Formation has often been compared to a journey, the only distinction being that it is a life-long one. There is no doubt that this is an apt image to describe the process of formation. In this section, I would like to frame my reflections using this image. In order to derive maximum meaning from this approach it is important that we first try and break open the meaning of such an understanding of formation through the use of our imagination.
Formation, like all journeys has a beginning and an end – and all that lies in between. From a chronological standpoint, journeys commence at the beginning. Realistically, they can also be seen as beginning at the end. The choices we make in regard to our lifelong destination are primarily influenced by the reason we want to make the journey. If we are thinking of taking a vacation, our choice of destination is most usually swayed by our own passions and interests. If we are planning a business trip, our destination is where we can carry out the business we intend.
Then there is another kind of journey – different from the previous two – a journey home; a journey to meet with people whom we love and who love us; people with whom we have a caring relationship. These journeys are unique, because in a way they can be described as circular journeys. We leave home in our desires and in our imagination only to return to our reality and then to leave and live out our hopes!
Having an intention for a planned destination is the first and most important step on a journey. Next comes the preparation for the new beginning: “How am I going to get where I want to go?” Our budget, the means and resources we have to get there, the time we have available, our companions on the journey, our previous experiences and the accessibility and the reality of reaching our goal are some factors that influence the initial stage of our journey.
Then there is the journey itself that can be influenced by numerous factors. Are we traveling light or with baggage that hinders our journey? How motivated are we to reach our destination and to face the challenges that our journey brings? Are we open to our fellow travelers by allowing them to enter into our lives and how do we support them in their journey? Are we aware that our journey may have multiple legs and that the end of one leg, however long and tiring is not necessarily the end of our journey? Are we amenable to checking if we are on the right path? If not, are we open to seeking guidance from others or consult guides or maps if we are lost