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Posts Tagged ‘the power of now’

Eckhart Tolle is changing my life.  

By which I mean – reading his books is changing my perspective.  Which is actually so much more important than any external change in circumstances.  Without a change in perspective we just keep repeating the same patterns in different ways.  A fundamental change in perspective is much more transformative – most importantly of the inner life, but this can’t help but then flow over into external life circumstances as well.
 
Those of you who have followed my writing for a long time know that I have spent most of my adult life searching.  Searching for…. what?  Purpose, meaning, my place in things, the reason for it all.  Searching for my ‘yes’.
 
In reading Tolle recently, he summed up perfectly the mistake I had been making in all of this for so many years:
 
Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.
 
Seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Reading that sentence was like the universe handed me a note entitled: What You Have Been Doing Wrong.  I’ve spent my whole adult life seeking and believing that the search was noble, that the search was the whole point of life.
 
In fact, I have been missing the point.  Happiness is not out there.  Happiness is a natural state of being that resides only and ever in the now, and is covered up by unhappiness, searching, confusion.  You cannot find it.  You can only become aware of it in each moment.  Trying to find it only perpetuates the confusion, the sense of lacking that blocks the awareness of its presence.
 
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself in any moment is: “In this moment, what is lacking?”
 
If you focus purely on the present moment – not your wider life situation, not the moment before or the moment after but always and only RIGHT NOW – I think you will find that the answer is pretty much always: nothing.
 
Nothing is lacking.  You are whole unto yourself in each moment.  There is nothing you need seek.  Seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  In letting go of the need to seek, you become aware of a peacefulness beneath the seeking that is really much more fundamental and pure than ‘happiness’.  Happiness, really, is a human invention.  Who and what you are just is. 
 
And that is more than enough.
 
Mastery of life is not a question of control, but of finding a balance between human and Being.
~ Eckhart Tolle
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So last year was about acceptance – accepting myself as I am and being true to my own self, rather than needing to live up to some external expectations (or my perception of what those external expectations may be).

And this year has built on that theme, but also introduced the idea of what I call ‘stickability’ – the value in just sticking with something, seeing it through, creating a solid foundation and continuing to build on it, rather than running from one thing to the next.

So it’s about the time of year when I start thinking – I wonder what the theme for the next year will be.

I think it is something the year will reveal to me as it goes, but my prediction at this point is this: that next year will continue to build on the themes of acceptance/being true to self, and stickability, and that it’s own theme will be this revolutionary idea – that it is possible to be happy.

I think it will build further upon the perspective I have been gaining on the true meaning of happiness – that it does not lie out there in the future or in the achievement of some specific thing, but that rather it lies inherent in every moment, waiting to be experienced and opened up to.  That the real happiness lies in the doing, not in the have done.  And that it lies simultaneously in both the small moments of life, and also in the committing of yourself to something larger that you truly believe in and can feel proud of.

I feel at a really good place in my life and my self at the moment.  And it sure has been a long, hard road to get here.  But I’m learning, and just over the last few weeks really, I have begun to really open up to and embrace my own self.  The smallest things, that would probably sound silly to anyone else, are to me hugely positive markers of my change in perspective and increasing sense of wellbeing and self acceptance and love of life.

I am accepting that my body needs fuel, and that I am no longer a teenager and don’t have to look like one, and that I may not always be a size 8, and that it’s ok to have a woman’s body, and I am more ok with this than I have ever been.

I have come to a radical new acceptance of my hair and truly learnt what it means to embrace yourself entirely as you are without modification.

I have come to a new peace with all the parts of myself – the part that is excited by emergencies and medicine, the part that feels at home in poetry and literature, the part that loves to party and meet lots of awesome and interesting new people, the part that likes to sit at home on my own with a cup of tea and a good book.  I’ve discovered that all those things can dwell together as a part of me, that I don’t have to choose one or the other but can embrace all aspects of myself.

I feel like my life is finally becoming rooted in a sense of purpose and direction, and that I may finally have stumbled upon something I can believe in and devote myself to.  And also enjoy!!

I have discovered that I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be – but I am good, and maybe that is good enough.  I’ve discovered that I actually like myself and that I’m fine just as I am.

I have discovered that life is actually pretty good.  And that maybe it is actually possible to be happy.

So I’m looking forward to the next year!  And I’m enjoying the end of this one.   In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my glorious weekend in my favourite city and look forward to work on Monday.  Yes, I did say I am looking forward to work.  Life is good 🙂

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Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek,
but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

~ Martin Luther King Jr

For years, I had a blog called “Emily’s Quest”.  I decided that the title of that blog, which has summed up my entire approach to life so far, epitomises exactly why I have had so much struggle with life.

“Emily’s Quest”.  It suggests that I am somehow searching for something I don’t have, ‘questing’ for some answers I will never find.  It suggests I am wanting some kind of destination or answer more than I want the moment I already dwell in.

I decided what I need is not a change of circumstance but rather a change of mindset.  I do not need to reach some specific goal or destination.  There is no holy grail at the end of the quest, without which my whole life journey has been in vain.  Rather, I have looked down and realised I have held this holy grail in my hands the whole time. 

I am already alive.  In every moment, I have arrived.  I don’t need to wait for life to begin.  It is already here, and every moment is available to me to enjoy or not, as I please.

So no more questing.  But that does not mean to stop living or to stop exploring – quite the opposite.  It means to view each step along the way as worthy in and of itself.  It means to love each moment as it is, rather than as it was or should/could be.

For all my pontificating on the value of the present moment, it has only really hit me in the last couple of days what it really means to live that truth as a reality.

So instead of questing all the time for something else, instead I choose to say YES to life, and YES to every moment within it.

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

~ Souza

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I have had enough.

Enough running, enough searching, enough trying, enough becoming – enough questing. I have had enough trying to be something different than what I am. Enough trying to become – to become better, different, worthy. Enough trying to redeem myself for sins I can’t identify, enough trying to prove myself, enough trying to justify my very existence. Enough sacrifice, enough study, enough self-depreciation, enough of men who reinforce a sense of worthlessness, enough of believing in worthlessness myself. Enough of being an octagonal peg, an irregular peg, an Emily-shaped peg, in a square hole, a round hole, a triangle hole – in somebody else’s hole. I thought if I made a career out of saving other people’s lives, caring for other people, meaning something to other people – ignoring all the things I love and that make me who I am, to become the life-saver, the giver, the worthy saint – that then maybe I would be enough.

I am enough.

I am enough right now, just as I am, today. I have nothing to prove, nothing to redeem, nothing to make up for or make better. Of course I can continue to grow, to grow into myself, into all the space beyond that my body aches to fill- but that doesn’t mean I have to fundamentally change, to become – to become better, to fix myself, to become someone else, someone more worthy. I am already worthy of all I am and all I have and more. I am already a person. I am creative, philosophical, expansive, hopeful, loving, genuine, honest, expressive, independent, personable, free spirited, spiritual, slight crazy… I have nothing to prove. I already am.

Enough.

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