• Nadya Booyse

break it down

You don't need to slay the beast or scale the entire mountain. That's not how it is done. You only need to move through today. Focus on your strengths. Let each new step remind you of your freedom. Let every breath you take remind you of your power. This road has been walked before. Dance life's dance, just a few steps at a time.

I have no idea who wrote this, and my search has turned up empty. I wrote it down in a journal one day, but not where I found it or who had said it. It vibrated in relevance though, so after putting off using it until I could find where it came from, it finally insisted on being written.

In our comfortable and disconcerting rat-race, we wrap ourselves up in should's and should nots; we create lists of goals and end results as if that is what it is really all about. Life, I mean, as if it is what life is really all about.

Of course there is value in the long-term goals, like finishing a degree, running a marathon, or finishing a cake. But we seem to have turned all of life into goals: goals that take away from pleasure; goals that HAVE TO be done daily; goals that make us feel like we accomplishing things; goals that take over life, instead of adding to it.

None of these things are necessarily wrong, but we've turned these things into something to be obtained instead of enjoyed, and we do this to nearly everything that was once done because it brought joy into our life: journaling, meditation, yoga, reading, posting on social media, being with our kids, being with our partner... It's as if we have no more space to do the things that make us feel good, or no more natural space at least, so we have to book it out in our diary. A chore, something to get a tick once done (which gets a dopamine release too, you know).

Although not wrong, when not done with enthusiasm, a natural desire to do them and even prioritise them, they just don't really add to the core value of life, they just feel like something more to get to.

In my experience, our best moments, the moments where we feel truly connected and content, come from those moments when we do what the moment asks of us, rather than ticking of a chore for the day or adding more goals to our already filled up list:

It comes from prioritising the things that shape us;

It comes from creating meaning rather than trying to crowbar meaning into our lives;

It comes from the meandering on the path instead of trying to fill that step count;

It comes from playing with the kids, chatting with our partner every day, rather than careening off on the hundredth extra mural activity or counting the minutes we have to spend with them;

It comes from paying off debt and never from creating it (usually to keep up with the Jones's);

It comes from listening to our bodies and loving them deeply;

It really comes from knowing what is most important to us, and shaping our world around that, rather than letting our priorities be shaped around the world.

And yes, we may want to get to the healthier weight state, or to the promotion, or to the whatever goal we have in mind, but

a) we cannot exclude the wondrous journey of getting there; we can leave at any moment and no one will remember what we didn't accomplish and what is left undone will be left undone, but how did we connect with ourselves, our tribe, along the way; and

b) we often get so wrapped up in the goal that when we miss a day or miss the goal, we feel like a failure and we throw it all away; when we turn goals into step by step processes, or we accept that we may have been thrown off for a moment and step right back into the dance when we are able to, then we turn our goals into journeys and our journeys into life; and

c) although there is amazing benefit in structure, there is also amazing benefit in flow, and life works best when we balance these two within the meaning that we are creating; and, lastly

d) the things that mean the most in our lives, do best when they are (mostly) organically connected with.

I suppose at its core it is about dancing, rather than slaying, and about wandering rather than scaling. It doesn't mean you'll never have to scale or slay; it just means that it is not the only thing that life is about.


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