Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Pothole Syndrome

You know when it is close to spring in Minnesota as the potholes start popping up everywhere. I left my axel on Lexington and I-94 last night, I am sure of it.

I usually don’t drive a lot, not a favorite thing for me to do, but last night I went to visit a friend in the hospital so I had to drive one of the busiest sections of interstate in Minnesota – Interstate 94. Now not driving a lot means I have to pay attention to the exit signs so I can leave the highway and traffic. As I was looking for exist 243A the truck was getting bumped around in the potholes. I decided I needed to pay more attention to the highway than the exits to avoid some of them, and I did, well as best as I could.

So what does this have to do with positive and purposeful living? Well, I like to use analogies to explain and connect ideas. I use them a lot in coaching and in writing this blog as I want people to relate to the idea, not fear the big words. I could have pulled out the PhD writing style and completed days of research review and looked really smart, but what good does that do.? I will eventually share my research study summary in this blog as I did find it absolutely fascinating, but not today.

Okay, back to the Pothole Syndrome

Each of us has a life and you can think of it as your personal highway. There are times that you have exited and taken a different road or stopped to be part of someone else’s road for a while, but you always come back to your highway. It is your life’s path. From time to time you may switch directions or all together the road when you learn, grow and change, but that is what makes your highway system. You can look back at where you have been and forward to where you are going. You can plan exits along the way in areas of travel, adventures, education, job changes, relationships and other events as you travel, but you always come back to your own highway and highway system.

Can you see a Google map of your highway? From day one of your life to know what does your highway system look like? Does it have a lot of detours? Does it flow in a straight line never wavering? Does it go around in circles? How many exits have you made? Did you start a new highway or just exit for a while? What does your Google map look like?

For many of us our map may look like a cobweb and for others it may look like a symphony’s music script with everything working together in harmony. Whatever it looks like it is yours and mine to own.

For many of us, I have fallen into this category many times; we start not liking our highway and start planning for getting the heck off! We keep driving forward, but with no plan other than to eventually take a left or right, change something in some way. Have you been there? Maybe your highway had a bad relationship and you were more than ready to just leave. Or you started up in an education program and never finished, or you lost a job…the list of highway exits is very long.

My point is when you got back on your highway did you leave with direction or fear? This is what I call the Pothole syndrome. Yep, I am making a Syndrome out of this, maybe someday I will be known as the Pothole Syndrome lady. Hear me out though.

Every spring Minnesota is faced with nasty potholes. Year after year and always in the same areas with the added bonus of new ones that were never there before, but this year they hit us. The state spends time and money every year sending crews out to patch them up. A little more tar and we are good to go for another year, or are we? What happens next year? Same thing, the seasons come and go and we travel the same roads, and potholes abound.

Now this is different for a stretch of interstate in Minnesota that was completely torn up and put down last year. If you travel that stretch there are no potholes. Not one, it is smooth and enjoyable.

We all face the Pothole Syndrome in our lives. Do you just patch up those holes that keep happening over and over again, or do you tear those sections up and repave? If you had a bad relationship or lost a parent that you hadn’t made peace with, or feel stuck in a job, or lost a job, or are financially unstable, what do or have you done? Most of us just patch it up and hope it doesn’t come up again, but therein lies the Pothole Syndrome! It will come up again until we repave and fix it! Every year we bring out the tar and spend time and energy filling in the hole rather than fixing it.

I want to explore this more tomorrow, but I want to have each of us start thinking about what our potholes are? What issues, concerns, fears, or emotions come up over and over again that we just hope will go away, rather than repaving them? What is in your Pothole Syndrome?

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