Monday, January 2, 2012

Leaving Behind Forward Thinking

Resolutions for the new year. Setting intentions in yoga class. Visualizing a magical future in the coaching world.  It's all about seeing what you want and going for it, grabbing the future by a throttle hold and beating it into submission. 

Certainly, if you can't imagine it, you won't have any ability to achieve it. I thrill to imagination and creating new ways of seeing the world.   

Hazel practicing contentment
But I also believe in being content in transition --  in gently leaning back into limbo and letting in the experience of not knowing what is going to happen, no matter what I'm busy visualizing in joy or panic. 

To thoroughly see what is happening around you, you have to detach from the idea that you can control everything around you. 

And let's be clear: you don't have control. You may be a bootstrap CEO worth millions, but large swaths of the world just don't give a crap about you.  They aren't going to do what you want no matter what you order or imagine or visualize. You can't make people think what you want.  Mind control is still science fiction. 

Don't take it personally. You're just a speck. A dust mote. 

That's OK.

We all look lovely shining in sunbeams anyway. 

Maybe the perfect future you have in mind is that gosh-darned perfect.  But maybe your lock-step pursuit of it blinds you to side routes along the way, potentially grander or happier avenues if you just took a breath, looked around, explored, imagined, and then reimagined.

Your goals can change. Your imagination may refine an image as you collect more information. You may change and want different things. 

What I wanted to be when I was four (a baton-twirler) didn't fit the twelve year old version of me, and even if it had, and I'd spent a decade twirling my heart out, I'd likely not still be marching along with a parade now. 

Persistence pays off.  But so does flexibility. 

Do I think you or I should spend forever at a crossroad, refusing to choose a direction, sit down in paralyzed indecision?  Nope.  Fear of the unknown, of motion, of change - as much as I and everyone else may on occasion be subject to them, I'm opposed to them.

But I think there is a point where when we put all our happiness out there in the future, we downgrade the value of where we are now,  the work (or the dumb luck, or grace, or whatever combination thereof) we've done to stand on this ground. 

I don't want to stand around perpetually discontent with here and now.

All the visualizing, yearning and wanting, leaves me anxious and tired some days.  It leaves me thinking that I am lacking, because I'm missing some perfect [fill in the blank]. 

And I'm not. 

Right here.  Right now.  It's good.

So my cheeky one word resolution, to bask -- to take pleasure in the little wonders of this point in time, this step on a journey to somewhere, a small, critical, anonymous, unimportant step, but a step -- is less cheeky than I thought. 

Basking breeds contentment.  Not complacency or blindness, but contentment. And that is definitely something to yearn for and lean into right now.

Happy Not A Holiday, Nondescript January 2nd.


  1. I really love this...could write many paragraphs in response but will spare you my lackluster skills. It's a lovely thought to live in the moment and enjoy what we have before us despite what's thrown our way every day!! Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, Shannon! You are kind as always...