I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking forward. What’s next? What should I be doing? Is this getting me where I want to go?
I was talking to friends about trying to be less stressed about things like this, about not being so future-focused. One said “Well, what would happen if you just did something with no purpose?” My hands dug into my chair. My hands DUG INTO my chair. My knuckles were white. I couldn’t even fathom what that would mean. My brain said “Why would I POSSIBLY do something without a purpose???” I’ve been turning this over in my mind ever since.
Three things have happened that have started moving my thinking along:
1. I was part of a loving-kindness meditation in class on Tuesday.
2. I made it through my busiest week of the semester in school.
3. I read this article.
Let me try to explain…
Tuesday: I had rushed to class, was soaked from the pouring rain, running late, and felt badly about walking in when the professor had already started talking. I was not in the greatest place. But then, a little bit into class, he said we were going to try a few exercises. One was a loving-kindness meditation. Have you ever done a loving-kindness meditation? I hadn’t! I knew the general concept was to meditate on directing love and compassion towards others. But we focused on ourselves first! I didn’t realize that was part of it. I thought “Wait! Aren’t I supposed to be thinking about others?” Nope, apparently not. In fact, this is important that we don’t. It starts with self-love. We each envisioned a person in our lives who loves us very much – who thinks that we are wonderful just the way we are. We sat with the thought of that person’s care for us. Slowly we were encouraged to take over those thoughts for ourselves, to direct that love and care to us from us, instead of to us from someone else. This was really powerful for me. The idea of loving me the way one of my best friends loves me? But I know all my flaws! She doesn’t realize… But no, there’s someone else who thinks I’m that great, so maybe I can just sit with this feeling. Maybe I can care about me the way she does. We moved on in the meditation and eventually started directing these feelings of love and care at one other person, then a group of other people, then a bigger group. When the meditation ended, I didn’t want to open my eyes. We talked about our experience. I said I felt grounded; I felt “here”. Others helped me find the word “present”. Yes, I was present. I wasn’t worried about anything else. Just here. It was a great feeling.
Unfortunately, it was rapidly back to work, because this was a busy, busy, busy week! Last night, finally, all the work was turned in. My classmates and I went to dinner together to celebrate the end of our busy week. I had that same feeling. Nothing else is important right now. I’m just here. Whatever else happens, that’s ok, because I am here in this moment of accomplishment and of celebrating with friends. It took being exhausted (and done with a lot of work) to get to that place again, but when my body could no longer do anything except be here, I found that I was very happy just being.
Then today, this article: Stop Becoming Happy… Be Happy! It describes that we feel like we have to do something to be happy, that we have to keep moving constantly. Um, yeah – that’s me! I love this line: “We search high and low for the right effort to make, the effort that will lead us to a place where effort will no longer be needed, where we can finally stop trying.” I bet you can see where this is going, but Nancy Colier really knocks it out of the park with this one: “Happiness happens when we stop trying to figure out what we need to do to get to a better future. Happiness happens when we live without a future, and without an intention for what this moment and this life should become. Happiness happens when we move from becoming to being.” Wow. Really, WOW! So when I asked myself why I would possibly do something without a purpose, well, that was the wrong question.
So what is the right question? I find it kind of tough to wrap my head around this. I get that the point is to be happy, and I’m happy, so why try to keep looking for that little bit more… But I do want to keep progressing. I do want to keep being better. Isn’t the way to get there to keep trying? Hmm.
Maybe not. Maybe the way there is to take the ride of life. Maybe there is no question. After all, the journey is the destination. And I do like the journey…
It isn’t easy to figure out, and no one has all the answers. I do know, at least, that happiness is possible. If you’d like a partner in trying to figure it out or find your happiness, give us a call at at Life Skills Resource Group at 407-355-7378. Our experienced Orlando counselors, psychologists, hypnotherapists, and life coaches are here to guide you and give you the support that you need.
With compassion for me, and for you ~Krista