“There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a Master to help him. He went to the master and asked, “Master, if I meditate 4 hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate 4 hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in 10 years.”
Thinking he could do better, the man then said, “Oh, Master, what if i meditated 8 hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?”
The Master looked at him and said, “If you meditate 8 hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in 20 years.”
”But Why will it take me longer if I meditate more?” The man asked.
The Master replied, “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend 8 hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you wont enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love and be happy.”
Excerpt from: The 4 Agreements- by Don Miguel Ruiz
I have spent a good portion of my life ignorantly thinking I could control a great many things.
I have wasted so much of my life’s energy thinking that my exceptional work ethic and strong will power could cause the plant in my garden to grow faster-simply because I stared at it longer, thought about it more than anyone else, in more ways than anyone else, watered it the exact “right” measurements, in the perfect soil that I studied about…etc.
Then this thing called “weather” happened. Over and over again in fact. Sometimes without warning. Just (WHOOSH. COLD FRONT) Oh and also, that seed wasn’t a good one. It was split and counterfeit. Oh and you didn’t notice but a bunch of ant colonies live underneath your freshly plotted garden, and that soil? It doesn’t work in this climate. and that fruit? You can’t live off of that fruit alone…and you’ve filled half of your garden space with those seeds but they are going to overtake the other plant because its a vine, and this one is a bush, and that one is a root and it wont grow next to the…. THEN, it actually turns out that you are allergic to the fruit once you harvest it all. By all of course, I mean the parts that didn’t get eaten by the hungry animals that snuck into the garden and snacked, while you slept…
This is kind of what “teenage years-adulthood-marriage-parenthood-single adulthood” has taught me. That hyper controlling coping mechanism I used to get me OUT of my unhealthy circumstances of younger years, was just ONE of a whole Home Depot online inventory of tools to choose from. Control became my favorite tool for a very long time. It was my screwdriver. And I was good at it.
But how much construction can you do with just a screwdriver?
The answer is easy to give because I tried. My ambition to live in complex structures full of beauty and fine detail are not achieved via screwdriver alone.
Over time I’ve had to answer over and over again: What do “I” REALLY want. And how is “THAT” made.
I have associated with others who were crafting their homes in ways I wanted, and learned little tricks and trades from them. I’ve paid and had free instruction on what tools they use, and how they used them. Then of course, I had to find a way to acquire those tools myself, and take the chance of practicing using them to see if it worked for me and my life’s structure. *what a freaking experimental process*
How many mistakes do you think I’ve made in life with my attempts to master these two analogies? Gardening and Construction?
I’ll wait…. 😉
…Yeah. I am STILL making mistakes.
They just aren’t “as stupid” or “dangerous” as when I first took on the endeavor at 15 of being an autonomous human, accountable for the life I am creating. Whether it is a “structure” or a “garden.”
I’ve gotten much more experience. “What to do and WHAT NOT TO DO.” I’ve acquired more tools, I’ve networked helpful hands, and proactive boundaries to protect this life/garden/house of mine. I’ve learned what I’m naturally better at. And most importantly… I’ve kind of accepted there is “WAY -SUPER- LOTS” *technical term* that I cannot freaking control.
Focusing on what I can control, and taking it one day at a time seems to actually be the most sane way to go about this ambitious life undertaking. (imagine that)
How do I enjoy the process though? The in between of beginning excitement and the end reward? *aka the REALLY long middle part that takes up most of the time between any start and end point?*
Well it’s pretty annoyingly simple to say, but complex and fun to try and accomplish.
I look for, and try and find the Love in everyday.
I am building “my” structure. So I’m going to be adding things like a double loft in the living room because I want it. And that excites me. Because I am building what “I” actually want. Not the cookie cutter layout life I was programmed to want. This makes the building part, more fun in the middle.
Instead of just planting “the things every good woman in America plants…” I am planting what “I” want to plant, watch grow, work on, and harvest. So now the whole process can have joy in it.
Because it is “my” life, “my” home and “my” garden. More true each day to the way “I” want it. As Glennon Doyle phrases is: MY most true and beautiful life.
See how that works? I’m not telling you how to build or what to plant. I’m just sharing with you how much happier I am now that I don’t think I can manipulate nature, or now that I don’t just use a screwdriver to solve all my problems. I build what “I” want. I literally just take big things and big feelings…one little step at a time.
As someone dear to me says: “Well Yeah…Is there any other way to do it silly?”
Love in. Love out.
Love you sweet/silly thing,