Down narrow two-lane highways – of budding trees or falling leaves … of lush green pathways or winter white byways – a long-valued pastime eventually came to a dead-end. I only remember one experience with this tradition, although I’m sure I experienced them more than once. This custom was commonly referred to as … going out for a Sunday drive. It’s an experience, in today’s world, that very well might seem a bit odd. Yet, in years gone by, going out for a “Sunday drive” was a family highlight of the week.
The tradition likely found its birth because cars were new, and distractions were few. Even for city dwellers, you likely didn’t have to go very far to be out in the country amongst nature. Regardless of the season, there was always something new to see … even if it was along the comfort of a repetitive route.
In some ways it was simple. In other ways sacred.
It was a time when “self-help” wasn’t found throughout the pages of a book, but rather amongst natural scenes waiting to heal you. No doubt, Sunday drives were a multifaceted activity offering numerous psychological, social, and physical benefits, which are perhaps part of the reason why they were so popular for many years.
Today, most would consider it a complete waste of time. And even for those who would think otherwise, they might ask – but who in the world has the time? Sunday drives were both a metaphorical and realistic experience of a popular mantra:
It is not about the destination. It is about the journey.
Yet, understandably, there have been somewhat competing mantras such as: Begin with the End in Mind. Most any visioning expert would understand and embrace the efficiency of such advice. It’s not that these competing mantras can’t paradoxically be true simultaneously … yet, more likely than not, one can easily get lost considering the other.
In some ways, both mantras assume there is a destination – an end. But what if any focus on the need for an outcome was the very thing that can get in the way. What if the outcome, by definition — even when it is fully believed that it’s really about the journey – limits or derails the experience of the journey. The creativity, the surprise, the disappointments, those teachable moments that redirect the entire direction of an exploration or perhaps the personal transformation most needed from the very beginning.
The ego longs for an outcome. Control, metrics, performance, assessment, judgment, and much more of the like, can all be in-play when there is an outcome placed at stake. How in the world would you know your journey has been worth it if you can’t measure it?
Yet, how do you measure a Sunday Drive?
You don’t. You experience it. If you allow yourself, you become more present because of the uncertainty, the unknown … the mystery. You pay more attention, perhaps developing a deeper sense of beauty, fall into a mindset of more openness, and more easily embrace unexpected moments along the way. These aren’t measured — they simply become known because they have been felt.
In my work on integrity and core values, I find that one of the greatest obstacles for one intentionally trying to dig to their core is the very desire to get to the outcome. This is a desire that is totally understandable. While it seems counter-intuitive, the only way to discover your core is by dropping the desire to get there. And by trusting the experience along the way – no matter where the journey takes you.
Imagine that contradictory nature of going on a Sunday Drive using a GPS. Maybe, in part, we could blame the GPS itself initiating the final demise of any experience like the Sunday Drive. I don’t know about you, but I have often said that I think the GPS is one of the greatest inventions in the world because of all the places it can efficiently take me.
Yet, where does it keep me from going?
Most people who start the journey to their own core, want to take a GPS along for the journey. And for those who think they have metaphorically found one, they usually get frustrated in the need of their “GPS” to keep recalculating.
Digging to your core is much like a Sunday Drive. You do it for a while and stop. A week or two later you begin again – sometimes on a familiar route or perhaps on a totally unexpected new adventure. Yet, drive after drive after drive, the cumulative journey begins to have its way with you as long as you keep showing up and moving along with a growing sense of awareness. In so many ways … each drive prepares you for the next.
A tradition left in the past long ago, perhaps reaches deeply into the future when you consider how attachment to outcomes could restrain possibility or blind one to an essence of integrity in a world of artificial intelligence.
Now you may be wondering where I’m going with all of this. Nowhere. By design, there is no outcome to experience here. Maybe, more than an outcome, perhaps there is an unexpected invitation to begin to consider how many situations in life have allowed the desire for an outcome to rob us of the entire opportunity that our experience was trying to offer.
It could be that the time for a Sunday Drive is long overdue for a lot of us. Grab your keys while leaving your GPS behind. It’s time to take a ride.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights … or perhaps a memory of Sunday Drives. Please share below!