It may be when we no longer know what we have to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. – Wendell Berry
A psychology professor walked around on a stage teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple of pounds.
She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”
Letting go of our burdens can feel overwhelming at times. The fact is, we get used to carrying this heavy weight around and on some level, there is comfort in this identity. When we release this heaviness, we begin to see the path that will begin our real journey. That will open the doors to our real work in this world, and help us discover our deep passion for life.