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What Is Not

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I’ve spent most of my life chasing after what I don’t have. What isn’t in my life.

This causes problems.

What Is Not is not an absolute category. It changes, based on the energy you put into modifying it. Things move in and out of it all the time. Things that were not there, with enough energy, gradually become present.

If you are motivated exclusively by this thought of possessing what you don’t have, then once you have it, your interest will fade. You may try to enjoy it, but without the sheen, the mystique of the Unattainable, it’s not the same.

Then it’s on the next thing, aimlessly chasing after it until it becomes half-formed in your life, before you drop it and shamble on again.

This is no way to live a good life.

We live in an outcome-oriented culture; hit this set-point, then that set-point. You keep exhausting your old set-points, you have to keep coming up with new set-points, and you have the nagging feeling of the never-ending treadmill. You’re likely to up and quit one day, until the need to plan again builds up, and the cycle repeats endlessly.

So start with a different idea.

Try this one: an ongoing process that recurs in your life, that will move you in the right direction without getting you hung up on any specific outcome. You hit your marks and then you go to sleep and do it again the next day. The idea is that the accumulated merit of all those actions will take you where you want to go anyway, without having to obsess over this or that piece falling into place.

So what does that look like, in my life?

I have a few wellness practices which, regardless of what’s going on at any given time, are always a good idea; they never disappointment. An hour of exercise. Meditation. Increasingly, writing. Sending off communications, in various forms.

Given a choice between these and, say, mindlessly surfing the Internet, these take precedence. It’s also easier to sustain, without having to select a destination each time. I can ‘fall into it’ as a habit, and let the habit carry me.

And, for the processes I outlined above, I know the general direction of the outcome is a place I want to be. As long as I’m in that direction, I’m OK.

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