I was talking to my brilliant friend Annie the other day on the phone. I told her I wished I wanted to live in San Diego where Mike works but I don’t and it sucks because I beat myself up about it and I wish I could just meet whatever arises with contentment or at least equanimity and I wish I could stop Zillow-ing houses I know I’ll never buy or never even really want to buy and what the heck?
“You’re not Buddha!” Annie said, with conviction. “You’re a freaking person,” she said. “You can’t want what you don’t want. You can’t decide to want something and then make it so. I don’t care how many headstands you do.”
“Well then what’s the point of all this personal growth work I’m doing, if not to change?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you’re better off just getting a mani-pedi. At least then you’d have supple cuticles.”
“Great,” I said.
It really does burn that I can’t will myself into the appropriate emotion for a given set of circumstances. I can’t that’s-a-good-idea-myself into desire. But I can get comfortable. I can get more information. I can dip in. I can inch forward. I can have faith, go slow, take it easy, and see what happens. I can do much less than my instincts suggest. I can notice the fog and fantasy and nightmare my mind creates out of nothing. I can pat myself mentally like a skittish horse. Gently, gently, there, there, that’s where we’re going. It’s okay. Walk. Pick up one foot, put it down a bit in front of the other. Pick up the other foot, put it down in front of the first one. Repeat. Be where I am while I’m doing that. Ask for help with all of it. Forgive myself. I am a person.