I started 2020 quite unusually – the first week of the year I went on holiday with a group of women that I did not know (well, except one of them :)) with a purpose to set up the goals for 2020 and turn them into actions. New country, new people, new experiences – all sounded really great! And yet… I found myself surprised how easily I still could fall into old patterns and my own pitfalls even during the most positive experiences.
I used to think that years of various practices and “work with yourself” should make a significant difference for good. Once one has learned a bit of mindfulness, he should be able to stay positive and optimistic forever. Well… Instead of that I keep discovering that it’s more like being an onion – there is always another layer for improvement. So, there I was: on the other side of the world, laying on the beach, creating plans for 2020 and getting p***ed off with some of the questions and tasks that I had to do… And then the entire range of emotions kicked in. Natural and unfiltered. Including anger, anxiety, disappointment and the sweet self-pity. As one of my holiday friends commented: “I haven’t seen some of those expressed probably ever”.
In the beginning, I admit, I was quite a bit disappointed with myself. The very reasonable thought was that “after all these years of practice and effort I still fall into emotional range…” As if being mindful would eliminate the fact that I am alive human being. Then I had to choose whether to stay in the capable hands of self-pity (because, apparently, I am not a perfect goddess) or get out of there and concentrate on the question whether I want to be a goddess at all 🙂
Hence one morning I woke up quite early (because it’s not easy to sleep when anger and hopelessness are caressing you) and simply went out for a walk. Early morning, sun going up, barely anyone on the white sand beach, soothing ocean and me… Sounds like a movie except that initially I was marching like a soldier who’s on a mission to harm his worst enemy. I was angry, disappointed, sad… And then out of a sudden I spotted crabs running around me. Most of them were running to hide to the water, others were accidentally passing by on the sand. I realized that I haven’t even notice them for some time, while being in my head rather than on the beach…And then, like a real tourist, I took my phone and started following them 🙂 Some of them appeared really friendly (if I ignored the fact that probably they were in panic just to see a giant creature stalking them), othes were too quick to get. After I was done with crabs, I noticed some seagulls who were so indifferent with my presence that I barely could believe that. I definitely appreciated their kindness to move aside and give me the passage as they were busy with simply watching the ocean…
Once seagulls were behind my back I suddenly stopped and without any reasonable explanation sat down for meditation. I realized how incredibly happy I was simply to be there and experience all the beauty of that particular morning. I jumped into the ocean, noticed the fisherman catching a fish, got completely zoomed out in the moment. And then, out of a sudden, all those “not so positive” emotions were gone. Just like that. I know, it sounds like a BS chick-flick scenario, but, oh well, what can I do 🙂
My way back was completely different. The marching soldier was gone, the happy kid was back. I remembered the words of my new friend: “Darling, life is for living”. Hallelujah, indeed, it is! It appears that life itself is not something to think of, it’s something to experience. It is not about being “good” or “decent” but about enjoying to the max (whatever “enjoying” means to you)!
I remembered how, years ago, I was constantly “working” on myself… I thought I had to be perfect, very well educated, mastering all etiquette rules, with extremely sharp mind and exceptional discipline in order to be worth relaxed life. I turned myself into feelingless robot who new descriptions of relaxation and pleasure but could not feel them anymore. And now… when the mind is not buzzing with instructions what I have to do, it appears that chasing a crab in the middle of the desert can be the most joyful event on earth! When you feel it, instead of thinking of it.
“Darling, life is for living” means that there is no point to avoid the adventure, to skip a piece of pie or to get another new dress. It means that there is a point to meet a friend for a dinner even though you do not eat after 6, to live to the max and to indulge yourself with whatever that feels right. Yes, my friend, “life is for living” calls you to be here and now in order to enjoy the full assortment that life is offering.
It invites to feel the entire range of emotions, so that you know what it is and when someone comes to you with a broken heart or anxiety attack, you know exactly how that feels and can offer real support instead of multiple fake phrases on how it’s “all gonna be all right very soon”.
“Life is for living” is not about being happy and positive all the time. Oh no! It is about collecting experiences, discovering the unknown and, most importantly, being honest with yourself. It is about feeling and thinking, crying and laughing, learning what the word “living” means specifically for you, because there is no description that fits everyone!
For me this beautiful phrase also talks about the fact that it’s time to stop fixing myself and start enjoying my unique identity. It is not about NOT falling into my old patterns, but more about the time it takes me to get out of there, because only then I can see my growth and spot the change. It’s not about avoiding mistakes – on the contrary! It’s about realizing that so called “mistake” is the best thing that can happen because through that I gain my experience and learn. And as wise people say: we live while we learn 🙂
The truth is that it’s not the first time I realize this universal truth. It’s definitely not the first experience about living here and now. Surely, I’ve experienced that before. But differently. Thus, I’m being reminded of it. Again and again. With a completely different intensity, leading to the discovery of yet another onion layer. And I know that this was not the last time, there will be more “Eureka” moments:) Not because I’m bad learner but because this is the way for me to realize my growth.
In the meantime, phrase “Darling, life is for living” found it’s place on my fridge. It makes me smile every time I look at it, reminds of a dear friend who told it to me 🙂 Thal lovely post it encourages me to enjoy even more moments the way I want.