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December 2, 2013

How We Know What We Want. (Before We Even Know We Want It.) ~ Sara Rodriguez

We’ve heard it all before.

Everything happens for a reason.
There are no coincidences.
Everything is a blessing in disguise.
We end up where we are meant to be.

Some would say that these lovely words are merely clichés, distastefully bleached of any meaning. But anyone who’s been around the block will insist that, contrary to such beliefs, they are brilliantly colorful and alive.

That’s because they are.

These words tell a story; they tell our stories. That’s why they’re dubbed clichés—they’re overused because they prove themselves time and time again, and so we keep pinning them to our own storyboards as we move on to the next scene.

In fact, it is to these phrases that we accredit transformative experiences in our lives. Because change often involves pain, we firmly grasp these comforting words to justify the ugliest parts of our journeys. We make ourselves believe that everything we’re going through is happening for a reason, that it will have been for something, that every moment of our pain will one day result in a blessing and that we will end up where we should be.

We accept these phrases as we wait for the future, and we wonder if it will ever come.

The notion that life happens the way it does because it is “supposed to be” that way triggers the skepticism in us all. Why would we want to believe that we are “supposed” to suffer? How are we “supposed” to endure pain under the premise that it’s just a “blessing in disguise?”

Well, the truth is that we don’t believe it. We don’t endure pain by pretending it’s a good thing. And that’s because we don’t hear the ringing truth of these clichés until after the fact—until we step into what was once the future—when we realize that we actually did believe things were happening because they were “supposed” to happen, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen it through. We could not yet identify that inner knowing, the prodding sensation that pushed us along.

We don’t know the weight of these phrases until we observe their miraculous unfolding. We can’t see them working in the thick of the process; they manifest themselves only in retrospect.

We don’t feel the brilliant colors surround us until those words are injected with life—with our lives.

They tell us what we want before we even know we want it, moving us through time and space in a way that creates repeated encounters with whatever will take us further.

We long for these lovely words in the context of the future, but we understand their truth in a state of reflection; they are the words with which we tell our stories, woven between periods of knowing and not knowing.

Because we know deep down what we truly want, we accept that everything does happen for a reason, that there are no coincidences, that everything is a blessing in disguise and that we do end up where we are meant to be.

We accept these words as they reveal themselves in reflections upon another time, but we can also learn to trust that they will take us where we want to go from where we are, as we are.

After all, they are what got us here.

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Assistant Editor: Judith Andersson/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Marlene Dietrich/Wiki Commons

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