Do you ever notice the insatiable thirst of the mind? How even when you get what you want, it’s not satisfied? Are we endlessly seeking 100% in a world where 100% doesn’t exist? Or does 100% exist when we change our thinking?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot as my mind has been thrashing in dissatisfaction. Waves of craving for things to be different. The best of me knows that everything is absolutely ok even when it isn’t. The best of me knows that there is always a bright side to everything. And yet a part of me likes to cling to what’s not right. What’s not ok. What needs fixing. What’s not working well.
I see this all the time with clients. It’s the “one day” syndrome we all swim in. Everything will be happy “one day” in the future. Everything will be perfect that “one day” that we meet the right person. We land the right job. We move to the right city. That “one day” that is so distant off. And in the meantime we suffer. We struggle. We toss and turn. We create sleepless nights and won’t allow ourselves to rest.
I’ve been retreating for about a decade or so now in my life and it’s always interesting to hear the questions and comments that people make when I return from retreat. Some assume I must be coming back totally relaxed and rejuvenated. That it must have been magical. Mystical and fairytale-like. It always seems like this patch of grass that I hung out in for a whole week always seems so much more appealing to those grazing on the other side.
If you know me, you know I’ve been hanging out with monastics quite a bit for the past several years. I’ve spent time visiting and living in monasteries. I’ve had the pleasure to sit with some amazing teachers. It all was born from my desire to deepen my own practice, sit with individuals who have immersed themselves in the teaching that touch my heart the most, and let’s be honest…some level of dissatisfaction. The people who have influenced a lot of my thinking and outlook on life living and dead have been mystics, sages, healers, who lived quite radical lives in caves, homeless, in monasteries, forests, starting revolutions. Not your typical day-to-day living. So I figured the closest I could get to such an existence was a monastery. After spending time in monasteries I’m here to tell you that many of the same challenges we have in life outside the walls of future sages exist within their walls as well.
Going on regular silent retreats can be relaxing, rejuvenating, magical, mystical, and have fairytale like moments. But it also can have moments of anguish, anxiety, constriction, dips where you want to give up your practice, where you feel like you’re torturing yourself.
Growth is always rewarding, but not always fun and absolutely uncomfortable.
As my cousin and I had a thoughtful conversation earlier this week pondering why everyone including ourselves become so unsatisfied at times, looking at the 30, 20, 10 percent that’s not working rather than the 70, 80, or 90 that is I realized how much dissatisfaction has become a convenient crutch for many of us. Isn’t it timely that I opened my inbox immediately after to find this:
“When in a hurry, Marci, step #1 for changing the entire world is falling in love with it as it already is. Same for changing yourself.” ~ The Universe (TUT Quotes)
In our endless pursuit for perfection, we find ourselves never satisfied and not recognizing the perfection that is.
Whether it is my dating experience over the last year and half where either I have been guilty or I’ve seen others have the fear of missing out and withhold putting two feet into working something out because well…someone better might come along. Gone are the days when you met someone you connected with and just made it happen. No questions asked. Or whether it’s my leap into entrepreneurship and how it feeds my soul and includes other things I really dislike like promotion and marketing to find new clients. We can’t have what we are satisfied with without the bag of lemons that come along with every situation. Because even the most fairy tale scenarios include…lemons.
“Don’t try to recreate peak experiences. Instead, just accept them as the gift that they are, and don’t beat up on yourself for not being able to stay there. Because if you stayed there, they wouldn’t be peak experiences. They would be normal, every day in time hum drum boring, experiences. So savor the peak experiences and compliment yourself upon your achieving of them, and expect more of them, and leave everything else out of the equation.” ~ Abraham-Hicks.
For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday I’m inviting us to embrace satisfaction. To embrace the 90, 80, 70, 60, 50 percent, whatever it is, of what’s working. Not by ignoring the dissatisfaction that exists. Because that just pushes it down further to come back stronger later. But rather to paint a both/and story of our current circumstances where both the reality of satisfaction and dissatisfaction exist. Whether it’s your current partnership, job, friendship, hobby, pursuit, house, city, state of wellbeing, whatever it is…turn towards what you are dissatisfied with and crack open the box to a viewfinder that includes dissatisfaction and satisfaction. Maybe you do a brain dump. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write all the sucky stuff. Then take a break and listen to a favorite song, do a favorite dance, eat a favorite treat, or take a walk. Then set your timer for 5 minutes and write all the awesome stuff. This is about getting real with ourselves. And when we put on blinders to what isn’t working we are not being real and when we put on blinders to what is working we are not being real either. After you’ve gotten a fuller picture, stand in your bigger view and ask yourself, what would shift if I kept this more expansive reality…truth…in mind every day that I showed up to work? Had a conversation with my partner? Called that friend? Walked into my house? Stepped out into the city? Saw myself in the mirror?
Could you be brave enough to embrace the reality that the only perfect that exists is the perfection you hold right now?
With clear seeing of the whole picture, we perhaps recognize how special that partner or potential partner is. We discover that the job we thought wasn’t a good match, might actually be the best match right now after all. The city we were starting to grow to dislike, is like the quirky aunt we’ll always love. Flaws and all. And the mystical fairytale story we tell ourselves of “one day” when we will be fully satisfied is simply that…a story. It’s not that we cannot go after our dreams. Dream big. Jump high and far. I’ll be the first to encourage us to go for it. But we can’t successfully dream, leap, step when we’ve decided our current situation is only full of dissatisfaction. Because when we do, our launching pad, our jumping point has turned from solid rock to shifting sand. And we fall. We chicken out. We get lost in the quicksand. So in service of the dreams we hold, I invite us to understand that “one day” is actually right now.