Over the weekend I read an article about attracting love, the “Buddhist way.” The post not only touched on romantic relationships, but also had an overall theme of attracting, not chasing, all of the things in your life. Over the past decade, I’ve chased, wandered, and roamed. I never gave myself a chance to just stop, breathe, and manifest what was meant for me in this lifetime.
If we run after something, it usually runs from us, doesn’t it? When we hold on to a thought or an idea of what something “should” be, the outcome is often disappointing. We are not in control of this world, but we are in control of how we react to it, and we can choose the type of energy we put out to the universe.
Each day, it is our decision on how we want to live our life- just for the day. No more, no less. Excessive planning and expectations used to drive me into a state of insanity, but then I learned an important lesson: to let go. I used to wake up nervous and fearful of how my day would go (sometimes I still do), but I’ve learned that everything- even my negative feelings- are temporary. Going with the flow makes life so much easier, so much more satisfying, and so much more serene.
I’ve lived a lot of places and have had many different lifestyles this past decade; from a stay-at-home girlfriend to the director of marketing for a mobile app. I’ve been a struggling fashion freelancer in New York City and a stable administrative assistant in San Francisco. Over the past decade, I’ve lived a lot of lives in many different places; yet, I don’t think I was ever happy. Really, truly happy: just being me.
People, places or things never filled my void- I needed to work on the inside first.
Before I started this blog last December, I went through an entire reset- physically, emotionally and spiritually. It wasn’t until I purged most of my belongings, moved to Boston, and learned the importance of mindfulness, faith, and love for myself. It wasn’t until I truly developed a spiritual foundation that I realized that I am fine just as I am. Any house, job, relationship or possession could come and go, and I would still be fine.
This brings me to the concept of impermanence. As the article mentioned:
“If we can accept impermanence, then we are not so surprised when our external world is what it is—undependable. Rather, we realize this is so, and we find something underneath that is more real and solid.
Buddhists believe that the one thing we can learn to depend on is our own self. We learn that instead of chasing experiences or people to fulfill our needs, we attend to them first. This is done by becoming tender in this moment.”
Lately I have gotten aggravated (it’s my own sensitivity) when old friends or acquaintances ask how I am doing; I know that they are expecting me to give them some grand answer about my love life, my career, or some other major life event. My answer is usually pretty consistent…
“Life is good. I’m enjoying Boston and have been writing a lot.”
Simple. People- the mainstream people- seem very confused about my lifestyle. The “earthly” way that our society validates one another is by what we have, who we are with, and where we’re at in life.
Can’t we just be okay as we are?
Perhaps it’s easy for me to practice impermanence, since I don’t have a child, partner, mortgage or possessions holding me down; but I do have the most important gift of all: comfort within myself. Many people are surprised to learn that I haven’t settled down with a partner, nor am very settled in Boston at all: I have just been riding the wave of life. I am still developing a relationship with myself, and that is one relationship that will never leave.
“If you let go a little, you’ll have a little peace. If you let go a lot you’ll have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you’ll have complete peace.” –Ajahn Chah