An Unhurried Journey

"Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world." -Alan Watts

Your Story

Part 1:

You wake up feeling refreshed, for once. Thank god for that. You dreamt some questionable things, among other things. Even some nice things. You usually don’t dream many nice things. Last night’s dreams are foggy though, you can only recall a picture or two and a few feelings. As you try to recall more, you feel the dreams slipping even farther away. You ponder over this. It’s a common occurrence. The harder you try, the less you remember. But lately you seem to get a feeling for it, for remembering your dreams. It takes a certain subtlety. A focused relaxation, if that makes sense.

You hover a second over that thought, then you let it go. Something, you’re not exactly sure what or where it comes from, spurs you on to start acting and stop thinking. You reach over to your phone on the nightstand to check the time. That one muscle in your shoulder blade doesn’t hurt as you grab your phone; good. It’s 6:50. You roll back over and lie on your back, enjoying the warm and comforting cocoon of feeling provided by your dreams. After a few, long moments of simply lying there without any thoughts, wants, needs or anxieties intruding, your consciousness starts to piece itself back together to its usual waking state. Bit by bit. You can tell this is happening, but you can only do so because of the new puzzle pieces attaching themselves to the whole that is you. You’re supposed to get out of bed at 7:00, but you’re the one who made that rule, so you decide to get up now.

As you get out of bed, you timidly put pressure on the sole of your left foot. You’re checking to see if your heel hurts. It doesn’t. You’re pleased by that. You’re not pleased by you focusing on negative things. It’s not about ignoring them, it’s about not giving them power. At least that’s what you took away from a book you read. As you stand there, you think about what to do first. You usually open the curtains and the windows first. Today you decide to go to the bathroom first and do the curtains and windows second. A little deviation from your regular routine. You sense an ever so slight feeling of guilt tugging at you as you make the decision. And yet, some part of you rejoices. As you sit on the toilet, still not quite awake, not quite you, you reflect on this.

This is how the day goes by. This is how weeks and months go by. Nothing really changes. You are kept in your safe and comforting loop of needs, wants and anxieties. You keep yourself there, drifting along. The constant analysing and introspection gives you a false sense of control. Sure, the world around you changes. Your job changes. Your friends change. And yet, they don’t. In rare moments when your honest to yourself, you realise it’s all the same. Until you make a decision. You decide you don’t want to live like this anymore. Half asleep, being dragged along. You want to try something different, something true. This is how your story starts.

Part 2:

As you step out the front door, as you make that first, jarring, dreadful, anxiety-inducing, in some ways downright frightening step into the world, you don’t know what’s going to happen. But that’s the point. You don’t want to know what’s going to happen. You want to be surprised, to not know what tomorrow will look like. You want to go to sleep and look back on the day, thinking back to where you were this morning when you woke up, to who you were, and feel like you’ve lived an entire life in the span of a single day.

You want to finally feel alive, to see, taste, feel and experience everything life has to offer. You understand that this is a package deal, that there can’t be anything pleasurable and beautiful, anything that you want, anything good, without its counterpart, without there also being something horrible and ugly, something you desperately want to avoid, without the bad.

This frightens you. But somehow, somewhere deep inside of you, even though you’re not yet able to articulate any of this, you know. You know that to truly start living, you have to let go. You have to accept life. You have to fully trust the untrustable. To completely surrender yourself to it.

As you’re on your way, floating along, opening up to people, to experiences, to yourself, you stop constantly frustrating yourself by chasing happiness, all the while desperately trying to avoid anything uncomfortable, anything that might cause you pain. Instead, you delve into all of it, preferring the intensity over the dull safety the alternative provides.

You stop trying to force things, to control your story. Because you see that this is a fallacy. That the you that is trying to control doesn’t exist. You discover what you actually are.

To be unbound by the past, creating yourself anew in every moment.

Context:

I wrote part 1 of this (whatever this is) pretty much exactly a year ago.

I recently discovered it on my computer. It was a file titled “writings” on my desktop. Intrigued, not remembering what it was, I double clicked the file, no idea what to expect. I was perplexed to discover a piece of writing I had seemingly done for no particular reason. Reading it now, I remembered it, remembered writing it. Yet somehow, reading it after all this time had passed, after all this distance had grown between me and that point in time, I understood it. Perhaps for the first time.

Looking back, I realize it was a way to cope. Writing it had helped me cope with a difficult phase in life, acting as way of expressing my feelings, of letting them out to be heard, to be felt.

Thinking of it now, I see myself in a similar situation.

For once again, I stand at a similar point. I’m home again. I have been home for some weeks. I wrote part 2 here after rediscovering part 1, finally able to understand and articulate what I wanted, needed and sought back when I first left.

And tomorrow, I’m leaving. Again. And I’m completely honest right now when I say that I have no idea what will happen, where I’ll go, who I’ll meet and what I’ll experience. But I’m excited for it. And excited to look back in another year, to see what life had in store for me. What challenges and horrors, what beauty and wonder.

Let’s go on a journey.

~~~

I finished this piece back in late September, not sure if I should actually post it. Today, for some reason, I decided to do so. I hope you can take something away from it.

Valentin Raphael

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