A Labor of Love
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
I spent today painting someone else’s bathroom.
It wasn’t the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve got to make rent next month.
For a moment I was close to drifting into the world of wanting; wanting my newly launched career as a self-employed person to be further along than it was, wanting more money in my bank account so I didn’t have to do work like this anymore.
I almost found myself desiring a situation that wasn’t my present moment, and feeling that my current situation was unjust.
And then, as I carefully dragged a brush along this stranger’s baseboard, I laughed.
Thank God for my training.
It’s been a while since I’ve written like this - free-flowing, public journal-style stuff.
Since my last post over 4 months ago, much has happened in my personal life and in my career.
While I’d love to share it all in this post, I’m sure the new resume stats would ultimately end up boring you.
What I would like to share, is the work I’ve done on myself in the past few months and some of the realizations and new ways of being that this work has brought into my daily life.
When I arrived back in Canada just before Christmas last year, after 10 months of living abroad, I was lost.
With no direction or goals in my career, personal life, relationships, friendships, diet, and fitness, or any other categories I may not have listed, I found myself feeling trapped in dark times.
Thankfully, through the love and support of the amazing people in my life, and some good old fashioned hard work, I dove into therapy and a self-development course which would ultimately lead me to living a life I love.
Past and Future, But Am I Present?
Things may not be "perfect", but I’m okay with everything the way it is.
All of this personal work has helped me realize just how much time I used to spend reminiscing the past or fantasizing about the future.
The past is complete, and there’s nothing I’ll ever be able to do to change it. The only thing I can do is accept those things I cannot change, and open up new opportunities for beautiful relationships moving forward.
This often means uncomfortable conversations with people I love about things that were never addressed at the time of their occurrence. These topics can be difficult to broach, but the conversations always lead to bright and spacious possibilities moving forward.
An even more powerful realization was that, even when I thought I was thinking about the future, I was still thinking about the past.
When I made decisions in the present while thinking about how I could bring about a desired future outcome, it was always in comparison to things that had happened in my past.
My past was dictating my future, which was dictating my present.
The end result was, the present kept passing me by.
A Moment Of Your Time
Unpacking all of this, learning to detach the past and future from my present, has allowed me to gain control over appreciating the moment.
One of the many benefits I’ve gained from this newfound perspective is an almost superhuman ability to break away from the thoughts and feelings and judgments and assessments that were created somewhere in my past, in favor of being truly present in the here and now.
Miraculously, the answers to all of life’s problems, the secret to happiness and enlightenment, exists right here in the present moment.
This moment is perfection, as was the previous one, as will be the next one. And, each one is separate and distinct, one having nothing to do with the other.
But, we as humans are preconditioned to compare.
Comparison is what ruins the moment; comparison to the past, to the future, to the person next to us.
The act of comparing is where sadness and anger and jealousy all stem from.
This realization was the key to accessing a new way of life.
The inverse of this superhuman ability has been a newfound capacity to be so utterly and completely human, as I’ve never been before.
In moments where I allow my feelings to take control over the present, I find myself moved on an exponentially greater level by the art, music, films and books that cross my path.
One example, which has made a profound impact on my life, found me within the first dozen pages of a book called Conversations With God.
In this non-religious dialogue about an author’s conversation with the almighty, he explains faith in a way that nearly brought me to tears.
Faith is gratitude for the moment, and everything it’s comprised of.
The act of praying, as we can simply define as concentrated thought about a specific subject, can only come from a place of gratitude if it’s going to do you any good.
The act of asking for something, or of wanting something (like money or love or any other example) implies a lack of having that thing in the present moment. When thinking about something that you want, you’re coming from a present state of not having it. And, since the present moment is all that matters, you will continue to create not having it for yourself in each moment until you decide that you do have it.
This simple switch in language changes everything.
I closed the book, stood up, and expressed aloud my gratitude for the money in my life, both currently in my bank account and finding its way to me at that very moment.
I was grateful for the opportunities in my life, for the love in my relationships with friends and family, for the health and happiness all around me, and for the fact that I was, for the first time in my life, making money doing exactly what I loved doing.
The End, And The Beginning
And so, as I carefully dragged my paintbrush along this stranger’s baseboard, I found myself feeling grateful.
Grateful for the opportunity to make money. Grateful for the music playing in my headphones. Grateful that the idea for this post came into my head.
Sitting here later, in the library, I’m filled with that same gratitude as I tap away on my laptop’s keyboard. Gratitude for the opportunity to do something I love. Gratitude for the art of writing, with its beautiful ability to transcend both time and space.
And gratitude for the fact that, at some time in my present future, your future present might draw you to this piece of writing and it might make a positive contribution to your life.
Thank you for reading.
I’m off to the next moment. I’m sure it will be a great one.