Time is of the essence.
This past Thursday I turned 34, and while I usually approach birthdays with slight resignation and much trepidation- I make it a point to push myself to embrace each birthday that passes because life doesn’t stop spinning no matter how much I want it to. The quicker we can accept the fact that the purpose of time is to indeed march on, washing away everything in its path – the smoother this ride will be. I think its interesting how as Westerners we regard age with so much anxiety. In ancient tribal communities, elders are often regarded as sacred intercessors between spiritual and physical planes. Whereas in modern times getting older is a process no one wants to accept. The anti-aging industry is booming with no sign of slowing down. Aging reminds us of our mortality and perhaps it is for that reason we eschew it with such fervor. I’ve long struggled with this realization- that everything is impermanent. What is here today will be gone tomorrow- just like that, vanished- without a trace. All the hard work, the day in day out- it can be scary to realize it all means nothing, but it can also be very liberating. So what if we mess this up? Isn’t life just one big do-over anyway? Why are we so worried about how this all turns out when none of us are really sure about what we are doing here in the first place?
There is a laundry list of ancient civilizations that have been buried and wiped out as if they never existed, only to be unearthed thousands of years later and yet we feel so scared about the possibility of that happening to us. We are constantly tethering on doomsday anxiety. Saving the earth from pollution and war are indeed noble pursuits- but it seems so often that our bigger picture focus blurs out our day to day – moment to moment experiences. Death is an inextricable part of existence. This reminder of our mortality shouldn’t be a reason for alarm- but instead a call to action. A reminder to make the most of each moment- and to let go of our fuck ups. Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you- and suck the life from each ripe moment- hold nothing back. Live undistracted- spend each waking moment in the present – watch what happens with excitement, instead of worrying about what happens next. As long as I am doing the best I can – what comes next is out of my control- and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Another main reason I dread birthdays is that it’s a time to take stock of my life, and this moment of reflection can quickly sour when I access how far or close I have come to my goals. But you know what? Fuck goals. Who needs em?
Instead of reeling about all these things I have not accomplished ( and trust me there are many!) I wanted to use this birthday to undo my long-held notions about goals as an impetus for action and restructure the way I approach achieving new milestones in my life. Instead of focusing on long-term goals that are quantifiable and deadline driven I want to focus on day to day goals. Did I exercise today? Did I meditate today? Did I eat healthily? Did I write or sketch or learn something new? Can I approach each day with a child-like fascination, instead of thinking ‘when will this be over?’ This concept of non-goal goals is something I have been thinking about a lot; as I continue to self-develop I am doing tasks with a complete presence of mind- and focusing my energy wholly on activities that make me feel good- instead of doing things with an expectation of ‘results’ in mind. I have noticed when I just do it to do it- I have way more fun.
I am drawing for the sake of drawing-
and writing for the sake of writing-
with no end result in mind.
L i b e r a t i o n.
End results can be daunting and force us to abandon creative pursuits because they didn’t turn out as we expected. In my experience, anything worth having takes time and discipline but if we can engage in activities with that understanding minus expectation- how much more would we do? How much more could we stick to with blind discipline and thusly achieve because we didn’t hold ourselves to manufactured timelines that inevitably fell through?
Nothing goes according to plan, plan for it!
Less is more.
As I sit here at 34 years of age, I have not accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to, and I am the happiest I have ever been. I don’t have a giant house, a serious long-term relationship or a high paying job- but I am doing just great! I have experienced and learned so much, transformed spiritually and emotionally, met so many beautiful people and am surrounded by endless love and support! What more could I ask for?
It’s been really amazing to see that I don’t have to have anything on an arbitrary checklist to be truly fulfilled. To me, that is real bliss- a feeling that is not contingent upon something else- a feeling that is rooted in the core of my being and sits unaffected by tangible possessions. Once I can strip away the B.S. of what society tells me I should want or have- I can feel it so vividly.
I AM in the right place at exactly the right time. No matter what.
By achieving nothing that I thought I wanted I have seen that I have all that I could ever need. Non-attachment to goals allows me to cultivate unconditional self-love. I love myself no matter how much I fuck up or how much I achieve. My love for me isn’t based on what I have done but by the quality of my spirit. I love how passionate I am and how willing I am to take risks, how open I am becoming with others and myself. By removing goals I have been able to fall in love with traits that I already possess and develop them organically.
I am also learning to enjoy boredom and staring off into space instead of staring at a screen. Some of my most creative ideas spring from this peaceful silence. Fewer distractions and more present moments with myself are a source of endless divine inspiration. By shifting my focus to intentional day to day living I am so much more productive, calmer, imaginative and fulfilled. As fasting has taught me- less really is more.
I feel blessed to have such insight at such a young age and am excited to see what more lessons life has in store for me. I am humbled and hopeful to know that life doesn’t have to turn out the way we expect it to turn out better than OK. In fact, when I am able to let go and really let life do its own thing, without my ego fighting for the wheel- the ride is a whole lot smoother and way more exciting,