“I live this way a lot, squinting around the bend, anticipating what I’m about to get. Don’t we keep expecting to get something? In particular, to get it? To figure it out? To reach a culminating resolution, reward, complete understanding, wisdom, clarity, closure, the right answer, the holy grail? That very expectation fills us up and weighs us down.”
~Karen Maezen Miller
As I reflect on the unrelenting urge that we should all pronounce a New Year’s resolution, I am dismayed.
It’s as if the entire world has proclaimed us all as insufficient as soon as the ball drops at midnight.
I don’t like the pressure of having to change to be better.
These goals – like losing ten pounds, signing up for a clothing subscription, eating more vegetarian meals, etc. – all begin with a chase.
These are all good things in themselves.
But it is the way we go about getting them which concerns me.
It’s like there’s a projection on the wall in front of us we must catch to feel good again after all the failings and insufficiencies we may have experienced in the past year.
We think we will have it all figured out once we get there, like life will begin once we’re there, that maybe we will be a better person than before.
It’s true – it is important to endeavor to be more. But can’t we get there from a different starting place?
What I’m trying to say is this course of action has us beginning in a place of not good enough. And that’s simply too heavy a weight for me to bear any longer.
Let’s resolve to not start our “new” life from a place of lack.
This thinking distracts me from today. It keeps my head in the clouds instead of on the ground.
It diverts our attention from what is good, solid, and true today. It keeps us in a perpetual state of wanting.
Perhaps because I am simply acting out of a place full of goodness and light and love, there will be a natural ease about my life. Maybe I can have faith in that.
What you’ll see is that your mind is always telling you that you have to change something outside in order to solve your inner problems. But if you are wise, you won’t play this game. You’ll realize that the advice your mind is giving you is psychologically damaged advice. Of all the advice in the world that you do not want to listen to, it is the advice of a disturbed mind. Your mind actually misleads you. Suppose it tells you, “If I could just get that promotion, then I’d be fine. I’d feel good about myself, and I could get my life together.” Have you ever found that to be true? After you get your promotion, does that end all your insecurities and leave you financially satisfied for the rest of your life? Of course not. All that happens is the next problem comes to the surface. Once you see this, you realize the mind has a serious underlying problem. And what it’s doing is making up external situations that might make things more comfortable. But the external situations are not the cause of the inner problem….The fact is, however, external changes are not going to solve your problem because they don’t address the root of the problem. The root of your problem is that you don’t feel whole and complete within yourself. ~Michael A. Singer
Maybe there is something supremely substantial in something so uncomplicated.
Maybe I need to just stop pushing myself around the next bend and just keep my head in the present.
Instead of working from a place of wanting more, maybe I just need to remember how good I already am, how much I already possess, how full my heart already is.
I need my heart and my head working together to recall I am already satisfied instead of “I am empty, fill me.”
My mind reminds me of this hunger constantly and in many different ways: I am bored, fill me. I am eager for adventure, fill me. I am tired, fill me. I am not a good writer, fill me. I don’t have the answer, fill me. I am not happy, fill me. I am not a strong person, fill me.
I want this wanting to cease. I want the chatter to settle. I want the constant searching for more to come to an end.
I want to replace those yearnings for more with appreciation for less.
I want to learn contentment. Maybe it’s through the appreciation of the now that we learn to live with grace.
I don’t want to set more goals for the future, I want to be at peace today.
I want to squelch the cravings for more – more coffee, more doughnuts, more clothes, more money, more time, more ease – and just focus on being full.
I want to grow in satisfaction. If I keep tasting it, if I remind myself of what I already have, that will be enough incentive to keep seeking it instead of lack.
This year I don’t need anything new – no new goals, no new diets, no new work out plans, no new clothes. I just need to remember the goodness, solidity, and the fullness of my self!
These things are always there. These are the things I should no longer overlook because I am too busy looking beyond.
I don’t want to continue to being content thinking about what I lack, my mind happy to focus on what’s wrong, where there’s no resolution, always wanting more and giving my attention to that each day.
I want to choose contentment and simply feel the peace I know I deserve (like every single one of us deserves).
I choose to be content with what I have, who I am, what I look like, the food in my pantry, and the clothes in my closet.
If I focus on the shortage, scarcity, shortfall, I fail to be that person. I beat myself up. I say I will start again next week, next year, next time.
I lose more ground with all this mental fumbling around. Not only do I set myself back, it seems like I the finish line is pushed further away. The divide between what is true and what I’d like to be true is widened.
This gap will no longer engulf me.
The lightness of being in the present feels good to me. If I look for more, I will be constantly dissatisfied. I will be heavy with the weight of expectation.
So here’s to the fullness, abundance, depth I already possess. Here’s to not wearily looking forward around this new year’s bend, but slowing down and being enchanted with the now.
What we pay attention to thrives.
I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass…
There is that in me — I do not know what it is
— but I know it is in me.
Wrench’d and sweaty — calm and cool then my body becomes,
I sleep — I sleep long.
I do not know it — it is without name — it is a word unsaid,
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.
Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on,
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me.
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines!
I plead for my brothers and sisters.
Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death — it is form, union, plan
— it is eternal
life — it is Happiness.