In the late 90’s I took an eight week Mindful Meditation class. Before I could enroll the instructor asked me why I wanted to do it. I said I wanted more joy in my life. His response was “my 80 year old Jewish Zen master defines joy as the present moment with nothing added”.
This wonderful bit of wisdom helped me begin the process of truly understanding the energetic play of being content with my current life and work situation while also feeding my desire for more – growth, excitement, change, passion, accomplishment, money.
Several times in my life leading up to that moment, I would often feel and say that I was happy and content with my ordinary daily life. At the same time, I was having thoughts and exhibiting behaviors that would ultimately totally upend the ordinary life I was truly content with. (Details withheld to protect my new reputation.)
This happened because I made decisions about my current life by focusing on what else I wanted and didn’t yet have. This thought that my life would improve if I just had more money, a different job, or a different person in my life kept my energetic focus on what I didn’t have rather than what I did. At the same time, when I took the time to be present, I was almost always content to be in that place and time.
In his book, Heart Aroused, David Whyte says “we must make a hearth and home at the very place where the life we feel we are stuck with and the life we desire meet and overlap.”
The challenge is to not misinterpret the desire for more as a complete negation of the joy we feel in the present moment and the gratitude for what we have in our life right now. My past thinking went something like this – If I feel and recognize my current contentment, I will somehow stop my forward progress and miss the opportunity to live my dreams.
Reaching for and achieving a big vision is not limited or hampered by deep satisfaction and contentment for your current life. Recognizing and being grateful for all that lights you up in your current situation provides the grounding energy to help you create the next vision. The desire for expansion coupled with lights-on daily living creates aliveness energy that not only pulls you to a bigger vision but also creates a more enlivened present.
Lights-on today and lights-on about tomorrow,