The exhausting wishing, wanting, rushing game. I’ll admit, for a while, I played that game every day. I don’t know if I ever really felt content with what I had. Which feels pretty sad considering there are people in this world without shelter, showers, a plate of food at the end of the day. Yet, for as long as I can remember, I’ve begged the Universe to give me “more.” What I had was never enough for me. I needed more “fun,” more “stuff,” more “friends” to ever feel anything close to joy.
Looking back, it’s as if I treated each day as a track meet. There was always some sort of obstacle or hurdle to get over. As if against the clock, I’d race through my day, counting down the minutes until I’d be home. I’d think, “When I’m home, I’ll be happy.” But in reality, home made things worse. Parental and sibling judgment to remind me of everything I seemed to be doing wrong and no-one to set me right. All of this left me with a heap of crappy, negative feelings and only ratcheted up my prayers to the Universe. The exhausting wishing, wanting, rushing game…
SO WHAT FINALLY SLOWED ME DOWN? THE UNIVERSE. OUT OF NOWHERE, IT OFFERED ME A NICE, SLOW, KICK UP THE A***!
It was a couple of weeks ago, on my ride home from a busy weekend. I suddenly became overwhelmed by this powerful sense of dissatisfaction with no particular reason for the onset of despair. On the contrary, I had actually just had an unbelievable weekend. Yet in spite of the joy I had experienced earlier, I was at odds with the sense of injustice at what my life had delivered me. I frantically dialed a friend and began to vent to her about the barrage of emotions swimming in me. I explained to her it felt like I was drowning myself in a pool of my own thoughts. And even though I knew how to swim and could quickly get to the shore, my thoughts wouldn’t allow me to.
AND HERE IS WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR AT THAT EXACT MOMENT.
They own guns not just to protect themselves and their families, but to maintain the balance of power against a potentially tyrannical government. (I had no idea that this was a real thing – I had sincerely believed this was a conspiracy theory, but that’s what comes of growing up in a non-gun-carrying country.) I understand the concept of hunting. I don’t agree with it, but I can wrap my head around owning a handgun for self-protection. What never crossed my mind was the swathe of people who are not only enthusiasts and collectors, but who are almost stock-piling in the event of a civil war.
“Nina, your life is a river, not a pool. You’re overwhelmed with everything you have going on, but just imagine you’re tubing and right now you’ve hit the rapids. You’re scared, and you’re exhausted from holding on so tight.
“Do you remember what it felt like when the water was calm, your head clear? Everyone’s rivers flow through periods of tranquility and turbulence, and no-one ever knows what’s around the bend, and that makes us uneasy, but that’s just the way life is. What you need to focus on, is the fact that you’re still above water. You need to relax, release your grip and learn to float through it. Nina, you need to move with the current. It’s that simple.”
Something about that last part seemed to resonate. The idea that the course of my river is predetermined — and though I can set my intentions as to where I’d like the river to go, I can’t physically change the nature of it. The only thing I can do is learn to float when things get choppy.
“You have all these conflicting thoughts, and they’re overwhelming you, but you can’t jump off the float every time the waters gets too rough. Whatever comes will come, and you will be okay because everything you’re afraid of isn’t actually happening. The only way you’ll be able to eliminate your fears, Nina is to live in the moment. I believe you are capable of doing that; you need to believe it yourself.”
If you take anything away from this, may it be a reminder to slow down and enjoy the life you have, right here, right now. Choose to float rather than sink. Our lives these days can get seriously out of whack, and given the current cultural climate with its divisiveness and political hoo-ha, our emotional angst can go through the roof. Stop worrying about the what if’s and the things you can’t control. Try living in the moment and try not to take things for granted. One day, you might not have another Friday to look forward to.