The other day a friend sent me a text message. It said "You'd think I would find it easier to love than be fearful". Yet again she was at a cross roads in her life and, tormented by her expectations for herself and of others, was profoundly uncomfortable. Her lack of peacefulness was like a mantle she was wearing; a tight-fitting, restrictive jacket she was straining to be free of. You could see it in her face, hear it in her voice, her words.
It doesn't seem fair, when you want something so desperately, to find yourself so far away from it. Career, love, home comforts. It is easy to become angry, moody, resentful. Easier still to start to doubt yourself: "Will it ever happen?", "Have I done the wrong thing?", "Is there something wrong with me?", "Have I made bad choices?". You can get desperate, start to make rash choices, react, panic.
Stop. Step back. Breathe.
The sun comes up each day, and sets quietly behind the horizon. Most of us have a roof over our heads, a bit of cash coming in, a few people who care about us. There are birds singing in the trees. A big wide sky overhead. Fish in the oceans (for a while longer anyway).
Trust that the choices you have made were the best you could make being who you are and knowing what you did at that time. You may know better now, be better equipped now to make different decisions, but back then... you didn't. Don't beat yourself up.
Similarly, that glorious future you imagine for yourself... is it stealing joy from your now? Are you so consumed by the picture you have created in your head that you can't be grateful for the wonderful present? Sun on your back, steaming hot coffee, compliment from a stranger...
I was given a book many years ago by a friend. It was called "Love Is Letting Go Of Fear" (by Gerald G Jampolsky). It's a thin book, less than 150 pages. The writing is big. It has cartoons. Six years later I still sleep with it by my bed. I can go weeks without referring to it, but I think about it daily.
Fear, expectations (future), guilt (past) - they steal your peacefulness. They unsettle your day, take you away from this moment, right now. And it is so important that in this moment we are doing everything we can to expand and love and be generous with ourselves and others. By doing so we benefit immediately... and the benefits continue to flow to us over time... and whether those secret dreams of ours come true or not we've been feeling good along the way.
Unlike my friend, whose sleep is disturbed, heart is closed, and head is full of harsh stories of failure and doubt.
I love her and wish her peace. I hope she can shake off that prickly coat (and I hope I can keep mine hanging neatly in the cupboard...)
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