At the start of a year it's as good a time as any to start to think about the big picture surrounding our life. To reflect on what it is that we want to achieve for the year ahead. The goals we set for ourselves. The hopes and dreams we have. They might be new and emerging, or they might be ones we have carried with us for a while - even for a very long time perhaps.
Thinking about what will steer us towards those goals will help us. The idea of a steering wheel of a boat is a useful metaphor because it helps remind us that you have to keep looking to the horizon, as well as looking at what is closer to the boat. We need to keep focused on the overall direction we are heading in while dealing with the more minuscule details closer to home.
The steering wheel gives us the opportunity to continually correct and re-correct our path. We won't get it perfectly right all the time. We can use the steering wheel gently to stay on track. We can use it also to make a complete change of direction, checking as we do so to make sure it's safe - and a good thing to do.
As we steer the boat we need to keep a check on things like time, weather and tides to ensure that we know what the conditions are like. There are some things we can't control, but need to learn to live with. We need to know what is going on around us. We can't just head out to sea without some knowledge and the capacity to gain more information if we need it. We need to know how to get that information, who and what can help us. It's difficult, perhaps impossible, to undertake a journey totally alone.
So we could say that there's a lot about life that is just like steering that boat. We need to be our own steering wheel, drawing on our existing knowledge, skills and experience to help keep ourselves on track. We need to accept our limitations and be ready to seek assistance. And all the time, reaching for the horizon while enjoying the here and now journey we are on, keeping ourselves safe while testing ourselves, making it as smooth as possible while finding ways of overcoming the challenges along the way.