This Isn't the Post You Were Supposed to Read
This was not the post you were supposed to read today. I had that one done. I wrote it Tuesday morning while sitting in a coffee shop. It was a beautiful piece about contributing and finding stillness. I've sat down numerous times since then to recreate that article and I keep coming up blank or what I write isn't near as good.
What happened was I made the mistake of saving my draft, then closing the lid on my laptop. An hour later I re-opened my laptop and started to work on my post some more. Apparently, since I didn't close out of my browser, everything I wrote was on a page that needed to be refreshed or something. My words are gone forever.
So, instead of forcing something or trying to recreate something, you get this piece. And it's kind of a metaphor for life, really. That things don't often, or hardly ever work out the way you expect them to or want them to. It's a lesson in impermanence. It's a lesson in going with the flow and being ok with things not turning out how you'd like. Honestly, would life really be that fun if you could always get your way? It's in the triumphs over our struggles and failures that we build characteristics that lead to living a meaningful life.
You and I are part of a beautiful story. One that's bigger than any of us can ever possibly imagine. A story where we don't know how it ends, or what the next chapter looks like. I have absolutely no ideas of what struggles or joys I will encounter in the next hour, let alone tomorrow or 5 years down the road. There's no way you can know, either.
This story that we call our lives is made up of days. Our days are made up of hours. Hours are made up of minutes. Minutes are made up of moments. Each moment offers us a choice, and I want to choose love more often than I choose the alternatives. Those moments will make up my minutes, which will make up my hours, which will make up my days, which will make up my life.
It's a hard lesson to learn. The one about nothing ever staying the same. Feelings come and go. People come and go. The weather comes and goes. Life is just a bunch of waves, tides coming in and tides going out. Never staying the same. It's when we try and grasp onto the familiar and comforts we find in some moments that issues arise. We can't possibly hold onto everything that makes us happy. We can rediscover it anew in a future moment, yes. But it can never be the same moment. It's taken me years to come to grips with this, in fact, I'm still learning.
It's when I get stuck comparing my life now to how my life was a few years ago that I get bummed. The cycle stinks. It usually starts with a quick perusing of facebook. Maybe facebook has shown me a past memory. Or I'm seeing someone in my news feed off on a grand adventure to a place I've been before or always dream of going. Then it spirals form there. Jealousy and envy can never be involved if you want to live a life of love and fulfillment.
I struggle so much with jealousy. But when I take an honest look at my life, I've lived a pretty darn good one. I was raised in an environment where I was loved and supported. I got to travel with my parents. I've taken some pretty amazing trips with Jenny and my kids. We've seen 37 states together as a family. It's when these jealous feelings come up and I start thinking about how I'm not traveling as much as I'd like to that I get bummed out.
And when that happens, it completes the downward spiral of negativity. I don't have patience with my wife and kids. I say things I don't mean that hurt their feelings. I start beating myself up about not being able to provide for my family in the way I want to. I focus on the negatives and overlook the positives. I know I'm not perfect and I don't expect to be. I am human after all, and humans will inevitably mess things up from time to time.
When I hit that bottom stage is when I realize I've been choosing the alternatives over the loving actions. It's down there I have to find my inner strength. The climb back up always begins when I get back to my breath. Deep breaths seem to be the start of any and all solutions. I take long, slow deep breaths, calm my mind, and take a step back and assess what's really going on. Is my life really that bad? No. Do I have all of my basic needs met? Yes. Am I surrounded by a loving community? Yes.
It's here that I tap into a power I'll never fully understand. There's this energy and deep sense we're all connected, on levels I'll never understand, and when I realize this, things always seem ok. It's here I find hope. I find hope because when I'm honest with myself, things work out for me more often than they don't. My life is filled with moments where I get to choose to stand up for what I believe in (love) or shrink down and hide (fear).
It's here when I realize that I am a light. I contribute to a universe that needs what I have to offer. I'm here. I'm alive. I'm loved. What more could I ever possibly ask for? Now if only I could remember these things before I hit rock bottom.