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This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately…
Many of us live in a privileged enough environment to have many opportunities, experiences, and resources at our disposal. Yet, the thing that bombards us the moment we step out into the world is, “Not having enough. Not being there, yet. If only this, then that would happen. One day I will…”
We could talk about this from many perspectives, but I am going to speak to what I know. And what I know is the world of the relationships: Human to human relationships and human to animal relationships.
How many times in our waking life do we wish for something to be other than what it is? How many of us live in a world outside of true contentment?
I’ll tell you something – about a year ago, I went on a personal mission to remedy this state of mind. I diligently practiced gratitude. Being thankful for what I have, being content with my life. And by diligently, I mean I was a walking meditator.
So I honed my skill to the point of what I truly felt was utter peace. It sounds funny now, but it was no exaggeration that I felt blissful. I had never been so happy and content in my entire life.
But you know what?
It was damn uncomfortable as well. I almost felt guilty, like everyone was so worried about having “more” or something different – so fixated on this notion – and here I was happy with what I had, content with my enoughness. This enougness state of mind that I worked so hard to achieve conflicted with societal norms.
So what was I feeling? It almost felt like loneliness. It shed a lot of light for me in many domains.
Somewhere over the course of the next year I would travel out of my blissful state, and I argued to myself that this was for the sake of “being human” and relating to other people.
Now, let me stop and just say: I am all about goals. One look at my day planner and you would possibly worry that maybe I am a bit too concerned with goals. And maybe I am. So that’s the question I pose now:
When it is the norm to worry about what’s ahead and how it should look, are we ever really arriving? Are we ever really present to the less-than-shiny today? Are we ever really content?
When I write anything, I typically use pen and paper before I ever bring it to the computer. What can I say? I’m a sucker for beautiful stationary and inky pens.
Even as I write this, I have a small pang of discomfort and resistance as I (moments ago) transitioned from writing in cursive to print – as if it was going to matter later on, like someone would be seeing my thoughts on paper and think, “This looks sloppy. Couldn’t she make up her mind on whether to write the entire entry in cursive or print?”
I know, it’s that bad.
Sometimes I relate to this as “perfectionism.” Other times I call it “quality work.” Whatever name it goes by, it takes up a lot of mental energy.
There have been many times I stop myself from enjoying an experience, simply because I am worried about my own expectations of the experience: in other words, what it should be.
Does that make sense?
I see many dear clients struggle with this also. It’s very difficult to meet yourself or your animal where they are at, instead of where you want to be or where you want them to be. This can sometimes create a response of, “Well if I’m not aware of where I want them to be, how would they ever get there? How would I get there? We can’t be sitting on the beach singing Kumbayah hoping they will magically remedy the problem.”
And that’s not what I am arguing for either.
What I want to get curious about is what triggers this in us? Each person will be different, I’m sure. To be honest, the trip from meditative, post-yoga mind to worry and anxiety (and what I lovingly call “discipline”) can happen for me in a matter of seconds nowadays.
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