If Not This, Then What?
I am one of those people that approach life most naturally from a place of negation. Unlike how I imagine most people function, I don't make decisions based on what I want. I make most decisions through the process of elimination. When I have a hard time articulating what I want, I can usually at least get clear about what I don't want. This certainly helps me avoid things I hate but it doesn't do much for getting what I want.
How can I get what I want if I don't know what that is?
Not knowing what I want - in my relationships, in my work life, even for dinner - has been a challenge for me most of my adult life and I have come to believe it is a collateral effect from so many years of being asleep. Having begun the process of waking up (I'm pretty sure this is a life-long process) I realize that it is hard to create a big life if you don't know what you want. Through all of this searching I have been led by the question, "if not this, then what?"
I'm a pretty big fan of asking the right questions and these past few years have convinced me that "what?" is the wrong question. That question makes sense if you are wondering about your dinner options. When it comes to a Big Life however, the question "what?" suggests that our deepest satisfaction and deepest yearnings come from some thing - the right job, the right partner, the right car, house, or family. This approach is built on the idea that we will be fulfilled when we can answer life's questions with the correct what. And yet, trying to find the correct what is how we fell asleep in the first place.
We have heard it said, and many of us believe, that the things we own will never make us happy. We know at least intellectually, that no other person can fulfill us or make us feel complete. Yet we try. We plan the "perfect" wedding; we leave our jobs because we hate our boss; we take on the bigger mortgage because we need to live in that neighborhood; we nanny our kids and go back to work because that's what successful mom's do; or we stay at home and let our careers wither for a similar reason. Always searching and too often coming up empty. Even when we have everything we ever thought we wanted, we still feel it - the dark, lonely, hole in our lives. In ourselves.
We all have this hole. Some of us are better at hiding it, or perhaps are just too asleep to notice. But for most of us, it is there. We keep our lives full of busyness so we won't hear it whisper to us. We eat, we shop, we drink. We move from relationship to relationship or from job to job. We avoid sitting still or being alone. We spend hours on social media looking at other people's lives. The car radio and the tv are always in the background. The quiet is just too much, too uncomfortable.
And yet, all of this attention and work to wake up will ultimately lead us back here. The journey to find our Big Life, no matter the twists and unique turns it takes for us, will always lead us to the same place. The road to a more authentic and abundant life can only have one true destination and it's trajectory passes right through the center of that empty, dark place - the place we most fear. It passes through that place but it doesn't end there. And it isn't long after we begin this journey that we discover that where we really are headed is home - back to who we were before we forgot who we were.
Welcome to ROOTED. Over the next weeks we will explore together what this journey home looks like. We will consider together how we came to be strangers to ourselves and how we can reconnect to our deepest sense of belonging. Ultimately we will begin to understand how to create lives that are more fulfilling, more loving and compassionate - lives that make more sense.
The truth is, every thing you ache for, everything you need to find real peace has been there inside of you, all along. Those things you are afraid of are simply paper tigers. The joy and abundance you have been promised truly is within your reach. You only need to accept the invitation to the journey. You only need to begin, one step at a time, the road home to you.