Enjoying What I Have
I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself lately… perhaps more than would be advisable if I were obsessed with growing my audience and my business. Truth be told, I’m not worried about that right now. I’ve moved away from one-on-one coaching, and as for audiences, I’m content with reaching the people who want to be reached rather than trying to force myself onto people who have no idea what they want.
One thing has become very clear for me over the past couple of months: I can’t get what I want if I don’t enjoy what I have. That point has been reiterated to me multiple times as I take baby steps toward my ultimate goals. I know full well that my journey is what centers me in my experience of joy. My experience of joy can be heightened by achieving a goal or by the anticipation of getting what I want, but it’s the journey that keeps me grounded.
I periodically need to be reminded – sometimes the hard way – that if I’m always focused on my next step or on some nebulous arrival point in my future, I’m no longer paying attention to what I’m doing right now. That is especially true for me. I already have a natural tendency to ignore what I have to chase after the next best idea that captures my imagination, but that tendency can be taken to an extreme if I’m not consciously aware of what I’m doing.
To use a driving metaphor, every time I take my eyes off the road and my hands of the steering wheel, I get into an accident.
Most of the time my “accidents” are minor fender-benders, but sometimes my accidents are ugly affairs that leave me and the people around me deeply scarred. I simply cannot afford to stop paying attention to my thoughts or my emotions, because the consequences have far-reaching effects.
Based on what I’ve observed of human nature, I know I’m not alone. In fact, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that every human being on this planet gets into trouble the moment they stop paying attention to their thoughts and emotions. Autopilot may be good for pilots on long-haul flights, but it’s never good for our daily lives.
The big question for me became, “How do I stay aware?”
It took me a while to find a practice that works, but one thing I started doing to consciously disrupt my monkey mind tendencies is introduce small variations to my daily routines. An example of a conscious disruption is how much shampoo I use when I take a shower. Sometimes I’ll use a tiny bit, whereas other times I’ll use more than normal. I also randomly vary which hand I use to grab the shampoo bottle.
I know that the way I shampoo my hair sounds like a ridiculous thing to focus on, but that’s just one of many little conscious disruptions I use throughout my day. The cumulative effect of those little, conscious disruptions is that I’m far less likely to slip into autopilot. And I’ve found that conscious disruptions become ever more important as I age. Keeping my mind agile and alert helps me to engage myself and the people around me.
The point I’m making is that it’s important for me – indeed, each of us – to use little variations in our routines to keeps ourselves from falling into the trap of unconscious living and buying into the illusion that happiness is something to be obtained. Happiness – or joy – is neither a goal nor a destination. Joy is something that is a natural part of our daily lives. When we allow ourselves to simply BE and live our lives as best as we can, we experience joy in countless ways.
“Let it go and let it flow.” I’ve said that phrase many times, usually when talking about emotions. But I never grasped how letting go applies to getting what I want until I understood how important it is for me to enjoy what I have right now.
My big lesson: When I enjoy what I have and let go of the “need” to chase after what I want, what I want will come to me.
Let that insight guide you on your journey. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.