What Do You Want? What Do You Need?

The mat was soft against the grooves of my back, my weight slowly sinking across it. My body, floating from the practice of pranayama, and yet alive with energy.

“I want you to think for me… what is it you want right now? What is it you need? And I don’t want you to search for the spiritual answer. Be honest with yourself.”

Immediately my mind went on autopilot, the thoughts flying at me like gnats on a sticky summer day.

I want to be better and more successful in my job… I want to prove I can achieve something.

I want to write every single day and improve my skills.

I want to keep travelling and scratch every country off the map.

I need to keep myself out of the rut. I need to keep challenging myself and becoming a better version of myself.

More. More. More.

The noise building, deafening.

Until it wasn’t deafening anymore. It wasn’t there at all.

A quiet sense of still and a single thought.

I want to stop aspiring for more and love the place I am in for what it is.

The thought was so gentle, so easy, and yet its blatant truth was like a punch to the stomach. The shock forced the words out of me and left them painted in clear sight, impossible to ignore.

Do you ever have that moment of realisation when, suddenly, the dots start to join together? And as the picture materialises, you can’t quite believe you hadn’t seen it out before?

Yeah. This was it.

For someone who preaches about the power of mindfulness and the importance of appreciating the moment, I started to realise it was a concept I’d never fully taken hold of. It had been there, in my sight. I’d dipped my toes in, now and again. But the comfort of dry land was all too appealing to immerse myself entirely.

It was too easy to run away on dry land. The escape route was far more accessible.

I’ve always been a “what next” kind of girl. Forever visualising the next step, the next place. I’ve never wanted to settle; my refusal to see myself in any… state, I guess, for more than a year is a prime example of that. Looking past that, imagining myself staying in the same situation for longer than 12 months, would fill me with anxiety. My heart, palpitating. My skin, prickling. Breath, quickening.

When things started to get difficult? I’d slip straight into my coping strategy.

I’d plan a big change.

And in that moment, there on that mat? It was the first time I’d realised it.

When my long-term relationship ended, I moved to Florence. When my sister found herself alone and without a home at the fault of the one person who should have always cared for her and there was nothing I could do to help, I moved to Australia. When I struggled to find work and the prickles of anxiety began to return after travelling the East Coast, I bought a one way flight to Bali. And now I’m home, as the itchy feet started to come back and I found myself back in a dark place with no real sense of… anything, I applied for a Masters course in a split second decision regardless of the implications.

Constantly seeking change. Constantly looking for a way to avoid the reality of the situation.

Never able to just be.

“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

And even after this realisation, I still don’t understand it. I’m trying to be okay with that.

I don’t understand what it is that stops me from letting my life just take its course and fully allow myself to be taken up by its tender embrace. To trust it, and to give myself over to it. To believe that I am good enough to stay in one place, in one role, for as long as I need… not to shy away in the fear that if I stay too long, people will start to see me differently. That their opinion will change.

I want to look at this moment, this life, right now and see how wonderful it is. Because I can love the individual components, easy. Every single day I look at my job and feel so blessed for the incredible work I am able to do on a daily basis. The opportunities I have, the difference I am making. I constantly feel myself bursting with love when I remember I am no longer tens of thousands of miles away from my dearest ones. That we are on the same time zone, for goodness sake. I feel a freedom like no other now I am back and in one place, able to take up my regular yoga practice, able to train, able to finally start dancing again. I adore my flat, feel am so lucky to have such a brilliant and inspiring housemate. Am able to enjoy trips to beautiful places, have the pleasure of planning life changing adventures whilst still coming back to a home, money and a job.

And yet… seeing those things all together? Looking at them as one manifestation of a pretty exciting life?

Realising that it was enough? That it was more than enough?

That bit wasn’t so easy.

So. So that’s what I’m trying to change. The mindset I’m trying to alter, ever so slightly. The version of the words I’m now choosing to read.

I mean… that’s it, isn’t it? Choice.

And I am choosing to accept. To allow. To feel.

To be here. And to be happy to be here.

Because what I want, what I need?

It’s right here. It’s been here all along.

 

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