252. The Square

I’m dead tired this day and I know it because this blog about the day is written … later. On Tuesday to be exact. When I had rested more.

Time to catch up and clean up.

But a point that I’m aware of here is that I’ll also have to clean up my way of thinking about goals, so they don’t revert to the old.

I have to think of my goal to earn money from something more passionate or purposeful is not something in the future but something I do now, however little.

That, then is like a lake of reality I gradually expand until it flows over and becomes most if not all of my reality – the sea.

Before I did it wrong: I set up deadlines and then raced towards them, all the time affirming that nothing was well before I had reached the goal.

Yes, I may have to produce 100 sound recordings with my helpful guidelines and experiences on, say, how to deal with stress before I have enough audience and ‘traction’ in the crowded lanes of cyberspace to pull in a regular, say, 1000 dollars per month. So that I have to produce regularly and have a plan and a goal is not in question.

The question is, to hint at a much used but also much true, cliche – how does my path there look? Is it full of stress, thus defeating – in a supremely ironic way – my purpose in racing towards the goal. For are the 1000 dollars not meant to make me happy? But what about the first 10?

If I can’t appreciate those, how am I ever going to enjoy getting to 1000? How am I ever going to get to 1000? Or more?

No, this is wrong thinking. I have to stop the race and see life as a constant … sea.

In that sea there are reefs and whirls and storms and my job is to keep the calm and clear and warm waters as dominant as possible. And be in the sea, all the time, enjoying and appreciating and filling those parts of it again and again that I cherish.

Not to sit on the shore, desperately doing something that will make the sea entirely filled with warm, clear and inviting waters – filled with beauty and life. But refuse to go in before all that has happened.

I feel I am groping for the right analogy here. I feel I am writing and nothing coherent comes out of it. And yet … there is the outline of something. Like I started in another blog post – a new way of seeing how to ‘get to’ the goals that apparently are supposed to make me happy.

Maybe the point is that I if I have to ‘get to’ a goal to make myself happy, then I have already created many conditions for unhappiness. I have created a place for myself that, by definition, is not happy.

Again, I’m not saying 10 dollars is worth as much as a 1000. But what about the peace of mind that allows you to appreciate those 10 fully before you reach 1000, if you ever do that?

If you dismiss that peace before you have reached the 1000 … if you even invite more un-peace by trying to struggle and race towards that pinnacle where the 1000 are … then you have created a battle, a war even.

To change something desperately, in the shortest possible time, and not allowing yourself much happiness – or appreciating other things – until you are fully in that new situation you want to create.

Perhaps again the island is a good analogy.

Perhaps there was something beautiful even in the pain that underlined Cowper’s famous: “I am Monarch of all that I survey” – from the poem he wrote about Alex Selkirk.

It is about the terror of solitude, but in the end Cowper writes that Selkirk finds peace.

Perhaps he finds peace because he had to be forced to be on that island to see that he did not have to run anywhere to find inner peace and a sense of happiness (minus the loneliness, of course). He did not have to run away from his home, to seek adventure and booty on the high seas. He did not have to earn a specified amount. He just had to try to be still and be present and enjoying what was.

Obviously that does not work, except to a degree.

I don’t enjoy earning money the way I do now. Selkirk did not enjoy being alone, except perhaps at some times. He certainly did not enjoy being poor in Largo where he grew up, or what he felt was poor.

But in order then to move to a better place, you may first have to stop moving to be able to appreciate what is there in the place you are. What you already have that you need and want.

If not, what will happen once you reach your vaunted destination of, say, a certain level of prosperity?

Will you be able to appreciate that? Or just move the goal posts?

Selkirk was not able, but that is another story.

The question is if I am able and how I can square the sense of my need to appreciate the now with the need to change the now.