Where Are We Going?

by Belinda Munoz on March 11, 2010

Morro Bay

Where are we going?

This is an appropriate question for a first date, a company re-organization or heck, when suddenly the paved road ends.

When we have an exact route planned out, we hope for the absence of roadblocks.  Or else, we best have an alternate route in the back pocket.

If we rely on our intuitive sense getting there, we likely won’t be fazed by any obstructions.  We trust that we’ll find a way around it.

Often, we avoid going full steam ahead in the wrong direction.  Yet sometimes, we do anyway.  With a little luck, we stumble on something special.


Where are we going?

Some of us fear the answer.

Others aren’t the least bit concerned.

Same thing with death?


Where are we going?

If unasked, it could be anywhere.

If unanswered, we eventually get there, or somewhere at least.

If ignored, it could be an adventure.

Same thing with life?


Where are we going?

An inquisitive three-footer asks me this about a dozen times daily.  When I pick him up, when I take his tiny hand to go for a walk, when we pretend to drive on a bumpy road.

If I’m feeling matter-of-fact, I respond.

If I’m feeling playful, I tell him to guess and let his imagination lead us.  His eyes twinkle as he searches for words, naming places we’ve been, destinations we have yet to visit and silly things we’ll do when we get there.  Sometimes, our words turn into fits of giggles.  Often, the question fades in the background, long enough to be answered upon arrival.

Getting lost in the moment from here to there, bits of bliss not to be missed.


Do you ask and/or answer this question? Do you wish it would go away? Does it guide you?  Does it get in the way? Is  there another question you’d much rather ask or answer?


Wise Words:

How We Shape Our World by Robin from Naked in Eden

Having Drive and Being Driven by Lindsay from A Design So Vast


Image by tibchris

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tony Single March 11, 2010 at 4:10 am

I ask this question all the time, and I still have no answer. I don’t even know how this sentence is going to end. Oh. Well, there you go. You’d think I’d learn. 😛

You may remember the tumbleweed analogy from my previous comment. I’m afraid that’s pretty much how I see myself. Ultimately, I still have no clue as to what I want to do or be… or as to what I could even be that would be of any consequence to me. Sure, I do what I need to do to be able to eat and drink and have a roof over my head, but I play as often as I can so that the mind numbing boredom of responsible adult life doesn’t kill me and make the whole point moot.

But where is all of this leading me? I’ve no idea. I can’t possibly conceive where I’ll be in a week’s time let alone a couple of years. I hope not to die alone in a gutter somewhere, but rather with loved ones by my side (whoever they may turn out to be). And I sure hope God isn’t lying to me when he says things get really good beyond death’s foreboding door.

Granted, it’s not an entirely comfortable outlook to face life with, but then life ain’t comfortable (which totally gets my goat at times). I’m listening to Alela Diane’s Lady Divine at the moment. There’s a bit of soulful whistling that ends the song so sweetly. I think that’s what I’d like to do in response to the question that sits atop your post.

What was the question again?


2 nothingprofound March 11, 2010 at 5:23 am

Yes, I know where I’m going, I know where we’re all going. So I’m going to enjoy the ride.


3 Justin Dixon March 11, 2010 at 6:54 am

Actually I would feel a bit pressured if a girl asked me that on a first date. I stopped guessing the future a while back. I have no idea where life or death are going to end up. Instead I choose actions that I think will lead a certain way, and enjoy the ride.


4 Eva March 11, 2010 at 7:36 am

Another important, thought-provoking question, Belinda. I’ve been thinking about this concept lately. I like the idea of heading in a general direction but not having things too planned. Does that make sense? If you’ve planned all the details already, there is no room for exciting, unexpected adventures. (All speaking metaphorically about life here.) We need to allow for detours sometimes.


5 Fr. Michael March 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

Great question Belinda. Almost everyday, in the quiet, I ask similar questions: “What are You asking of me? Where do You want me to go?” Of course, these are questions that I ask of God. The funny thing is, in the silence, if I “listen” to the good desires of my heart, I usually can know what I need to do and where I need to go. So, my answer to your question is that although I don’t always see where I am going–or more appropriately, where I’m BEING LED–, I seek to know more deeply each day. I believe ultimately we’re all meant to be in Heaven.
I hope this makes sense…
Thanks for making us think about the deeper things in life…


6 Rudri March 11, 2010 at 8:54 am

Nice post. I often ask myself that question, numerous times, but I have to remind myself it is the journey that is the important thing. For me, I focus so much on the worrying of where I am going that I lose sight of the happiness I am feeling at the current moment. I try to be genuine to the NOW.


7 Wilma Ham March 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I have changed the question in who am I be-ing during the going.
That takes a lot of heat out of the question and who I am be-ing is something I can take ownership of when I enter unknown territory.
Love Wilma


8 Patty - Why Not Start Now? March 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm

What a big question, Belinda! Love it. It’s the question every seeker asks. And when I’m on weekend jaunt or a road trip, I’ve always loved nothing better than the adventure of not knowing, getting a little lost, discovering some crooked little back road. I’ve had to learn to do this with my inner life, though, and allow myself to be lost. Because in the road trip of life, sometimes we don’t have an answer to where we’re going. My experience is most people don’t much like this (which is probably good for me because otherwise I would have no clients!). But so often that question uncovers another big one: Who am I? Today I had the coolest conversation with a guy named Joe (the Quilter) Cunningham at the de Young museum; he made a quilt called “The Way Home” that was a mass of squiggly lines, or roads, you might say. It reminded me again that the road to where we’re going is one heck of a trip!


9 Belinda Munoz March 12, 2010 at 12:25 am

@Tony, hey, I like that Lady Divine song. That whistling is the perfect outro. Why don’t we end songs with whistling more often? It’s so light and sweet. Of course, I’d have to learn to whistle first….Huh, what question? : ) Keep all of that good stuff you got comin’. Thanks.

@nothingprofound, me, too. I’m avoiding roller coasters until the wee one reaches minimum height requirements so for now, we’re intimate with train rides. Thanks.

@Justin, yeah, I may or may not have asked that dreaded question on my last first date : ) Thx.

@Eva, your comment reminds me of something I’m embarrassed to admit. I’ve been known to create a daily plan (and I mean detailed) for my vacations which I later realized completely missed the point of a vacation. At least for me. Now, I welcome detours and random pit stops. Thanks.

@Fr. Michael, I’m learning to trust more and more the good things that come to me in silence. Different from acquiescence, or course. Thank you.

@Rudri, you bring up a buzz word for me: worry. Its pull is a tricky one to counter. What I’ve noticed is that when I become conscious that I’m worrying, acknowledging it helps me relax. Gracias.

@Wilma, wise words. You said that so perfectly. Thanks.

@Patty, I definitely have more questions than answers. And I agree that the getting lost part is so cool when we discover a crooked little backroad that has a story waiting to be told. Oh, and if you ever want to meet for coffee (well, tea for me since I’ve given up coffee) at de Young or somewhere in the city, let me know! Merci.


10 Nicki March 12, 2010 at 5:14 am

Thanks for a thought provoking post, Belinda. I love to plan so constantly think I know where I am going – only to find I end up somewhere else.


11 BK March 12, 2010 at 6:11 am

Where are we going? In the answer there will be certainty and direction that put a person’s mind at ease. Thus the question. Most people seek to establish a sense of certainty. Unknown always brings with it uneasiness and this is something not everyone welcome. Yet I find excitement in the unknown and the opportunity for us to grow.

I took an almost 2 hours walk last week. Although I knew where I was heading to, I did not know how long the route was and thus the uncertainty of how long I would take to reach the destination. There was the determination to get through and also the excitement of what the route would bring me to. Along the way, I had taken path which I had never taken and saw what I had never seen. Although tiring, it was also an exciting walk.


12 Phil - Less Ordinary Living March 12, 2010 at 7:30 am

Belinda –

Ironic that I spent a lot of this week asking myself this question. I found myself able to step away from any emotion about life and ask some simple questions – how is this working from a happiness standpoint, how does this serve my values, how is this feeding my passions, how am I getting the input and stimulus I need from others. It was so powerful and has given me a new lease of energy and direction. Great questions and great post!



13 BigLittleWolf March 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I love this post, the way you invite us in, free form, as you do so often.

I don’t worry so much about “where I’m going” any longer. Too much life that is so far off the course I ever imagined. In a way, I see the sorrow in that. In another vein, I see its beauty, its freedom, its inevitability. When we remove our prescribed paths – we can go anywhere, even if we physically don’t ever change location.

And knowing where you’re going (or not) doesn’t preclude going after your dreams. It’s no longer linear, or fastened to the same dependencies – or any known dependencies.

I like having many possible directions, and a sense of fluidity, of spiraling forward rather than advancing purely from A to B, or circling in a perpetually two-dimensional dance.


14 Sara March 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Belinda — I’m putting this on my list as one of the greatest quotes:

“Getting lost in the moment from here to there, bits of bliss not to be missed.”

This is a poetry post. I loved how you tossed in the surprise questions of “Same thing with death? and Same thing with life?”

I have become much more comfortable not knowing exactly where I’m going. I guess this is due, in part, to the fact that I’m getting older and absolutely love the idea of an adventure:~)


15 Lauren March 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Hopefully I’m going towards more joy-filled and fun experiences. And to me that means being willing to “go with the flow”. Being willing to move with the ebb and flow of life as well and cultivate compassion.

I think about this in terms of goal-setting. While I realize the power of envisioning, I’m not big on setting goals and striving to achieve them. I’d rather relax into the well-being.

Yet, I love bursts of impassioned creativity and enjoy while the iron’s hot!

Once I traveled solo through Europe without one room reservation. A month solo in Tahitian Islands with only 2 reservations. I love adventure and not having everything planned.

Still, I can be very tenacious and have banged my head against the wall (figuratively, mind you!) trying to make something happen a certain way. I now think that is hilarious – not to imply I might not do it again! The universe always seems to orchestrate in a more powerful way than I could ever negotiate with just my mind alone and that translates as trusting the universe and in the well-being.

I’ve always been more ruled by my heart and I guess that makes where I’m going less predictable.

I have a neighbor who told me when he was younger he got out a map of the US and would close his eyes and put a pin somewhere. He would then go to that community, get a job, and stay 6 weeks. He did this with different places for 2 years. I LOVE IT!

I love the story about you and your son. A child’s curiosity, joy, trust, and adventurous fun, is a wonder to behold and participate in! I love hanging out with children for that reason.

Great post once again!


16 Belinda Munoz March 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

@Nicki, oh, me, too. Some things in life can be planned but I’m learning that good livin’ and planning don’t always mix so well. As John Lennon says in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Thanks!

@BK, I love those meandering walks. They engage all our senses and the health benefits are a great bonus. As for certainly, I admit to wanting and needing some degree of it to feel secure but I also tend to think it’s somewhat overrated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

@Phil, good for you for not only not self-combusting but also for gaining positive energy and direction. You bring up a key point and that is to distill the questions down to the basics. Tose are great questions you asked and I would even say we should ask them of ourselves on a regular basis. Thanks for your insights.

@BigLittleWolf, beautifully written! I love the idea of spiraling forward as opposed to progressing in a straight line or being stuck in an unending 2D dance (I like the dance part). Thank you for sharing your reflections and for your awesome blog!

@Sara, thank you! Certain truths sometimes write themselves. It’s liberating not thinking about a destination. I think of it as an antidote to burnout and the excitement of where we’ll end up is a plus.

@Lauren, I’m loving all your comments lately! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences and just general awesomeness. I can relate to what you said about banging your head against the wall. I’ve been guilty of this on occasion but it’s so unhealthy and thankfully, not my preferred way of executing anything. This is such a powerful statement that resonates with me: “The universe always seems to orchestrate in a more powerful way than I could ever negotiate with just my mind alone and that translates as trusting the universe and in the well-being.” And I love the story about your neighbor.


17 Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities March 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm

It’s odd. I ask this question all the time. I hear it. It echoes. Sometimes this question and its concomitant uncertainty makes me feel free and alive. Sometimes this question makes me panic. That I don’t know. That I have no ultimate compass.

Wonderful, searching post.


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