What do you want most in the world? Close your eyes and picture it. Is it love? The caress of a person you long for to be eternally devoted to you? Is it success? The accomplishment of settling into your ideal career, or getting the job of your wet dreams? Is it money? Being so wealthy that you can use dollar bills as toilet paper? Which, btw, I do not recommend because that’s one hell of a place to get a paper cut. Is it the perfect body? Being so chiseled you could cut steak with your abdomen? What is it? Let your greatest desire, your deepest want wash over you. Do you have it in your mind’s eye? Are you holding that yearning in the palm of your hand? Stroking it like a flaccid soldier you want to harden for action?
Now guess what?
You will never get it.
You will never get what you want.
I’m not saying what you want won’t happen. It’s absolutely possible that it will happen. But once you get what you want, you will not want it anymore. Not in the same way. The wanting will evaporate. The initial bliss will be replaced by being accustomed to having what you wanted. You will get used to it, and it will be impossible to remember the yearning of before. What you wanted will no longer be a desire, but a familiar part of your life that is taken advantage of, unappreciated, and expected.
I used to want to be a published writer. Salon published my first article 7-years ago. I then wanted that article to be read more than it was. After that, I wanted to write for other publications. I did. But then I wanted my articles to go viral… frowny face. I got sick of writing for other people so I started writing movie and TV scripts. I made short films. I wanted my scripts and films to get into festivals. They did. Then I wanted my scripts and films to win awards at festivals. They did. Then I wanted some Hollywood big wig call me on the phone to tell me, “You’ve got the goods sweetheart. I’m buying you a ticket to tinsel town.” Still waiting.
I once wanted a boy. I got that boy. He annoyed me. I wanted to be free. We broke up. I was lonely. I wanted long hair. I grew long hair. It got tangled. I wanted change, I got bangs, too much change. I wanted to start a business. I started a business. It was stressful. I wanted chocolate crepes with strawberries. I made chocolate crepes with strawberries. I ate too much.
You will always have something to complain about when you are in the mindset of complaining. You can always find problems. You will always want the next thing. What you have will never be enough. Nothing will ever satiate the deep need for more that lives within us.
Unless you are an enlightened being, of course, which in that case, groovy.
I am currently not enlightened, so this paradigm is something I struggle with from time to time (every day). Yet I am aware of it, and that awareness makes it less painful (not really). Contentment is a very hard emotion to cultivate, and even harder to maintain. Yet contentment is what we all need more of. Not perfection. Contentment.
Maybe that’s not the sexiest concept? How are you today? I’m content. You don’t hear that very often. But we should. That is what she should be seeking. Not happiness. Happiness is an ethereal fairy that drifts around indiscriminately like a floating dandelion seed. A more reasonable expectation of life is having total acceptance for what is and an apperception for what’s in front of you.
Feeling genuinely grateful.
Yet you have to remind yourself to feel grateful. Daily. I don’t think gratitude is our default operating system. I think we have to upload it every morning. Have rituals to connect to it. My personal strategy to access gratitude is listening to 90’s hip hop or smoking weed in nature. We all have our methods. What’s yours?
Look how tangled that long hair is!