Have you ever watched a documentary about addiction where the addict is telling the camera crew that someday he will quit? Someday he’ll settle down, he’ll get a job and then he will happy. Someday, if he can just get a break he can break his addiction. If he just had some money, he could change his life. And all the while he’s telling us that in the future things will different, his eyes are starting to close and his head starts to nod as he plunges the syringe into his vein.
Obviously, we can all see that drugs are part of the problem and I am certainly not implying that they aren’t contributing to his situation. However, we all do this and that’s the real kicker. We’ve all thought that if we could just get that car we would never be sad again. We tell ourselves that if we can be more like our friend Karen that we will be happy; we expect that if we get to that point, we will be happy.
But happiness is not something we can find. Happiness is the result of overcoming suffering to achieve something that you can be proud of. Happiness is the light that comes out of darkness, the hero that comes from war, the child that comes from the incredibly painful process of childbirth.
Take volcanos. Volcanos are one of the most destructive forces on this planet, taking out entire cities and forests, burning all that it touches and charring the ground beneath it. But once everything cools, something amazing happens. Volcanic soil is extremely rich in nutrients. The area that was once blackened with ash becomes a literal living laboratory for evolution. Lava flows become lush gardens and rich habitats.
As they say, “from the ashes rises the phoenix”. And to rise implies action, not something that just “happens”.
We have become increasingly talented at avoiding reality. We fill our minds with Netflix or perhaps hide from our panic with sleep. We solve the short term, soothing ourselves for the now without ever really considering that our problems will only meet us again in the future. The worst part is that we are totally aware that we do it but trade in our future for one moment of bliss. We know we have problems that we have left unsolved yet we choose to find reasons as to why we cannot solve them.
We seek success like we are trying to find God. Success becomes something that is obtainable in the future like some kind of carrot on a stick. We’re programmed to think that. Society has managed to wire our environment for wish lists and must haves. Success no longer resembles a long process of trials and tribulations, a goal to set and achieve but something that just happens and something we all deserve, no matter if we are willing to put in the action and effort. We are left dreaming of great results without ever thinking to confront what process we need to take to there and the pitfalls we will encounter along the way. Without ever realising that success can be present tense too.
So let’s connect with what we really want, what we really value and use this as our compass when things get tough. And if we get half way and realise that the effort isn’t worth the outcome, that’s okay. It’s knowledge we can bank and use for the future. It’s another hole in our belt, another insight to what makes us us.
And that is beautiful.