The nature of the wanting mind is that it is never truly happy where it is.
It obsessively clings to stories of future aspirations, travel plans or finishing the book that never got off the ground.
I was always a traveller, an optimistic escapist that wanted to solve all my problems in movement and flight. My chattering mind would fill with fantasies of that next trip that would cure my health problems, find new people to desire and miraculously attain serenity and calm. Ultimately, it was a frustrating and disheartening experience when, upon my return and a couple of grand poorer, I would slot back into monotony; overwhelmed by how much I wanted to be elsewhere, to be someone else, to feel free and alive.
Fast-forward to having a baby and a global pandemic and my world now echoes the whole world and its slightly saddening standstill. The irony of it is that despite everyone sharing the same health crisis, which comes with its very own new lifestyle and restrictions, our individual worlds are smaller, more discreet. They have shrunk to the size and length of the street we live on, to the time it takes to walk to our local shop and back, to the idea that travelling to the centre of town is a trip that needs planning and consideration.
Our worlds are smaller than they have ever been.
And yet, I feel centred and more alive.
I notice the season changing and revel in the small yet significant daily routines that feel wholesome and authentic. Warming my soul with a hearty bowl of porridge every day and a walk around the same suburban park on a different day has brought stability and ground to a rootless earlier version of me.
I am no longer spiritually bypassing life to get to the next epic revelation and instead, I look forward to studying the minutiae of changes occurring in nature on my very own doorstep.
As Tara Brach says in Radical Acceptance, “it doesn’t matter what is happening. What matters is how we are relating to our experience.”
This is what it took to wake me up to my own need for instant gratification, my topsy-turvy relationship with dopamine and the continuous drive to experience the new for the high or the hit that came with it.
The next trip, the next dress, the next coffee shop, the next friend, the next concert, the next feeling all went back to the now, and we were all forced back there by hook or by crook.
When the next stopped being so available, the now became our ally.
And just like any complex relationship, I started out resenting it but I have come to love it with the depth of my being. Because this smaller world has allowed me just to be.
This smaller world has no time for chaos, for flightiness, for stimulation. It wants peace, aliveness, good humour and love. And for now, this small world is exactly where I want to stay.