{personal journal} Thoughts on smothering life.

“We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic.” - Susan Jeffers

It’s strange when I get what you ask for. It’s as if I don’t know what to do with it. And magically – when I get what I’ve been yearning for, suddenly there’s a new problem that fills up the short-lived vacant space where my prior problem was planted. I’m starting to see that it’s not coincidence, but a working of my brain – some sort of conditioned response to always have something to worry about. 

I suppose it’s up to me to navigate my perspective, to choose the life I’m living. I don’t want to be in a constant state of “If I only had this” or “I’ll be happy when this is over” or “when I get to this amount in my savings, I’ll feel safe…” and the list goes on. 

I’m learning that it’s not the conditions that decide our aptitude for joy, it’s our mindset. More specifically, it’s our ability to pay attention. I don’t say this from the perspective of a teacher or coach, but instead as a student – one who can never seem to get their homework done, believing that a 20 minute cram session at the beginning of the day will do the trick.

I came to Oaxaca expecting all of my frustrations, worries, stresses, self-doubt and annoyances to disappear. I thought “If I can only get there (or at least out of here) I will be much happier.”

Of course when you go somewhere new (or buy something new, etc) there are a handful of hours where you’re distracted from yourself – the new smells, colors and warmth cover them up until you get settled. You wake up the next day to find that the thoughts you hoped to leave behind made it through baggage claim just as your physical self did, and they’re here to crash your party.

I keep thinking I’m not making the right decision. Not the decision to be here in Oaxaca, but the hundreds of small decisions I make every day. This may be a trait of my newly diagnosed ADHD, but I’m also starting to understand that I’m incredibly too hard on myself.

I’m always trying to do things in the perfect order… to do the things that make the most sense, that will have the most return, that will be the most productive and at the same time result in the largest number of life’s most enjoyable “little things”.

Appreciating the “little things” in life has somehow turned into this sort of unforgiving pressure to constantly create those “little things”. 

Because I always want to make the most of every moment, I am often stuck in limbo. I find myself unable to choose which chair to sit in when I walk into a cafe, spending an hour (or more) searching for a restaurant when I could’ve been walking the street to see what finds me.

I can’t decide which tones to use to edit the last photo session I have, so I simply shut my laptop and put it off until guilt forces me to finish them.

Should I buy this mug? No! What if I find a better one later?

Should I highlight this line in my book? No! What if I find a more impactful sentence on the next page?

Should I text my uncle back? No! Wait until you’ve got something more meaningful to say.

Should I do yoga in the morning? No! You’ll be wasting time that you could otherwise use to read!

Should I back up the photos off of my phone? No! Wait until the end of the month when it makes more sense, so that can be your new monthly routine. 

Completely stifled by the inability to make a decision, I’ve been feeling like a fraud. Like someone who always says how beautiful life is, but secretly smothers it to death behind closed doors. 

So, I’ve made a couple tough decisions over the past few weeks in order to make space in my mind for growth, peace and whatever else comes my way. Now that the space is here, the real magic/work begins. 

In this moment, that magic consists of paying attention to the tiny flowers placed on top of my avocado, the fact that the two tortillas I was given are different colors, and that just when I get a little too hot – the wind gives me some grace. 

There’s a billion different ways I could be spending this moment, each with their own bundle of beautiful little things, but right here is where I am, or trying to be at least, and that is a gift.

Thank you for sharing this imperfect journal entry with me, which I almost didn’t share (or even write) because it could be even more well said, it could’ve been shared at a better time, in a better way, with a “more meaningful” image… poco a poco. 🖤 

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