Artwork by Michelle Favin of Whys LA for Poppy & Seed. Connect with her @whyslosangeles.
Have you noticed that wanting, the very act of it, can be exhausting? It often drains us more than it inspires us. Primarily because it yanks us from the present.
This is never so clear than during the holiday season. The holidays are supposed to be about warmth and good cheer. But the holidays are also, let’s face it, prime time for wanting. Ironic, isn’t it, that during the most joyous time of year we find ourselves comparing and lusting after more. Who can resist all the trunk shows? The holiday sales? And on a deeper note, the idyllic family portraits and kisses under the mistletoe? It’s enchanting. And if you’re in love, or your stockings are stuffed to the brim, it’s fantastic. But most of us are somewhere in between. And if we’re in a place of uncertainty or transition, this gets worse. It can overtake our lives. We want to know, for sure, what’s next. We want proof that everything will work out in our favor and that next year, things will be different, better and more in alignment with our dreams. We look for signs everywhere, igniting our path.
Meanwhile, we’re missing the point.
When we are racing after the next step, we cannot possibly embrace the step we’re actually in.
And the truth is we are where we are in our lives for a reason. Our current situation has something to teach us, to show us. We just have to stop and ask what that is. Because frankly, the more we fight our circumstances, the more painful they become. What we resist, as they say, persists.
Yet still we do it. We love to want. We love to pine.
Is it possible that some of us are wired for dissatisfaction first: to yearn? Is that an inherent attribute of being a dreamer, being creative? Or simply a factor of being alive. That thing that drives us, after all, is the same thing that threatens to keep us perpetually in motion, forever hurdling towards the next moment of glory. It’s a two sided coin.
There must be a way to work with this. This same cinematic reverence for the next best thing, after all, can surely be transmuted in the here and now, in the micro-currents of our lives. There’s magic to be found every where.
A few years back a friend had confided in me that she’d met a man who was separating from his wife. “He sees me,” she said, her voice tender and open-hearted. She was scared he wouldn’t be in the place to receive her. “Have patience,” I said, not knowing what else to say.. “You have to trust. But also, you’re falling in love. There’s magic in being seen, no matter where it leads.”
“Does your patience come from reading so many novels?” she responded. “Because it’s always as if you’re in the middle of a novel no matter where you are in your life. You know there is always going to be another chapter so you’ve learned to hone in on the one you’re on”
Her comment has stuck with me mostly because I find it to be true, even though I’d never thought of it quite that way. After all, there’s always more to be revealed and learned. There’s always something else. So why not mine the current state for all it’s worth? Why not dig into it and discover its beauty, wrestle with it, explore it? Because it’s there. It always is. We just have to value it.