By: Bethanie Jones
I had a dream last night. I was told I was dying, and all I could think of doing was jumping into the ocean and feeling its coolness surround me entirely. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t anything, I just wanted to experience as many simple, human, earthly pleasures as I could. I wanted to hold a baby, and be in the trees. I wanted to eat something slowly and really taste it. I wanted to watch the wrinkles around my eyes grow deeper, and I wanted to be held by the man that I love. I wanted to stand on the edge of a mountain and feel the wind blow through my hair feeling a proud sense of adventure. I wanted my dog beside me.
Now, back at the office of reality, it’s been an odd day. I keep thinking about death and what it means to be alive, truly alive, on this planet. Am I spending my time here wisely or am I simply just wasting it? Why am I here? Am I living out my purpose? Do I even have one? Does anyone? How can one know if they are truly “living their best life”? While I search high and low for these answers at workshops and classes, in ashrams and endless amounts of books, time just keeps ticking on.
Sometimes, I feel like this soul work propels me forward and other times, I wish I would have just stayed blissfully ignorant like the rest of the world. I wish I could be the girl that goes to Starbucks in her UGG boots on a Saturday morning while swiping on Tinder, and not be the girl who spends most of her time alone contemplating her fears and the intricacies of the universe. I wish my lightness didn’t come with so much dark. I wish I could somehow feel free and not so heavy all the time.
Damn it, being a human is stinking hard. It’s like the minute we think we are on to something, we get a curveball to remind us that we aren’t. We feel so close to something, so close to making a breakthrough we can taste it, and yet, nothing comes. We wake up and we are in the same old place, with the same old problems. Am I not noticing inner change because I’m expecting something so profound from the outside? Could it be, that life isn’t meant to add up to one colossal pinnacle moment that reroutes the course of our lives but rather a lifetime of fairly small miracles that nudge us on our way?
What if the profound was hidden in the simplicity? What if it’s about slowing down to notice what is already here, as opposed to creating something else? What if all we were put on this earth “to do” was to simply experience it? How well would you be accomplishing that task? When was the last time you watched a sunset without taking a photo to post on social media? When was the last time you met a new person and learned about them organically via gradual conversation, instead of immediately cyberstalking for quick answers? Can we put the technology down and be present?
I have a friend who would make everyone at dinner put their phones in the center of the table. It felt uncomfortable to me at first. It was almost as if I was giving up something that was private to me. Something that was mine that I owned. That little device distracted me every time I felt something and I needed it. Even worse, now I’d have to look someone in the eye and actually have a conversation? Umm no thanks. Now, more than ever though, I crave that kind of interaction. The authentic kind. The real kind. The kind that might make you feel a little uncomfortable, but in a good way. The kind that actually makes you feel something. The kind that makes you feel alive. The kind that makes you notice the softness in someone’s eyes or the way they flush when they get bashful.
Take a minute to think about what worldly pleasures you might be missing. What would you crave to experience, should someone tell you your time on this earth is about to be up? Who would you be spending your time with? What would you be doing? How would you be interacting? What have you not done that your soul is still aching to do? Ponder any unfinished business you might have with yourself and others. What ties are binding you? What must you cut away to set your soul free?