Have you ever found yourself in a perpetual state of anxiously awaiting the next moment? You know, when you're in a rush, and you can't bear to be where you are, because you need to be at the next step?
I found myself there most of this evening. Luckily, the circumstances were not serious, but rather, just inconvenient.
On the way to enjoy the sun at a nearby park, our car started sputtering. The check engine light came on, strange noises emerged, and a loss of power ensued. At that moment, it was time to pull over.
Of course, this is the moment of truth. This is the exact type of moment life throws at you where you have a critical decision.
Do you let the unfortunate circumstances dictate your state for the rest of the night, and perhaps longer? Or do you catch your inner state responding to a fairly common, innocuous outer event, remember where you are, remember who you are, and center yourself before taking care of business?
I found myself teetering between being present, witnessing my inner frustration, and being downright consumed by it. However, the more important realization came after the night ended. As I reflect on what happened, I realize that I was in a perpetual state of wanting to get to the next moment.
When we were stuck on the side of the road, I just wanted to get home. When we were home, I wanted to know how to diagnose the problem. After we diagnosed the problem, I just wanted it to be fixed.
In other words, I was perpetually not okay with where we were, and this was affecting my thoughts, my emotions, my mood, and worst of all, it was inhibiting my abilities to actually deal with the situation.
Everything from my thoughts to the chemical reactions in my body were being dictated by my resistance of reality and desire for something I didn't have.
The truth is, there was beauty in the experience. And that's the part that I can look back to. Despite my dominant state being that of awaiting the next moment, I was also aware, albeit vaguely, of this beauty throughout the night. What a great reminder tonight was.
Even when things aren't going your way - when the car breaks down, when you're rushing around to places, and when it plain old rains on your parade - don't forget that there's beauty all around you.
I'm not just talking about the beauty that you see with your eyes, either. You can appreciate the nice gesture of a friend, the calm state of another, or the comedy in the grand scheme of things. There's plenty to appreciate, if you zoom out of the single inconvenience at hand.
If you're always wanting to be in the next moment, you're never in this moment. This moment is all you have. Do you really want to miss out on it?
So what if it's not what you wanted? Have you ever considered that perhaps the universe knows what it's doing, and that it will provide you not always what you want, but surely what you need?
With that perspective, any experience is an adventure. The key part is remembering this. Before, during, and after. Always remind yourself of this moment. You can't be anywhere else, so you might as well learn to befriend it.
Live with substance!