I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday about the simplicity and ordinariness of life. We were discussing how the perception of ‘exciting’ lives on social media can leave one feeling that all of life is supposed to be a party and that something is missing if you are experiencing something that you wouldn’t be posting about on Instagram or Facebook. He stated that he believed that one reason people might be reluctant to go out is that they might think that either their experience won’t live up to their expectations or they won’t be able to show themselves as ‘happy’ as they like to appear in social media postings, so they’d rather hibernate than go in public and be real with a fuller and more authentic range of emotions.
I was reminded of John Lennon’s statement that ‘life is what happens when you’re making plans’ and thought about how there is no aspect of your experience that isn’t your life. The previous weekend I had towel washed and mopped my floors – a deeper clean than I’d done in a while – and I enjoyed it. While washing dishes is not my favourite thing to do, I can enjoy the process of doing them. There are no ‘in between’ times – while we are alive, we are living our lives. Expectations of what we should be doing and how things should be are a sure-fire way to limit one’s actual enjoyment and experience.
Some of this came up in conversation the other day when I met with a friend of a friend who is familiar with my postings on my public Facebook pages, and she said that she had to admit she was a bit jealous of my lifestyle, to which I replied, “I sometimes wish I were living that kind of life too!” – meaning that it’s not always what it appears. Yes, I travel a decent amount, although I actually like traveling more than that (I can be satisfied and grateful with what is AND also wish for more), and the highlights that are posted about aren’t the full movie: there are quiet times, there are questions, there are issues to be dealt with… yes, I am well trained at navigating and resolving these, and nevertheless challenges still exist. That’s the nature of reality. Unfortunately, we are brought up with ‘happily ever after’ fairy tales that make us think that once we get to a certain point, ‘problems’ disappear.
In fact, ‘problems’ disappear when you stop seeing circumstances as a problem but simply as a situation on your journey and asking yourself how you can navigate these in a well way (and listening for the answer…).
Similarly, Feng Shui doesn’t eliminate all ‘problems’. It doesn’t make everything ‘perfect’. It does bring more alignment to where it was lacking so that things can start to go more smoothly – sometimes far more smoothly than we ever imagined. But our perceptions can certainly get in the way, and the invitation is always present, as we make changes to our outer world with a specific intention, to revisit limiting beliefs and to practice a new way of being. And it is not a ‘one time’ thing – it is a continual evolutionary process to engaging with your environment and your life.
Despite the public perception of Feng Shui as a ‘quick fix’, I see it as a much deeper practice of ongoing integration. Yes, you can get fast results for sure – but that doesn’t mean that everything is fast or that if things take time supportive changes aren’t happening. Needing to know how/when/why things are happening is a great way to get in your own way. Letting go of the need to known and simply staying attuned to what is happening without needing to understand can open up possibilities beyond expectation.
The art pictured here by the Imaginary Foundation captures one key aspect of the issue: the mystery – the unknown – occurs where ‘something’ and ‘nothing’ meet (or is perhaps a transcendent state off the something/nothing dichotomy). Those who think that nothing is happening in their lives are lacking a connection to the mystery of existence and the very fact that they are alive; those who are always engaged in ‘something’ might not have time or mindset to recognize the mystery that is ever-present. That mystery can be tapped into while doing ‘nothing’ like washing the dishes (it’s actually still something) or while doing ‘something’ that you enjoy – and there’s no guarantee in either state that you can embrace it. But it is there and it is possible. Not judging or avoiding anything in your experience is a great first step towards embracing the mystery.
To cultivate the mystery at home, cultivate ambiguity with creativity by displaying abstract art and asymmetrical arrangements, and stimulate the senses with inspiring displays, art, aromas, and sounds – these serve to welcome the mystery of existence into each moment.
May you embrace your entire life and its fullness of expression in every moment!