Get free, stay free

The new year ignites a flurry of hopes, dreams, inspirations and aspirations. We vow to be better, whole and healed by this time next year. Many will achieve significant goals. Others will never embark on the journey to resolution. Most will stumble and stop someplace between their starting point and the goal.

By definition, a destination is the place to which someone or something is going or being sent. It is absolute and occurs at a specific point on a linear timeline. Lose weight, meet the love of your life and live happily ever after. Get a degree and avoid unemployment or underemployment. Start a new career and enjoy workplace satisfaction and a fully-funded retirement. Reach your destination and be free. It's simple. Right?

In the critically acclaimed film, Selma, it took years of work, many lives and thousands of people working together to move the needle of social justice a tiny bit. Before the successful trek from Birmingham to the Alabama state Capital, there were several smaller steps and sacrifices that could be interpreted as individual failures. The march led to an initial leap of progress followed by generations of desensitization to, and an eventual erosion of voting rights for all Americans (e.g., the disproportionately high rate of incarceration for Blacks who, consequently, lose their right to vote). What happened?

Freedom, liberation and any change we crave on a soul level are lifelong journeys, not destinations. It only takes the choice of one person to stop smoking. Yet, smokers go back and forth again and again and again. They swim toward the finish line of a smoke-free life, and somehow get caught in riptides that lead back to smoking. The same is true for losing weight. Folks struggle toward higher education, reeducation and greater achievements. Shifts occur and they are suddenly unemployed, underemployed, or unsatisfied.

Change is constant and requires constant maintenance and upkeep. As you set goals for 2015, aim high. Look beyond the material manifestation of what you wish to create and live in anticipation of how to sustain your new life. Do the work inside and out; enjoy your accomplishments. The longer you remain at a certain level, the more you may wish to stretch and grow beyond present circumstances. Do not be discouraged; this is the human condition. Freedom, liberation and change are not destinations, they are part of an unending journey. Commit to the process and sustainability of the life changes you desire. Keep them alive and relevant by working on them monthly, weekly, daily or hourly if necessary.

Happy New Year!