This is my despair: “What if I never get my sh*t together?”
And this is my peace: “I am ok, I will always be ok. Whatever I need will be provided. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.”
My challenge? Leaning towards peace and not falling into despair.
It’s not always easy.
I am not immune to the social conditioning that leads us to believe we need to get our sh*t together—meaning we realize our ego desires and “achieve” certain goals, reach certain milestones—in order to consider our lives meaningful or worthwhile.
I have gotten over the whole “what is my life purpose?” business—by deciding that I determine my own purpose day to day. I believe we give our lives their own meaning by placing value on everything we do that serves others in any way, large or small.
But the lack of any seeming direction does still, occasionally, pull me away from peace.
And yet, at the same time as I’m lamenting its lack, I’m asking myself—what does it even mean? And if I knew what it meant, what would it give me?
And what I keep coming back to is: expectations—my own and others. Which, again, stems from our social conditioning—a forward-moving life looks a certain way. It moves towards something.
But, try as I might, I can’t seem to move in a straight line. I decide I’d like something and venture out towards it. But invariably, as I get closer and can see it more clearly, I become disillusioned with what I thought I wanted.
And I take a step back.
And then I feel like I’m failing, because I’m moving “backward” instead of “forward.”
Some days though, I’m centered enough to know that it’s okay. Because life is a dance, which means we step forward and backward and even go around in circles—but it all contributes to our experience.
And any dance worth dancing should really be more about the experience than the performance.
And I think, on the days when I start clutching for “direction,” I’m focusing more on the performance—on how others may judge the path (or lack of path) that I tread in the world. Rather than focusing on what each step—no matter what direction it’s in—has to offer me.
On my clearer days, I realize that “direction” would symbolize some kind of stability for me, in what I know to be an unstable world. It’s chasing a mirage really, because even if I had a clear direction, the circumstances of my life could be unpredictably changed—by forces outside of my control—at any time.
Ooh, what would I do then, if I was attached to my where I thought I was going?
I still don’t know what it is I’m “meant to be doing” with my life. I just do what feels right—or what is coming to me. And I do that with the hope that it is all leading me somewhere. Where that might be, I have no idea.
I’m doing my best to trust that all the little pieces will fit into a bigger picture that will, in time, turn out to be my own work of art.
To stay in my place of peace, I need to be completely unfazed about not knowing where I’m headed.
Direction is tied to destination. And as the old cliché goes–-life is all about the journey.
When I find myself leaning more towards despair, it’s because I’ve forgotten for a while, to focus on the journey. To focus on the now and to give that my all, without worrying about whether it is leading me towards the achievement of an egoistic desire.
That is how I want to live my life.
It’s not the same for everyone, but worrying about the grand plan doesn’t serve me well. So, to hell with it.
If I never get it together, that’s okay.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Linus Bohman