This blog has been a place of reflection, of growth over many years. I didn’t really quite understand how accurate its title has been. Seeking the balance. I realize I have always been seeking (which others seem to see as a virtue) and yet, I have always known the answers. Over and over, I would say them and over and over again, I would refrain with “but I’m not there yet.” Always working and seeking and trying to get to this holy grail of a place I wasn’t sure existed. This concept of “true” and “complete” balance.
Maybe I was right. Maybe I wasn’t there yet. Maybe I wasn’t ready for letting go. Since the retreat I went to end of April, though, I realize what I have “sought” has been right there in front of me. The people and friendships and love I already “have” in my life. The birds chirping. The sun. The mountains. My breath. For the first time, it feels, I’m really seeing all of these beauties before me. Am I changing? I don’t know. Perhaps, for the first time, I’m just being. Not seeking for some ideal state that may or may not exist, some haven from the world or my brain.
I don’t need to run.
This is it. This is what life has to offer.
It’s just a change of focus. That is all. Choosing to see what is there, not what isn’t. Choosing to see the beauty and the struggles in the world and cherishing all of it, having compassion for it, and listening to see how I might be able to provide it more love and beauty. Seeing that the chatter of my brain will always be there and I don’t need to dismiss or change it, but just observe it, greet it, smile at it, and keep being present with the “reality” before me anyway. This includes accepting the reality of being human with an oversized prefrontal cortex.
I don’t need to make friends with my brain and I don’t need to end its existence. I can just accept that it is mine and it will always be mine. I can be controlled by it, I can try to control it, I can ignore it, or… I can just listen to it like one would listen to a 2 year old and take what it says with a grain of salt while being amused at its ignorance and innocence. I have a responsibility to take care of it and it is related to me, but it isn’t who I am. Thoughts are just thoughts. Emotions are just sensations. Who would have fucking imagined it was that simple?
I’ve realized the balance I referred to when beginning this blog, in fact, doesn’t appear to be about the “work-life balance” or the financial or activity or friend or family balance. The balance appears to be all within us. If we can be present with what is there, then everything else just seems to sort itself out – because we can deal with things as they come, make positive choices, and when the toils of life are not a struggle, we can just sit and be content with what we have – life, our breath, the sun, the sky, people before us in their own bubbles of struggle.
No matter how hard life gets, we all have that.
Life is hard, but we make it harder on ourselves. Most of us (especially in the US) are constantly striving for a “better life,” using technology to distract and isolate us, using therapy to reinforce the stories we have of the world, having children and buying things and houses so we can “find meaning” in the world. We seek. We believe changing and having X will make us happier (i.e. How many times have you heard people say, “I’ll be happier when ___.” How many times have you said that?). We think there is such a thing as fulfillment and meaning that we can and should “achieve.” An imperative – one we never chose and one we never accepted, and yet one we are a slave to all the same. Even this concept that we should be happy is its own statement of imperative and thus enslavement.
Sorry to have to tell you this, but X will not make you happier. (It has, at least, never made anyone I’ve known happier.) You can be happy (or content or whatever that means to you) right now. [If you don’t believe me, read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, a man who found beauty even while living in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.] That is not to say change will not happen and that change shouldn’t happen. In fact, when we can see, we will know exactly what changes need to be made and how to go about doing that. We will be changed and we will make change – and it will be intentional, not enslaved by the default of our imperatives.
Friends, we all have everything we need. It is right there. When you see it, really see it, you will be free. You will be a sunbeam, lighting the way for yourself and others and set others free along with you.
Sunbeams, you have come this far with me. Take my hand and we can walk this road together.
Sincerely and with all my love,