Friday, February 17, 2012

In Pursuit Of.....

Some days I feel the world is spinning faster than others. Perhaps it's the clouds or the clocks...or the strength of the coffee. All around me are people moving. Some are walking, some jogging, some dancing. A few are bolting as if chased by the hounds of Hades itself. I wish I could step outside of my life and see it from ten feet away...evaluate my pace. Am I racing? Meandering? Lately I feel as if I'm stumbling. We're all headed somewhere, gathering pieces along the way. A smattering of our baskets are nearly empty, while others so heavy as to strain the sinews and tear at the tendons of our spines.

All in glorious pursuit.

The happiness cake. The ingredients of this confection we're attempting to bake span the skies. Careers, family, food, church....pets and vacations. Pedicures. What makes you happy? How much of it do you need? Do your ingredients change with the holidays? The day of the week? The season of life? In my early twenties I thought that laughter and oodles of noodles were enough. Then along came children and now I need responsibility and security and effort.

I feel that at times we are groping our way, peering into the murkiness as we attempt to locate what we need. Sometimes we just grab what is directly before us, and at others we search and search; inspecting each item before discarding it, scouring the mist for something else. One love....and then another. One career....and then another and another. Hobbies and children, friends and supper groups. We sift and prioritize, seeking just the right combination.

And sometimes...just when you think it's perfect. The cake implodes. You realize that what was ideal ten years ago has grown tiresome. It's tarnished....or broken. So we replace. We improve. We bolster the center and shore up the edges....and begin again.

Recently I've been simplifying my ingredient list. Those things I've designated "imperative" are getting a reassessment. I think I'm mostly struck by how shockingly different my needs are now than a decade ago. My second husband is unequivocally the opposite of my first. (seriously, the first was 5'11", blond and going bald--oh, and he's a convicted felon. The second is 6'4", long dark hair and was Naval Intelligence....hah!) And that is only the surface. There is so much I no longer care about....and more I cherish dearly. How did my ingredient list change so drastically? Is the maturation of a human soul such an evolution that it resembles nothing of what it began as? How do I choose today knowing my heart may desire differently tomorrow?

Is peace found living only in the moment? That disturbs me a bit. I feel it is within our genetic code to plan. To imagine and orchestrate and devise. But oh, how my plans have been altered! Some by elements beyond my control...but mostly by my self. In a world where I constantly seek to understand and categorize, it is my own soul that is the enigma.

And so we traverse. The path before us lined with opportunities and possibilities. We choose, we assimilate, we relinquish. We live.

"Oh, pray that what we want is worth this running,
pray that what we're running toward is what we want."
                                                          -Lucille Clifton


Shrinky said...

Happiness visits, if we are fortunate, she will stay a while, but she can never take up a permanent residence with us, lest her gifts will fade. Her sister, contentment, is a far easier creature to capture, the less we demand, claim entitlement, the more we are thankful and aware of the blessings around us, the longer she will settle into our hearts. Although it is in our nature to strive, and it may prove healthy for us to plan ahead and set ourselves achievable goals in our life, often we over reach and push our expectations so high, that in chasing them, we must mortgage the joy of our present. It's so easy for that balance to fall out of kilter.

I am in a good place now, but it has taken me a very long time to reach here. I arrived much sooner than my brain did!

ninotaziz said...

You are describing what humanity is all about, Chantal. And that pursuit of happiness keeps us going!

A lovely read.

Out on the prairie said...

Everybody needs to look deep at what they like, often we have our lives clouded by many things we really don't need.It is the simplle things around us that we don't always look at that are always there and often don't cost a thing other than a smile.

Mel Heth said...

The U2 song "Running to Stand Still" (although about drug addiction) always makes me stop and ask What Am I Doing? What is the purpose of the constant motion? Where is it going?

It seems like we only figure it out in hindsight and then we're so busy running to the next thing, it may not matter. I guess it's about that delicate balance between just being and actually moving forward. Please post when you figure out how to achieve that!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

All we can do, I think, is make plans based on our best insights today, and then be open to change as we go along. Without that flexibility, we risk failing to take advantage of great gifts and opportunities.

Sandra's Fiberworks said...

The older I get, the more I know life will never be " perfect." and call me a pessimist, but I'm always waiting for the cake to " implode." interesting thoughts here. Following from warrior hop.

Chantel said...

Shrinky--I loved this, your eloquence is beautiful and you are so very right!

Ninotaziz--Thank you, and it does keep us busy indeed!

Prairie--Things that cost only a smile may be my favorite ones. :)

Mel Heth--HA! Oh yes, figuring out that is next on my list!

Bliss--Flexability is so important, I need to be reminded of that once in a while.

Sandra--I think once we've wrecked one cake, it's natrual to fear the diaster again. Nice to meet you!

Annette said...

Love this post. When I was younger you would see more mature adults and think they had it all together. Then here I am, a supposed mature adult, who doesn't have all the answers and is constantly trying to learn and do better. That is life. Thanks for your insights.

Anonymous said...

"my shadow's, shedding skin, I've been picking, my scabs again." Yes, to step outside one's body. Could be sobering.

le Chef said...

My cake has imploded. I've been angry, frustrated, feeling like a failure ... when maybe what I needed to do was appreciate the fact I was now covered in cake.
If you can't change your situation, change the way you think about it.
Thank you for the reminder.

You really need to write a book (If you haven't already, and are living covertly.) because your insight and words are a balm this world needs.
I think you should. Now is your time.

Chantel said...

Annette--I think we've all come to the realization that this is simply a journey, not a destination in sight. :)

BamaTrav--I know, I wonder what I would see...

Chef--I actually, quite sincerely, so needed to hear that. Recently I've been thinking of starting something... Thank you.