We are all searching for something. Deep down, something does not feel quite right. We know what brings us joy. We understand how different we are at our creative selves. But too often, a quick glimpse is all we can afford because there are a zillion things to do, and there's rarely a moment to pause. And when we do pause, it only succeeds in making us feel terrible about ourselves.
Why? Because we know that this is not quite the way things should be.
Wasn't our job meant to be fun? Where would we make a difference, and enjoy doing it?
Weren't we supposed to be somewhere else at this point of time in our lives?
Weren't we supposed to be fit and healthy? With toned bodies and sculpted abs as social media tells us to yearn for?
In rare moments of clarity, of space, of silence, we catch a glimmer. We realise that we've mired ourselves in a lot of baggage. We are not where we thought we'd be.
What do we do? Well, we beat ourselves over it. And continue running in the same direction.
We don't recognise that we've changed. whatever our dreams were 10 years back are not what our dreams are today. Our dreams from 10 years before were never our dreams in the first place. But our parents or our friends' were subconsciously thrust on us and we mistook them for our own.
But here we are, on our treadmills to over there, without questioning if that's where we want to get to.
And it is scary to stop and ask questions. Because we've accumulated a lot of baggage for this journey. Our degrees, education, jobs, careers, books, thoughts, and identity - are all crafted with some end goal in mind.
And if that's not where we should be going, oh fuck. Does that mean we have to start all over again?! Since that's scary, we stop that line of questioning.
When I have this, I will be ...
Instead, we make up a different If-Then statement.
We are unhappy with how things are and identify one aspect of our unhappiness. Let me explain.
- Overworked. Most of us are overworked. The amount of work is an endless river and we need to find an extra gear and the work will trickle to a flow that we will be on top of. The harder we work, the more productive we are, and the more there will be to do. A fucked up paradox. But that's how it is.
- Stressed. The stress of being overworked. Of not having enough time to sit still and breathe and take stock. It manifests itself as a lack of sleep, poor energy, feeling fatigued and drained or many such things.
- Not enough "me time". Not enough introspection. All continuing from the above. Swept away.
What we want is
- Clarity. We want to find what we want to be doing, where are we heading, and a clear destination.
- Control. We want to feel in control. Of our lives. Of our days. Of our productivity.
Both of these are illusions. A clear direction is what we need, and not an actual destination. We change, and we will continue to change. As long as we are going in the right direction, as we change, our destination will evolve. Instead, we are focused on a specific destination that we forget that the direction is the key.
And we will never be in complete control. We are not in complete control of our thoughts. We are not in complete control of our direction. We are battling the noise around us to find OUR direction.
But most times, we pick a destination that everyone around us is bleating about. In the physical health realm - a toned body, flat abs, and looking like a Greek statue. Why? Because we are not in control.
We are not in control of our cravings. Of the choices we make. Of the decisions, we fatigue under. So, we believe that bringing the body under our heel, regaining control and getting to the destination of a chiselled body will bring back control.
Again, a destination that many of us fail to reach. Not because we are not capable of it. But because our lives are not designed for it, yet.
The direction is sound. But the destination is not. At least, not yet.
Cut to the chase
Once we get to the destination, we will be able to set right everything. Magically.
How? Take a few minutes to ponder.
You are at the destination. What's different? You snap your fingers, you have the body you want. But nothing else about your life is different.
Your day is still a mess. Your self-compassion is non-existent. You are running in the wrong direction.
But you believe that being in this place will allow you what exactly? You are confusing enlightenment, whatever the heck that means, with losing weight.
Journey over destination
The journey is the point. Even with a wrong destination as a toned body (because it is tinged with the end of the rainbow feelings), going along that path will allow us to change. It did for me.
But if we do not re-compute the destination at some point as we get wiser, we will forever be unhappy.
If we start with the wrong destination and do not correct it as we learn along the way, we will end up being in the wrong place AND the same place.
It is important to take stock, to introspect. What is at the end of the rainbow? And is it true that this is available to us only over there? And is it available to us only via one path? Is there another path? Is there a direct path?
Only you know.
We need to stop and ask questions about ourselves. And answer these questions.
We need the courage to let go of baggage, and be ready to begin again if needed.
You cannot expect someone else to do the job for you. Guide - certainly. Teach - possibly. But do - nope, that's all you.
Once you ask the question, you are in the right direction.