paths through life, bumps and all.

“The path of least resistance is the path of the loser.”
H. G. Wells

“A path is made by walking on it.”
Chuang Tzu

  • We All Have Different Paths.

50820432467_773bc630a5_oDavid Hockney – Santa Monica Boulevard [1978]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Ultimately we are alone, finding our individual and very personal paths through life. It is important to respect the different paths that others may take, to value difference and diversity.

“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
Ram Dass

There will, inevitably, be meeting points along the road. We will come across other travellers, some who will pass us by, others who will give us a bumpy ride, and yet others who will clear the way, calming and healing us.

Ram Dass described life as a journey, on which We’re all just walking each other home.”

Each person we meet has some influence on us, leaving an impression on our minds and, at times, in our hearts.

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”

Tim McGraw.

50690155446_645ec77bfe_oJulian Opie – Walking in New York 5 [2019]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“We all come from different paths in life but we can find common ground.”

Nanette Mathews

  • The Journey Into The Self.

Hand_with_Reflecting_Sphere

Escher. Hand With Reflecting Sphere.Wikimedia Commons.

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”
Rick Warren

The quotation above is referring, of course, to a journey into the self.

This is a journey of self-discovery, one in which we will hope to get to know ourselves; it is a journey inwards into authenticity.

As Warren points out, above,  there are times when this journey is full of pain and suffering. To face oneself is no mean feat.

39663042961_d9829e9569_oSalvador Dalí – Moment de transition [1934]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

The journey of learning and self-knowledge goes on until we die. We never, actually get ‘there,’ wherever or whatever ‘there’ may be.

“Its the not the destination. It’s the journey.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

50897477026_84da32e918_o

Daniel Gordon – Portrait with Shadows and Eyes [2019]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“The only journey is the one within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Hard though this journey is, it certainly has its rewards. Without the promise of the rewards of enlightenment, clarity, peace of mind and insight, people would not traverse the bumpy roads of self-knowledge, whether these paths take us through study, research, relationships or psychotherapy.

“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.”
Steve Goodier

5528913592_d4a37669c9_o

Albert Savereys – River [1930-37]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

  • Déjà Vu: The Importance Of Life’s Spirals.
Rythme n°2, décoration pour le Salon des Tuileries
Robert Delaunay (1885-1941). “Rythme n°2, décoration pour le Salon des Tuileries”. Huile sur toile, 1938. Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne.

“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.”

Barry H. Gillespie

The paths we take through life, whether in terms of therapy, life experience or formal education, are never straight. Inevitably, we will revisit places we have been before, both in reality and symbolically.

Each time we re-experience these places, these ideas, feelings, memories, these facts about life, we learn more, we understand more and we become enriched through the repetition and the new perspectives we gain.

  • Perspectives Along The Way.

“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”

Dan Brown

Through travelling inwards, we gain new perspectives about ourselves and others. The journey along the road of life gives us different viewpoints, as we move forward into new experiences, new encounters and relationships, new learning.

“Each day, as you get older, there is a new perspective on life. It’s a progression of some sort.”

John Hurt

5893536574_fdf8a7a57f_oMajid Arvari – Ray of Light [1999]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“But to look back from the stony plain along the road which led one to that place is not at all the same thing as walking on the road; the perspective to say the very least, changes only with the journey; only when the road has, all abruptly and treacherously, and with an absoluteness that permits no argument, turned or dropped or risen is one able to see all that one could not have seen from any other place.”

James Baldwin

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

 Marcel Proust

  • When The Road Feels Straight And Smooth……

Along the way, there will be times when we find places of peace, people we feel happy with, oases of calm and healing. These we must treasure, as the memory of them can nourish us during the hard times.

“Well I know the secret places,

And the nests in hedge and tree;

At what doors are friendly faces,

In what hearts are thoughts of me.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

4732017737_0323d8afbd_oDaniel F Gerhartz – Her Favourite Place. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

© Linda Berman

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9 comments

  1. Great work – thank you for the inspiration and joy

    As a human who has been cut. Off from art and the visual that I thrive on for over a year

    This is really lovely for me

    As I am dyslexic I miss the visual so much and the unexpected feelings created by each image

    Brilliant work

    Thank you

    L

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lorna, what lovely words! I so appreciate your generous feedback about my blog post. I’m so glad you like the images too- I enjoy finding art that complements my writing. Thank you so much. 🙏🤗💕 Linda.

      Like

  2. The images and quotes complement each other powerfully. I hadn’t seen “The Last of England” by Ford Madox Brown in decades and forgot it exists. What a marvelous painting, and it really captures some of the sentiments, particularly for me the one by Mehmet Murat ildan:

    ‘When you lose your path, you get an opportunity to discover a world you have never known! And better worlds are often found this way! Darkness and uncertainty hide presents in itself!’

    Having those words in my mind while looking at that image made my eyes moist. And that’s before I read the following paragraph and learned that the people depicted were himself and his wife (I must have learned that in art history class, but forgot over the ages).

    And even then, I hadn’t found the baby yet. I might want to make a video just about this painting, it’s such a true masterpiece.

    Another moving post addressing “the human condition”.

    Thanks for assembling the quotes and images, and organizing them with your own thoughts to elucidate a critical aspect of life and being.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eric,thanks for your comments. I find them heartwarming and encouraging, especially during these difficult times.
      I like the quote too about losing one’s path. I immediately made a note when I found this quote to research and write a post about being lost and what that could mean in different ways for people.
      Synchronicity in that you chose the very quote I had been contemplating. (Keep looking for that baby, though. That’s the thing about this painting, there’s so much to discover.)
      The painting is fascinating, I do agree. So much going on, and so much emotion. Symbolic of what’s going on for many people now, too.
      All best wishes and thank you again 🙏🤗 Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

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