Have you heard or thought about that question, the big one…If you could do or have or wish for anything what would it be? It sort of translates to other questions such as, what is your purpose in life? What do you want to be? What is your heart’s desire? Wow…that is a lot of question; maybe I should start smaller, like what do I want to eat for lunch or something.
When we are asked this question I think we are given the opportunity to narrow down our focus. We are offered a chance to reflect and ponder about where we are and where we are going.
That question was part of a teaching I received the other day. There was a lot of material and by the time the class was over my head was spinning. I sat down in front of the wood stove and watched the flames lick the log. I love that glass window in my stove. I relaxed in my rocker and thought a bit on the class, and that question came to the forefront because it bothered me that when it was asked I didn’t have an answer. Nothing came to me. I drew a blank. It should be easy to answer, shouldn’t it? What do I really want? I really truly had no idea. You would think that at my age, late 50s, I would know and be solidly working toward that goal, in fact I ought to have it, whatever it is, by now don’t you think? But I didn’t even know what I wanted. In fact I never have.
That has been my main reason for this quest in Consciousness Systems. After my husbands died, yes, there were two who died, but that is another story, I did not know who I was outside their spheres of existence. I had been trying to find out who I was without them. I just had no idea which parts of me were me and which parts were theirs. Our lives were so intertwined that I didn’t know who I was.
So, I stared at the fire and wondered what I really wanted. The flames were blue, orange and gold…they licked sensually over the blackened log. The log cracked and broke open, exposing the lava rich orange of it’s interior…
Then I knew.
I wanted exactly this. I want to sit and watch the fire…but somehow differently. I wanted to be able to sit in front of this fire, to enjoy it and to NOT FEEL THAT NAGGING SENSATION THAT I OUGHT TO BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE!
The moment I had this thought it felt so right. I want to be able to sit and simply enjoy a fire without thinking in the back of my mind that I am wasting my time, that I should be doing the dishes or brushing the dog. What I want is the uninterrupted time to simply do nothing without the guilt and shame poking at me. I want to be totally in the moment of enjoyment without the nagging.
It was, as the old saying goes, a lightbulb moment. As I thought the thought I felt myself come to my center and let go of the underlying tension. I felt my body relax, soften and release the tension. To become present in the moment with the knowledge that it is perfectly ok to fully enjoy it. The dishes and dogs will wait. I want to be free from the guilt that I should be doing something else. Free from the idea that I was wasting my time enjoying my fire. Free from guilt when doing anything that is not productive or necessary. Free from guilt and the shame.
The funny thing is that I have “known” this in my mind for a long time. I just haven’t felt it at this depth. I haven’t known it in my body, my energy and my full conscious self. I only knew it in my mind…in fact it was part of the nagging, that I wasn’t doing it right.
Where does all that guilt come from? Oh, wow, how about the institution of the church and the religious righteous who taught me I should be doing something for others and not myself for starters. The teachings from school that I should be busy and always reading, doing and learning or accomplishing something. Of course my parents and family reinforced this with chores and all the various things I needed to get done. Then there is society itself with the business ethic that if you aren’t doing something…especially something to earn money or to spend it you are not doing something worthwhile.
I have noticed that many people never stop. They are constantly on the go, either just arriving home or leaving it…they rarely stay home unless someone else has come over to visit. There is so much to do. Our children are pushed into activities that are structured and scheduled. The adults cart them to and fro. The adults either have the TV or music or something on to feed the go go go in their lives. I wonder how many people just stop and fully stare into a fire. Am I alone in this?
I know I am not the first person to speak of the rush of our society and the problems it causes. I am just another drop of water in an ocean of discontent. I don’t think I fully realized until yesterday evening, sitting by my fire how constrained I was by the bridle of guilt and the saddle of shame placed ever so kindly on me. When I finally found an answer to the question of my heart’s desire it felt like a clamp let go of my heart and my body. Like I came home to me. I had never noticed the constant tension and buzz of the inner nagging. It was just there, a part of what I thought of as normal. It was the water and I was the fish who lived in it without thinking about it.
I woke up this morning feeling so happy. I am centered in me. I am enjoying taking the time to write this and I do notice there is a little nagging to go brush the dogs, but I hear it for what it is, and I know it will gradually get quieter. It is that voice telling me I am wasting my time, that I ought to be doing something else, something more important.
I am now conscious of the bridle and the saddle. There is always another thing to do. This must be what is meant by living in the present moment. I will have to see. Perhaps, just perhaps I can sit and deeply truly enjoy my fire, or choose to write this blog without thinking I am wasting my time.
Perhaps now I can create my art.