There are two things that stress me out above all else: “shoulds” and the unknown. For instance, I “should” have written this blogpost earlier. I “should” have meditated longer before eating dinner. I “should” have woken up earlier today. I “should” devote more time to my fledgling business. You get the picture. The reason I love “shoulds” so much is I like having neat, orderly paths. I like structure and discipline because it makes me feel safe. And if I deviate from the path set before me? Whoa buddy, here comes the guilt or shame!
I like shoulds because I feel like I know what to expect. Just follow the yellow brick road of shoulds and I’ll get to see the wizard, life will be grand. But I get stressed out because I get caught up in the shoulds and sometimes the shoulds are conflicting. Like, “I should devote more time to my business,” in conflict with, “I should make my full-time job my priority.” Depending who you talk to you’ll get different answers. What I lose out on when I get caught up in shoulds is myself. What do I want to do? What’s most important to me? It’s very easy for me to get caught up in trying to please everyone else, sometimes even nonexistent people, rather than pay attention to myself and my own needs. Because what will happen if I do? Will you still love me? Will I still be safe and secure?
Once I start to pay attention to myself and my needs I freak out because I’m navigating in uncharted territory. I’m no longer following the path laid before me. I’m off the yellow brick road. So I feel stressed. How do I manage my life and myself? I’m not just talking obliquely, I mean concrete things too. Starting this spiritual entertainment company? There is no roadmap. There is no, “First you do this and then you do this.” Sure, there are suggestions, there are things I could do, but most of it is pell-mell, everything all at once. And that brings me stress. A lot of stress. “What the heck am I supposed to take care of next??” I feel like I’m in a room where clothes are strewn helter-skelter and I’m traveling from pile to pile picking up one item at a time. Where is my roadmap?? Where is my guide? Can I get a handbook please? Life feels much safer that way.
I have the answers and they can be distilled down into two expressions: “One day at a time,” and “Trust in a power greater than yourself.” I could barrage myself with a series of “shoulds” right now. A whole lot of, “You should take this one day at a time!” and “You should trust in the Universe and know you’re safe!” but I won’t. Instead I know that when I’m ready to pick up the tools I’ve learned, I will. When I’m ready to say, “Hey, I have no idea what the future holds and all I can do is live in the moment,” that I will. There is no one way I “should” be. There is no “right” way to live in the world. Have you looked at a roadmap recently? There are endless paths to Paducah.
I dream of a world where we let ourselves be who we are, feeling at peace with the knowledge there are endless ways to get where we’re going. I dream of a world where we feel comfortable with the unknown because we recognize we are already safe, we are already loved. I dream of a world where we roam free, traversing the world without a roadmap because we realize the roadmap is really just a suggestion.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.