As I was attempting to meditate this morning, sitting on my bed and facing out toward the open windows, I composed a smile on my face - giving myself an imaginary pat on the shoulder for finally taking the time to sit in silence for ten minutes. A whole ten minutes after months of repeating to myself that I finally just need to do it!
And there I was, after much anticipation, sitting up straight and smiling in all of my glory, thinking about how I forgot to wish someone a happy birthday on Facebook and how I needed to respond to two emails by the end of the day. What a state of peaceful serenity I was in.
The “Ripples” ringtone that I use on my phone to tranquilly close my ten to twenty minute meditation sessions went off and I opened my eyes to begin journaling about all of the insightful discoveries I had unraveled. I determined within that time frame that my To-Do list for the day was a tad longer than I had expected – that including wishing an old classmate from college that I haven’t seen in seven years a best of luck on Facebook. I had also resolved that the word balance was caroming around my brain, clearing out space and setting up shop; making more legroom for itself.
Balance...Balance…Balance. I could use more of that.
I realized as I began journaling (while taking breaks to respond to texts and double-checking the remaining time for my clothes in the dryer), that lately I am never firmly planted right where I am. I am constantly thinking about what needs to be done before I have even began the task at hand and I’m always worrying about what I should be doing rather than happily living out what I am already doing. I am never here, always there; I am ever running amuck, never standing still.
I mean, come on, a measly ten minutes of quietude was hard for me to do! Can you imagine if I were to read a transcript of all my thoughts for the day, how scattered and dispersed they would be? If my brain were a photo it would probably look like the after effects of a category three hurricane. All different types of thoughts thrown about and burst into pieces; some laying here, a few gone and never coming back, others caught tangled in a tree. And all of this, on a good day.
How often do we go about our day not focusing on what is truly the task at hand? How often can we live our lives worrying about all that is not yet present, while we ourselves are not remaining present? I look back at most of this year so far and see a girl who has set goals for herself and yes, has completed three of the seven things she had set out to do, but who spent the majority of that time judging herself for not being exactly where she wants to be.
Part of that problem is never giving my full, undivided attention and discipline to one, single thing. Who else can say that for themselves this year or any other year before this one? Who else can relate to already being home from work, comfortably sitting on the couch, before even heading out the door for work in the morning? Who else is doing what they’re doing to get by, yet beating themselves up for doing the best they can with what they’ve got?
Whether it’s our fast moving world and its ever-increasing technology, enabling us to connect with multiple people and platforms at once, or our predestined human nature to constantly over analyze and judge ourselves, we have certainly driven ourselves mad with over complicating the simple. The simple being that our only real responsibility in this life is to find what makes us happy and to reach for that bliss like a moth attracted to the light; ever persistently drawing nearer to touch the surface of our innermost dwellings of passion.
So what really gets in the way of our happiness then? You’d think that it would be fairly easy to live our lives in devotion to uncovering all that inspires us, even if that inspiration doesn’t bring about a specific reward or circumstance. But instead, we tend to go about our days allowing ourselves to be distracted by things – mere things that are always jumping out at us to grab our attention – which we usually give into without even knowing we are straying off path. All of these detours end up amounting to the sum of time we look back on at year’s end and ask ourselves: Where did all of the time go?
We give into these distractions because it’s easier to avoid doing what we know we want and need to be doing, than doing the actual work to get to where we want to be.
Write the first chapter of my novel or go out to dinner?
Food and wine instead!
Wake up early and work out or sleep an extra hour and arrive late to work?
Yes, more sleep!
Begin thinking positively about my life or kick myself for not getting the promotion I wanted?
Of course, yell at myself for being so lazy!
The more unfavorable of routes is typically the road we decide to take because it seems less painless than to alter the way we have always done things. (Side note: Although this road is undoubtedly easiest and will continue to serve you by bringing to your attention all that you want to change, it is definitely not the most rewarding or the more fun.)
As last year drew to a close, I looked at the list of goals I made for myself last January, when I was undeniably a bit more scared and a great deal more naïve, and I see that although I was my own harshest critic, that I was changing in the everyday normality of it all. Yes, even with the bouncing distractions and perpetual side commentary by my ego, I still managed to change from day to day, to be a bit more wise and a great deal less afraid.
It was only two months ago that I realized what would make me the happiest is to quit talking about what I want and to begin working on what I want. To stop complaining about what I don’t have and to actually start making those things that I am lacking become evident in my life.
The beauty in all of this, in all of the bouncing distractions and days spent criticizing myself, is that it is all completely, enticingly and magnificently perfect. The whole process is – because that is what this is really all about. To reach a point in our lives where what has always served us comfortably and regularly is no longer appetizing to us.
We become grateful for that time in our lives though, because without it, we wouldn’t come to the beautiful realization that now is the time we need to grow. And what better time to change than the present moment?