Your Wish Is My Command
I groaned as I hit the snooze button on my phone. 6 am is way too early, I thought. How could I not be used to that by now? I had been doing the daily grind thing for years.
I hit snooze a few (too many) more times before finally dragging myself, unwillingly, out of bed and into the bathroom. I caught a glimpse of my tired face in the mirror. Today’s a new day! Put on a happy face! Is this working?
I rushed through my morning routine, quickly showering, packing a lunch, and grabbing breakfast to go as I kissed my husband and ran out the door to work. I looked at my lonely, sunny front porch as I pulled out of the driveway, longing for a few undisturbed moments of solitude. I wish I could just begin my day any way I wanted to. I wish I could wake up any time I wanted to, make and eat breakfast slowly with my hubby, do some yoga on the porch, and just chill before diving into work. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Ask and ye shall receive. I asked and the Universe said, “your wish is my command!”
Okay, so it wasn’t that easy. It was actually quite a bit of work. Planning. Down-sizing. Business-building. More planning. Saving. Sweating. RV-buying. And I got exactly what I wished for.
Now, my mornings look like this: I pretty much wake up any time I want to. I make and eat breakfast slowly with my hubby. I do some yoga on my (now mobile) patio. I just chill before diving into work. It’s blissful. So why do I still get the gnawing feeling that I’m unfulfilled? That I’m not quite happy? That I want something more?
Don’t get me wrong, I am ridiculously happy with this lifestyle. I love the freedom of adventuring, traveling, relaxing, creating space in my life for new experiences. I love not working a typical 9-5 job! But there’s still this feeling…
The Self-Help Sham
You don’t have to look too hard to find a How To, a Guidebook, a Step-by-Step Plan, a guru, an expert, a “proven method,” or a Map that will take you on your way to all the happiness, success, love, joy, and peace you could ever imagine! We are a society love drunk on self-help books, maps, and processes. And I’m just as guilty as the next guy.
You name it, I’ve probably read it or have it on my to-read list. I devour books about things like how to get closer to God, how to get out of your own way, how to uncover the magic formula for success. I’m a junkie for positive affirmations, gratitude rituals, inspirational Instagram accounts, and so much more! So then why do I feel unfulfilled? Why am I searching for the “what’s next” and the “what else”?
((Before I go on, I have to say that not all self-help authors, teachers, coaches, and resources are a sham. Far from it. The collective knowledge in the self-help community is astounding! Most of it is beautiful, meaningful, and truly heart-felt.))
I call it a sham because of this: most of us believe that someone else is the authority on our lives. We believe that if we just read another book, just take another course, just work a little bit harder, just set and meet more goals, just follow that map that someone else created, then we will find happiness.
It is easy to view the journey of life as a road map. We are on an expedition with desired set-points along the way and a big, ultimate destination full of happiness, success, love, joy, and peace. If we plan out our route just right, we believe we will eventually make it to that magical land full of an endless supply of these emotions! If we do things right, if we meet our goals, if we work hard, then, someday, we will be happy.
I’m going to burst some bubbles now – yours, mine, and everyone else’s – and say that this magical land does. not. exist. And that idea of someday? Yeah, it’s never coming either. Sorry about that…
The only thing we have is today. Right now. This very moment in time. Is that where happiness, success, love, joy, and peace have been hiding all along? We’ve all heard the cliché: happiness is in the journey, not the destination. But when does this cease to be a cliché and start to be a reality that we truly follow in our lives?
I realized, not that long ago, that despite all the incredible, wonderful, blissful things happening right now in my life, I largely derive my happiness from the milestones, not from the moments. I love meeting goals and checking things off my to-do, to-read, to-watch, and to-achieve-in-life lists. Even more than that, I love setting new goals and making new lists! (C’mon, who doesn’t love a good checklist?! Bullet journaling, anyone?)
Un-Mapping Our Lives
What if we threw the map out the window? Would we still know which way to go?
If we stopped focusing on the destinations, the milestones, the big and major events, would we create space for the spontaneous, the wild, and the adventurous?
What if we spent time creating our to-feel, to-see, to-experience, and to-witness lists?
How would it feel to measure happiness, success, love, joy, and peace in the tiny day-to-day moments, decisions, and experiences of our lives rather than waiting until the very end to look back or even begin searching for those things?
The Truth About Happiness
All of the things that we think will make us happy – winning the lottery, quitting our jobs, traveling the world, building the perfect business, overcoming a chronic illness, meeting the perfect man/woman – aren’t actually what makes us happy. Achieving these milestones does not automatically afford us happiness, success, love, joy, or peace.
The truth is that we create our own happiness, success, love, joy, and peace by how we respond to and experience every moment of our lives.
It’s up to each one of us to seek out these feelings (and more) today. If we wait for someday, that’s inevitably never coming, it will be too late. The map really is in the un-mapping.
Breathe. Be present. Relax your shoulders. Look around you. Take it all in. Slow. Witness. Laugh. Notice. Say thanks. Be happy. Be successful. Be in love. Be in joy. Be peace. <3