Five years ago, when I took what became an 18 month sabbatical, one of my earliest vivid learnings was that I was obsessed the “Lotto mentality”. That is what I called it anyway – a state where life was somewhat on hold for the big event, the one day when. One day when I have lost weight. One day when I get that ideal role. One day when I have more money. One day when I win the Lotto. One day when I get to heaven?
This is all at the expense of the now. Mindfulness. Being aware of what I am feeling. Being aware of my body. Being aware of intuition. Being aware of sounds. Being aware of my emotions. One of the most vivid experiences on that journey was sitting in a beautiful café courtyard on a sunny morning in Plettenberg Bay.
I was just trying to become aware of everything I could hear and began to make a list in my head of all the sounds. The different dogs that barked. The various bird calls. People talking. Cars and trucks driving by in the distance. I got to around 10 different sounds when I suddenly hear, just a few meters away from me, there is a generator making a racket. I had completely blocked it out! I quickly realized that I do that to so many things – emotions, body pains, gut feelings, spirit. That thing was designed to help in an emergency was stuck in the on position.
In this I discovered what was for me a crazy truth. The more I projected forward towards a better tomorrow, and the more I ignored the now, the more the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be grew! How could I get to be slim and fit if I ignored my body? How could I get the roles and money I wanted if I ignored one of my strongest assets, my intuition? How could I get healing if I suppress all of my emotions? The Lotto mentality stopped me from hitting the jackpot – the treasure that was inside of me!
More recently I have added three more concepts to these insights. The first is that being in flow with the now is not against having goals. So far this year I have probably had more now experiences than any time since my youth. Yet this year I have clearer goals and more measurable tasks towards achieving them than ever before in my life. I guess it does help that one of the goals is about being present, mindful! 🙂
The second insight is about being present with others. I still have so far to go, but I’m learning. I have a new friend who is brilliant at it. And it’s unlocking new growth in me. I’m learning to be with others. Not always having to speak. Enjoying being in silence. Connected. At times pressing through the awkwardness of looking others in the eye. Maybe the eyes are the windows of the soul? I am finding new depths of connection there. Being present in relationships. Connecting without agenda. Just being. It’s precious. It’s beautiful. It’s life changing!
The third is that for me the very concept of destination has become problematic too. No problem with milestones. No issue with celebration. No concerns about having measurable outcomes. However, we have no control over the future. We can only strategically position for it. Be our very best. Invest in self. Nurture love. It feels as if the only constant in life is change. We are not on a journey because we keep getting closer to a specific destination (except maybe death!). We are on a journey because we aren’t where we were yesterday. And that is enough. That is where we find life. Now, for me, the goal is the path…