Several years ago, I was feeling frustrated with my job situation.
After the initial gratitude I felt for having a job, I started to feel trapped.
I remember complaining to my sister one day on the phone, venting.
Something shifted in me after that conversation. I realized the negativity wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Staying stuck in it wouldn’t make me feel better or freer or happier. It wouldn’t fix anything.
Okay, I thought, clearly this isn’t working.
So…what if I focus on the parts I am grateful for? The parts I do appreciate?
I have good benefits, paid time off, good vacation time. I adore my coworkers. It’s a pretty laid-back atmosphere. It’s a solid paycheck. I can walk to work. I have plenty of time to do yoga and workout and meditate each day and on the weekends. I have an hour off at midday that I can walk. I’ve been here for a while, so I’m comfortable with the work, which means it’s not stressful or overwhelming (or at least not in that new-to-a-job kind of way where we’re trying to learn everything).
The structure of a nine-to-five job and the work itself may not have aligned with my soul—but there were so many parts of that job I was grateful for. Instead of only focusing on feeling “trapped,” I started to emphasize these other parts. And life started to feel better.
It doesn’t mean I didn’t feel restless sometimes (even often), but I was able to make peace with my situation. I was better able to manage everything when I realized there were so many things I genuinely appreciated.
It can be too easy to get stuck in negativity—thinking about all of the parts of our lives that aren’t how we want them to be. Thinking about everything that “isn’t working” or isn’t making us happy. Or thinking about all the things we want that feel “out of reach” or “too far away.”
But we can’t create, manifest, or usher in anything positive if we’re only dwelling in the negative.
We have to find a way to balance the reality of what we’re feeling (meaning those less-than-positive feelings) with emphasizing the things we do appreciate and working toward what it is we do want.
This isn’t bypassing—it isn’t repressing or denying any of the feelings we have. It’s holding space for those, while actively seeking to cultivate more of the energy and feelings and things we do want in our lives.
So how do we do this? How do we create space for our dreams in the lives we’re living? How do we cultivate the feelings we ultimately want to feel, when we’re in situations that don’t currently line up with it? How can we begin to manifest it, cultivate it, some element, some taste of it, in the lives we’re living right now?
I think we just have to want it…and then try.
We have to give ourselves the permission to do it.
We have to know, ultimately, how we want to feel. We have to know what we want, and we have to know how what we want will make us feel. Because then we can begin to do things that will bring us more of these feelings now.
We can find a way to integrate experiences into our lives now that bring us these feelings—even if it might not be to the fullest extent of what we’d prefer.
What is it we really want? How do we really want to feel?
Can we fit even a few moments into our days? Or even…just on certain days?
The reality is that we have “duties” and responsibilities—things we have to do. We may have to work 40-hour weeks, cook, clean, pay bills, manage other household tasks, run errands, sleep, and maybe even take care of children or other family members, and so the list goes on.
So we have to be realistic with ourselves. We have to understand and accept where we are and the time and restrictions we have.
But, can we find a way to do things that make us feel alive? Can we bring in more of the things that light us up? Can we start to usher in more of what we do want…now?
I had a beautiful day last Saturday. I sat out in the sun. I felt the warmth of the sun’s rays on my face and looked at the clouds. I watched the cats playing and rolling in the yard. I listened to the sounds of neighbors outside, enjoying this first-in-a-long-time beautiful day.
I walked and napped and studied a couple of things I love. I cleaned and meditated. I sat outside again. This time, for even longer.
I sat outside without a time limit. Without restriction. Without thinking about the next thing I’d do or mentally planning the things I still “needed” to get done.
I rarely do that—do anything without a time limit. Meditate, walks, exercise, even relaxation…I usually “allow” myself a certain amount of time. I have a few different walking paths that I stick to because I know how long they take, so I can mentally schedule them into my days.
This might not seem romantic, but it’s a practical reality of life. We only have so much time each day, and we can only do our best in balancing everything that we have (and want) to do.
Ultimately, I want to feel peaceful and free. Fluid and flowing (in the kind of way where I get to do what I want, when I want, in a way that feels good to me). Soul-connected. I want to do work that fills and fulfills my heart and soul. I want ease. Softness. I want space and time to linger in spacious spaciousness. A blend of working my soul’s calling and reveling in the luscious space of present moments.
As we’re living our lives, and dreaming about where we want to go, it’s important to find a balance with everything. We have to make peace with where we are. We have to allow ourselves to acknowledge and feel into the parts that feel less good because they’re teaching us something (and showing us what we really want and what we value), while also working to cultivate, create, and move into what we do want. All of what we want.
It doesn’t always feel easy, but it’s how we’ll move forward.
We have to start where we are. With what we have.
We have to accept it.
Our current circumstances are what they are. We have to be okay with that.
We can work toward and seek to welcome in more of the things and feelings we want, while being present with and appreciating the reality of what we’re living right now.
It just takes a little effort, and maybe, a slight switch in perspective.
This is how we’ll find joy and peace and soften into our present moments.
It’s how we’ll appreciate and enjoy the lives we’re currently living—while we move toward the lives we truly want to live.