Someone told me this week that I should “be happy with what I have”. Those words stopped me dead in my tracks and made me think. On the one hand, of course I should be happy with what I have. I should (and do) appreciate and enjoy every moment and take nothing for granted, as I had written in my previous entry. However this time, I began to wonder further. Does being happy with what I have mean I should let go of my pursuit of betterment? If I was truly happy with what I already had, why search any further. But I am constantly looking within, searching for ways of self-improvement and self-growth. Is this path an endless and insatiable journey? And if so, why have we begun it at all?
Ten years ago, my reality was unsatisfying and dull. I made the decision that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to explore the deepest corners of my psyche and “find myself”. Whilst strolling along on this journey, I discovered that in fact I had never lost myself. I was always right here. I was just buried under layers and layers of conditioning that I had learned and absorbed over the course of my lifetime. My job now was to unlearn it all. Funny that we spend half our lives learning how to be in this world, just to realize, if we’re lucky enough, that we must now unlearn everything. And if we’re luckier still, actually succeed in unlearning enough bullshit to now enjoy life for what it truly is; pure and joyous.
So, to come back to being happy with what I have, on the one hand, I absolutely am happy and blessed with everything I have in my life, but on the other, I have so much yet to unlearn.
It makes me wonder, however, if my desire to continue to unlearn stems from a knowing that there is still so much left to undo, or is there another reason. Another conditioning, whereby, if I constantly yearn to grow, I will never have to stop and accept my reality for what it is. Meaning, if I “made my bed and now I must sleep in it” then I will have finished my task of making it, and well, now what? No, perhaps I should continue making it. Fold the sheets here, straighten the blanket there, this way, I won’t have to stop and look at my bed. I won’t have to accept that that’s all it will amount to. I will forever be in the process of doing, from fear of being unsatisfied with the completed task. That’s definitely not a healthy approach to life (insert self-judgement here). But that’s not how I want to live my life (less self-judgement, more self-awareness here) I want to sleep in the bed I’ve made. And I want to make my bed to fit my needs and fulfill my desires.
I grew up in an environment where my accomplishments were both always alright no matter what, and simultaneously, never alright no matter what. One parent was a perfectionist that was never satisfied, the other was more accepting of whatever the outcome. In a way, it made for a good balance, but I now come to realize how confusing it was for my younger self to make a decision and go forth with it to completion. Now, I don’t mean to blame my wonderful parents here. They did a great job! They were, and are, doing their best, but I must take responsibility for my life and make my own decisions and choices on how I want to live it, despite my upbringing.
My father would often tell me that he hates drinking water (he prefers it carbonated). “My mother always hated water too, so that’s just how I am” he would say. My response to which was always “just because something was done a certain way for many years doesn’t mean it has to remain the same way moving forward.”
Buddha said “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
Meaning we have a choice every morning, every moment, in fact, to be who we want to be, not how we’ve always been in the past.
So with all this in mind now, I will choose to make my bed so damn well, that I will be eager to lay in it and in all its glory. I am consciously choosing to truly be happy with what I have.
Photo credit: Pixabay