Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dreaded "If Only"

If only I had a real job, if only I was ten pounds lighter, if only it stopped snowing...they strike again, the dreaded  " if onlies." If only {insert some life event} happened I would be happy. These two little words reek havoc. After all, is happiness truly contingent on change? Eckhart Tolle wrote, "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” I know my life is fabulous, I am grateful for all that I have: a wonderful partner and family, I live in a gorgeous home surrounded by acres of wooded land, I am healthy and I have an amazing network of friends I can call anytime I need. So why do I want more? It is hard not to slip into the negative, what is lacking in my life today, a full time job, extra money for luxury products, a newer car, a husband.  I find that if I let my guard down old negative thoughts surface.

I keep thinking, when I get that full time job I will be fulfilled. I have been looking for a full time job in teaching, a field I fell into by accident, a field which makes me happy. I love the creative aspect of teaching, the planning, and creating new ways in which to get information across. But it is a hard field to break into. I have been trying for a few years now, interviewing and receiving the dreaded rejection letter in the mail. If only I could land a full time teaching position I would be truly happy and fulfilled, and be able to pay my bills to boot. But is that statement true? Would a job really change me? Intellectually I know the answer to that question is no. As Tolle points out in many of his books, happiness is an inside job. He wrote, “Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.” Maybe I have been focusing too much on pleasure and not at all on joy. I practice gratitude on a daily basis, but even my gratitude lists contains many external things: my family, healthy, home, and my friends. Will that new job bring me merely pleasure? Is pleasure enough? What I have found is that externals can be taken away, the laptop can be stolen, the photographs burned in a house fire, the lover leaves, the car totaled. I have learned these lessons already. How do I access joy? I have a feeling that prayer and meditation might be part of that equation, accessing the interior / spiritual world, rather than the external. Is gratitude enough? This post has proked more questions than answered. But life is a process. If only I knew the answer.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Not much was taken, a few laptops, some medallions...but I now lock my door. I do not trust my home to passersby. I do not leave my door unlocked when I shower. I do not trust today.
Yesterday I came home to a disturbance: doors and cabinets all wide open, drawers rifled through, my God box violated. He had taken my laptops, one from the edge of my bed, another smaller one that had been tucked away in a bookcase awaiting the next time I traveled. My cats were hiding and my underwear was strewn across the floor. I don't miss the laptops, I miss the sense of security I had felt in my personal space. Now when I walk my dogs at night I wonder if someone is watching me, totally irrational thoughts, but they are there. 

Today, it has been a month, the laptops are still gone. They are forgotten. I have smudged my home and day by day my sense of security has begun to return. I still lock all the doors when I am at home and I am getting used to remembering my keys when I leave the house. Stuff happens, so the saying goes. It is true, what I had thought a crisis is now a memory. What I have learned from this incident, as well as a house fire a few years ago, is that material possessions really do not matter in the long run. What was impacted that truly mattered was my sense of security and peace. And really, when it comes down to it, they are not really lost, just waiting to be accessed again when I tap into them, with the help of whatever deity with whom I choose to connect. I forget that I can pray for peace, I can pray for the feelings of fear and insecurity to dissipate. In the end, what did he take? Absolutely nothing.