I don’t know anyone who doesn’t carry a more perfect version of themselves in their head, including me!
If I could just…
If only I…
I have spent untold hours examining that which I do not have, do not do, and do not fix. And then I envision the happy perfect life I'd be living, free of all difficulties, once I have, once I do, and once I fix everything.
The fantasy of this perfect life has often compelled me to analyze and strategize for how I might, why I should, and what I can, do. Sometimes I’ve even been moved to action. But this activity has always been cloaked in a gossamer of desperation. How could it not be? My diamond life, my joyfulness, my very essence were all at stake.
Life becomes serious business when my sense-of-self hinges on outcomes. My to-do list, my bank account, my pant size, my job title, my reputation, my friends, my followers, whatever I've attached my identity too, becomes Almighty. I've given over my power to something outside of me.
Straight forward, no? But what about the more subtle hooks? I need people to appreciate me. I need my children to do what they're told. I need to be accepted. I need to be respected. I need to be understood. I still daily, without notice, hand over myself to these ideas. "So what?" you say. "Why does it matter?"
Have you ever followed a whisper, a whisper in your mind that felt like a knowing? Maybe it was a small thing, “you should go for a walk,” and on that walk you found your neighbor, old and bent, struggling with a large package, so you helped them. Maybe the whisper was about a big thing, “it’s time to sell your house,” and the ideal buyers appeared the first day it was on the market.
These whispers are tough to hear when my mind is a cluttered cacophony, “What will they think?... I should... once I... then I can… I’m an idiot... I shouldn’t have… so much to do… what’s wrong with them... why can’t they… What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m wrong? What if I end up alone?"
Controlling the outside world in order to feel well and whole on the inside is a Sisyphean undertaking. My mind will rally to support me in that effort, but at a great cost. In attempting to control all of my circumstances, how other people behave, or what other people think, I lose mental clarity and the whispers get drowned out. My mind is trapped trying to tackle a futile task; it’s looking out for something that already exists within.
My inner well-being, that spark of light inside, is always mine. Like you, I was born with it and will have it until the day I die. My kids can do whatever they’re going to do and it doesn’t take it away. You can think whatever you’d like about me, but you can’t touch it.
I can have $5.00 in the bank, or $50 million, and it won’t change it. It’s inherent and doesn't need to be coddled or tended. No-one looks at a newborn, declares them broken and tells them to start working to develop their well-being.
I might go for a walk under the cathedral pines and experience a settled sense of calm. It might look like nature is putting that into me, but in fact it’s just me experiencing my uncluttered self.
I might sit down with a cup of coffee to watch the cat play and experience contentment. It might look like it’s the cat and coffee creating that, but in fact it’s just me letting go and remembering who I really am.
I might hangout with a friend and feel a deep connection. It might look like my friend is responsible for it, but in fact it's just me falling into my natural ease.
I don’t need to chase my well-being. I don’t need accomplishments to access it and I don’t need certain activities to connect to it. I don't need “me time” or "self care" for it to emerge — it simply is. My well-being is always there, just below the surface of my insecure, wound up thinking. It is always waiting to be noticed and it is always intact and whole. The same is true for you.