Is Your Path to Happiness Blocked?

Path Blocked

A show I LOVED to watch in the 90’s was Daria. I re-watched it recently and was thinking about this exchange in the episode called “The Teachings of Don Jake.” (If you haven’t heard of Daria, or don’t remember this episode, that’s OK, it will make sense.)

Daria and her father Jake are hiking down a trail and it splits into two paths. One path is blocked with a sign reading “DANGER! TRAIL WASHED OUT.”

Jake – Look at that, Daria: a fork in the trail. If you go one way, you can’t go the other.

Daria – This is going to depress me, isn’t it?

Jake – This way over here leads to an entry-level job. A little bit of money in your pocket. Soon, you’re wearing a suit and tie every day like all the other faceless saps, living in a boring little house in a bland little town, and doing so well you’re in debt up to your disappearing hair! That’s where that trail leads, Daria.

Daria – I guess that other trail is the one that leads to personal and spiritual satisfaction. That’s why they don’t want you to take it.

Jake – Dammit, Daria! You’re brilliant!

(Jake climbs over sign and walks down closed trail)

Do you ever feel like Jake? Do you feel the path to being happy at work or at home was (or is) blocked off to you? And while you’re going down the main path with everyone else, do you wonder how you got there?

I remember looking around my cubicle after one particularly hard day at work and wondering how the heck I did I end up here? I was supposed to be in a job that made me happy, not one that paid the bills but left me with no energy at the end of the day and dreading every phone call.

Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, we can’t see the way out. We just see the next obstacle, the next bump or bolder in our path. This is especially when we need to stop and take a step back.

Here are four things you can do when you find yourself completely frustrated at work and need a bit of a boost:

  • Breath – sit up straight, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
  • Change the Scenery – Get up and walk around for five minutes or at least get a glass of water.
  • Remember – Why did you take this job? What did you like about it?
  • Review – What do you like about your job now? How can you do more of what you like and less of what you don’t? You might want to talk with your boss or supervisor about shifting some of your work (you’ll be more productive working on the things you like).

What do you do when you find yourself in the thick of it and stuck?

Photo credit: Mudslide blocks Burke-Gilman Trail by ebis50 via flickr

9 thoughts on “Is Your Path to Happiness Blocked?

  1. I love that story ~ I’m such a Jake!!

    I saw a bumper sticker once that said,
    “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”
    and I thought it depressingly sad.

    I wish I’d been able to give the driver your number!

    In my mentoring of women who want to move from retail to their own businesses,
    I talk of many of the same things you discuss here.

    There are always hard days when you’re not doing what you love.
    It’s how you deal with those days that will determine how long you’ll stay there.

    the goddess known as Jacqui

  2. Or the trail really is washed out, the water is flowing over it at tremendous force and going through it is certain death.

    No, I am not a pessimist. I am a realist.

    It’s a good metaphor; but not a good idea to teach silly kids or adolescents, who could wind up drowned.

    1. Turning around if it’s not the right path for you is always an option, or make a new trail that’s a bit safer. It is a metaphor though. I don’t advocate hiking down closed trails in a literal sense 🙂

      And I do know some teens who might take the message literally and then look at me and say “but you said…” Although most of them would do it just to be difficult – teens have more sense than adults give them credit for. The ones I know are figuring out what their values are (whether they’re the same as their parents) and think about some of this kind of stuff a lot more than some adults.

  3. This is a great metaphor and it happens to so many – we take the easiest path or the one that we think is the quickest. Or we can’t see how we can manage the difficult path. But sometimes we also need the easier paths in order to prepare us for the more difficult ones to come. Great post and beautifully written! ~ Suerae

  4. Simple and yet powerful. I can’t tell you how many times breathing has help me from depression because they are too many. Is the easiest thing; maybe that’s why people don’t trust it that much. Great post Evie. Thanks for this.

  5. Daria was great! You *are* speaking about the cartoon, right?

    I always like the hidden messages and pearls of wisdom dressed up in geeky references, caustic glibness, and random fun. It was masterful storytelling, though my old brain does not remember it as vividly as it should! ;o)

    I feel that we often create our own obstacles more than anything.. But this metaphor here really resonates with me. I have fond memories of old Robert Frost poems and such. What is the name of the one poem I’m sure he is most known for?

    The Road Less Taken?

    That’s sustenance for the soul right there… Take the path few travel upon, even if it seems a tad bit scary. Conformity and complacency can make us feel too comfortable where we are heading.. But I feel that the other road opens up often for us, yet we look the other way…

  6. Hi Evie,

    Super tips here.

    I like sitting still and watching all the silly blocks that I create. The perceiver creates the experience. We see blocks or open doors. We see a dangerous situation or an exciting adventure.

    Another fun way to dissolve happiness blocks: smiling. I smile. A lot 🙂 Smiling with intense enthusiasm creates happiness in me and those around me, and all blocks dissolve.

    Thanks for sharing your insight with us!


  7. There is no one path to achieve any goal so do not believe that when one path your journey will come to an end. Two more will open in front of you if you have the persistence and belief.

  8. Brilliant Evie!

    What’s beautiful about this message is that you can appreciate both paths and know which one serves you MORE because you can tell you’ve walked and have experienced both paths at one time or another.

    One of my goals is to expand people’s thought process…to help them see what they don’t know they don’t know.

    Your tips are simple and quick to perform and the best part is that you can experience peace even if it’s only for a few minutes.

    The more you practice them the more meaningful are those peaceful moments and the more likely it is to remove those happiness blocks.

    Love these practical types of tips!
    Thanks for sharing,

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