“I didn’t want temptation. I wanted the road. My questions about life and God diminished when i was biking into new territory. My purpose became where to camp, where to find food, how to avoid angry dogs, on the collapsing distance between myself and Patagonia. There was no time for other confusions.”
– Jedidiah Jenkins, To Wake the Sleeping Self
I’ve had this bookmarked for a week. Several times returning to it and another quote a few chapters earlier. Jed watches his spinning tire and wonders if it is going flat, but it’s moving so fast he cannot see the changes. “Too much movement,” he says, “and you can’t see minor changes. Until it’s too late.”
I feel like the two go hand in hand.
I don’t like pain. Heck, I don’t think any of us like pain. We just handle it differently. I do my best to avoid it. Frustrated with lack of progress on one project? Start another. Worried I’ll never make it where I want to be in life? Set goals. Make plans. Focus on the future. Get to the daily routine of camping, finding food and avoiding angry dogs to make it through the day without touching the place it hurts. And it works. Sort of. Sometimes, it even gets me somewhere.
I’ve spent a lot of my life fighting for fulfillment. It’s always been just outside of reach. To be found in that special someone to join me on this crazy adventure. Looking for that unknown combination of amazing, and whatever kind of man I need to be to find and keep her. To be found in finally publishing that first book that sets me on my way to a career in writing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a novel, a short story or a children’s book so long as one idea gets through. It will get the ball rolling. To be found in finally singing my own songs on stage before a crowd of fans. It’s my closest and longest held dream. One I’ve never felt good enough for. But get an instrument to the level of my voice and go. Surely I’ll find success and satisfaction then. The whole while I’ve been keeping my wheels spinning. Sometimes, it’s even gotten me somewhere. But the pain is always there, waiting for me to slow down while my goals stay just out of reach.
Fulfillment, however, is not found this way. I’ve been slowly learning this lesson over the past couple years. I believe as a result of divine providence. Recently, the Enneagram and my introduction to contemplative practice have given my transformation clarity and focus. More than anything, it’s slowed me down and inspired me to discover the present. That also means I’ve had to get more cozy with my pain and be honest with my emotions. Not rationalize them. Not explain them away. Not fight with them. Just acknowledge them, sit with them and try to understand where they’re coming from. It’s uncomfortable at times. Very uncomfortable at times. And at others it is amazing because I am beginning to see a world I never knew existed. I’m more aware. I’m no longer flying by at sixty miles an hour wondering if my tire’s going to blow before I get where I am going.
In Riso and Hudson’s Wisdom of the Enneagram, they write:
“Fulfillment is not the result of “getting” anything: it is a state of being that arises when we allow the richness of the present moment to touch us.”
I can only say in response that for me this has proven true, and I am exceedingly grateful. And there is so much to be grateful for.