This past Sunday, I took some much-needed alone time to go on a boat tour of the Miami islands. It was my second time; the first was back in 2017. I love being on the water with just my thoughts, the breeze, and of course the tour guide’s voice occasionally interrupting my train of thought.
I looked out at the mansions and the residents on their jet skis, the abyss extending out for miles, and took note of how carefree they were. Meanwhile I had a million things on my mind! Wondering where I’d be living for the next few years, thinking about my petty anger towards people who had wronged me but wouldn’t give a care in the world if I told them so. And how much I’d love to just RELAX without a care in the world like the people I was observing. That is my ultimate goal. To literally relax without a care in the world. Not worrying about getting up at 4:30 am to get somewhere on time, or so much about the consequences to my actions, just being free.
Of course there has to be a balance, but it’s nice to think about being on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. And then I remembered something my reverend father said in church at the beginning of Lent. You can sacrifice everything tangible, but if your heart is not pure and light, and free of grudges, it will all be in vain. And I really had to check myself and ask if this was the case. What was I holding onto, out here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? And why?
I have gotten better at resetting, and telling myself to let go every now and then. It is not a constant flow of release, but the flow is there nonetheless. It just feels better not holding on to preconceived notions or expectations so tightly, and going with the flow. Just like the waves of the ocean.
What are you holding onto from your past? What elements of your future are you preoccupied with? Whatever it is, just know that you can find a space in this world to release that energy in a constructive way. Volunteer at a center for those in need. Donate items you no longer use that could help the next person. Patronize your friends with small businesses. Or simply take a day to bask in it all. Recognizing these anchors and being honest with yourself is the first step in living a more relaxed and fulfilled life. Sending peace and love out there to all who need it! And don’t forget to love yourself, too.
So what do you do when you do not get what you want when you want it? How does it make you feel? Does it make you believe that all your efforts were in vain? That you were not meant to succeed or be happy? Or does it fuel your quest to ensure that next time you get it? That maybe the timing was off and that in due time your goals will become tangible?
I think the first thing most people feel is frustration and disappointment. It is a bit unnatural to just accept in that moment. Accepting that you did not get your way sort of like a grieving process. You go from denying to bargaining, the whole nine yards until finally you accept your reality. But does your current reality represent your fate? The answer to that question separates everyone who endures this circumstance. The optimist is hopeful that this is just a temporary phase in their current reality rather than permanent defeat. The pesimist accepts their fate as permanent and will likely never try again.
Does this ideology work with everything you want? Sometimes we want positions of power. Other times we desire people. When is it time to go against the grain and try to force what appears to be unnatural to work in our favor? For some it has led to success. For others it has led to quite the contrary.
Is life easier when we just accept what comes to us? Just accept what flows? Possibly so (assuming what comes to us is good). But is ease necessarily good? Sometimes it is, sometimes it can be dangerous. Ease does not stimulate growth. We do need the tugging and pulling. The seeds that are planted underground and know darkness from birth might squint in discomfort when their first leaves see the sun. But they know it is good for them. It is necessary for their survival. The rain helps them grow, too, no matter how light or heavy it may be. Perhaps what you need supersedes what you want, and the ultimate goal is to want what you need. What you want might be fleeting. What you need is your power.
Today I took a walk at a local park by my apartment complex. I had a lot on my mind, as I always do. Just random thoughts that needed solitude to sort out. This park has a lake with what seems like hundreds of ducks and storks. It gets to be so excessive that I actually have to park at a nearby church and walk over just to avoid being blocked in by the ducks (I learned my lesson after the first visit).
As I passed by the ducks, listening to Craig David’s latest album just because, a weird thought crossed my mind (and please don’t judge)-What do those ducks see when they look at me? What is their perception of space and time? In school we were always taught that the animals in nature acted according to the seasons. They would migrate to the south on the verge of winter. They would store their provisions in anticipation of the coming months of brutal cold. But what really happens in that community of life which we typically pay no mind to? Do they quarrel? Do they have dreams and aspirations of leaving home? Or are their actions just mechanic and synchronized with nature?
So I stopped and took some photos of them, as discretely as I could. And as I walked my path, I felt as though we (myself and the ducks) had some sort of agreement. I would stay out of their way, and they would stay out of mine. And we would exist in our respective microcosms of the world.
After thinking all too profoundly about this matter, I just ended up people-watching. Several children and their parents were present, the former wrapped up in some playground game that adults would not understand, the latter wrapped up in some conversation that children would not understand. And then there was me, just walking, with a purpose undefined, but a purpose nonetheless.