A Smile in My Heart: Enjoying the Journey of Now

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Reaching My Long-Awaited Goal

 

I recently reached a milestone.

 

For years, I’ve craved solitude. I’ve wanted to live alone.

 

This wanting has taken a few years to manifest from heart’s desire into physical reality. First, I’ve had a lot of financial blockages I’ve had to clear. Second, dealing with the psychological after-effects of a devastating illness (that almost killed me) has been a rather slow and complicated process. My task has been to heal layers and layers of trauma.

 

It hasn’t been easy. The self-healing work I’ve undergone has been, at times, quite rough and tumultuous. There were months when I felt stuck and frustrated, feeling like I’d never reach my goal.

 

But … now … I’ve finally reached my goal! I live alone!

 

About a month ago, I moved into a charming, cozy little apartment, on the banks of my favorite river on the planet, the mighty Maumee, the largest river to feed into the Great Lakes.

 

As I sip my tea and type to you this morning, I take a look around me. No roommate. No partner for support. Just me.

 

Just me.

 

This milestone is a deeply spiritual one. I’ve known, deep inside, the importance of this step to the “story of Anya.”

 

Living alone gives me the space and time I need for inner reflection. It gives me more silence. Less distractions. More time to meditate. More time to chant and pray. More space to discover the subtle truths of my nature.

 

This is a glorious time for learning.

 

 

Dissatisfaction with Success

 

A few nights ago, as I was washing the dishes, I found myself asking the question: “What’s next?” My mind was visualizing a chain of thoughts: selling all my belongings, hitting the road, getting on a plane, visiting ashrams, or maybe going to visit a loved one in England. My heart started pounding with excitement and anticipation.

 

But … wait a minute!! All the boxes haven’t even been unpacked yet—and my mind is already planning the next thing!!??

 

I’ve finally reached my long-awaited goal—and already I’m dissatisfied??!!

 

Instead of savoring and celebrating this milestone in my life, my mind is already a chaotic jumble of “what ifs” and “what next” questions. My mind wants to know what is ahead of this step.

 

Sigh.

 

This, my friends, is a prime example of the endless suffering of the monkey mind. Once one desire is attained, another one pops up in its place. Once one wish is granted, twelve more begin formulating.

 

In addition to over-planning, the mind loves to second-guess and doubt.

 

In the past few days, I’ve observed my monkey mind doubting whether living alone is “emotionally healthy” and wondering if perhaps I’ve wanted to live alone as a form of spiritual bypassing.

 

As I’m walking, a thought comes: “I wonder if I’ll ever get married again?” As I’m eating, a thought comes: “What if you get old and sick and no one is there to take care of you?” As I’m doing yoga, a thought comes: “You are selfish because you haven’t had children.” As I’m bathing, a thought comes: “You’re living a greedy life; you should really be living a life of service in an ashram or monastery.”

 

These questions and doubts are mind-made ghosts. They are fear-based.

 

When I sit in the clear light of peace and presence, after a meditation or during a Reiki session, I am one hundred percent sure that I have made the right choice to live alone—that this step is, in fact, a crucial part of my destiny.

 

 

 

From Planning to Patience

 

My spiritual awakening began while I was in graduate school. At the time, I was a classic Type A personality: a total overachiever, planner, competitive control-freak. My mind and my logical reasoning abilities were the crown jewel of my existence. I prided myself on my ability to strategize and get what I wanted from other people.

 

Indeed, back then I had every step of my life mapped out, with an array of contingency plans and alternate routes for “just in case.” I was the queen of planning, the queen of analysis … and, also, the queen of constant  stress.

 

Now, fast forward ten years. What is my life like today?

 

Living life now is much more from the heart than from the head. I feel into the moments of life rather than analyze them rationally. I use my intuition as my guide to discover what’s right for me.

 

The experience of watching my mind rush ahead into the future during these past few days has been a humbling experience. The overly-intellectual tendency to plan and always be looking ahead is obviously still very much alive within me.

 

And, yet, it’s been so important not to judge myself. I’ve been giving myself compassion for having these thoughts. I’ve been having patience with myself for wanting to plan.

 

 

Returning to Gratitude

 

I do not want to be angry at my mind—for my mind is simply doing what it’s been designed to do! Indeed, the mind is a brilliant machine whose purpose is to calculate risk and weigh options.

 

What I want for my life is to forgive my mind and enjoy the journey. To truly be here now. I want to commune with God here in this apartment, savoring each lesson that this chapter in my life offers. I want to dive deeply into the stillness and peace of this space—my own private little meditation cave—and discover the quiet truths herein.

 

Whatever step I take next is simply not important. Maybe I’ll get married again; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll join an ashram; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have children; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve live alone for the rest of my life; maybe I won’t.

 

The next step doesn’t matter. In fact, on a certain level, the steps after this one do not even exist! Past, present, and future are limited concepts of the limited human brain. On an ultimate level, on the spiritual level, all that is real is the timelessness that I sense now as I type these words to you. I am in the flow. I have no worries, no questions about my future. All that exists are the click of these keys, and the chirp of robins outside my window.

 

I am peaceful; I am happy; I am alone and loving it.

 

Indeed, gratitude fills my being. I have this new wonderful space, this new beautiful home.

 

I have a smile in my heart.

8 thoughts on “A Smile in My Heart: Enjoying the Journey of Now

    1. I heard you speak recently at The Center for Conscious Living..I have been a member of the center since it’s beginning…I have heard many speakers with many inspiring words. I myself have spoken twice.. Your talk pulled a heart string..it was so inspiring that it brought me back to my healing in progress..I buried my brother two days earlier and was getting ready to leave feeling I was still very much in grief for my brother. My partner said if I want to leave ,we could..I decided to just see what the speaker was all about. I am so very thankful I stayed. I felt the words and the sincerness you felt as you spoke, I started to see things in a clearer peace of mind..I too have been guilty of what I like to call self bullying. I just want to thank you and let you know you inspired me more than you can imagine..I was in the right place at the right time.i could go on and on,,my partner says I talk to much,lol and he is right.. thank you for reading my post.. sincerely, Jay Kinsey

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      1. Dear Jay,

        Thank you for your heartfelt message. I am deeply moved by all that you shared with me. I want you to know that I think it is such a special moment when speaker and listener come together in perfect harmony: when the speaker listens to the tune of the Universe and brings forth what needs to be said for the highest benefit of who is present, and when the listener prepares and opens their heart to truly receive and hear, all in perfect accord. I love knowing that that happened between us.

        I cannot imagine the grief of losing a brother. What I do know is that grief opens our heart and makes all things possible. Through death, we are reborn into the light.

        All my love, dear friend Jay. Namaste. xo

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