This is how it turned out.

It’s tempting to be in fantasy about someday. That fuzzy, happy-ever-after when you get the job, the romantic partner, the family. The bank account is full of dough, the house is just right, you are slim and trim + know how to pick perfect avocados.

You know, when things finally turn out.

Even though my Disney fantasies of partnership and marriage have pretty well broken down, I still have some version of this someday fantasy in me. When I finally feel loved and seen, when I feel safe, when I can stand on solid ground and this ambient anxiety will go away, when my person, my true love arrives.

I still harbor the tiniest bit of hope for that.

And yet.

I do a little thought experiment sometimes and ask myself, “If you knew you were going to die in five years, then what?” Suddenly everything comes into focus – the life I actually have, the house I live in, my gorgeous kids, the relationships and friendships and love around me – THIS is how it turned out. This is that someday. The someday I fantasized about decades ago!

This is it.
It’s not perfect.
It’s ever-changing.
There are highs and lows.
But THIS is how it is.

Lao Tzu says it so beautifully below. (He wrote this poem in the 6th century. Apparently, we haven’t changed much!)

Always we hope
someone else has the answer,
some other place will be better,
some other time,
it will turn out.

This is it.
No one else has the answer,
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being,
you have the answer:
you know who you are and
you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being:
for the more you leave it,
the less you learn.

Search your heart and see
the way to do is to be.
Abide at the center of your being.
— Lao Tzu

This is how it turned out: Me, typing in my friend’s living room in Oakland, the sun shining outside, heading to San Francisco for a photo session later. My kids, at their dad’s house, safe, going for a swim at the rec center this afternoon.

If your this-is-how-it-turned-out reality today feels too harsh, here’s another buddhist saying that gets right to the point: Right now, it’s like this.

This one is great to practice with because it is an invitation back into the present moment. It honors the impermanence of things (our ever-changing reality) and also that this too shall pass (the good and the bad).

How do we have our desire for things to be better/different and also honor what is?

That’s the million dollar question. And it takes practice! Lao Tzu instructs us to abide at the center of our being, which is to say, speak and act in alignment with your true self, your heart, your inner wisdom… this is the path that will get you where you need to go.

 

Follow on Facebook Follow on Instagram Follow on Twitter Follow on Pinterest

Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ME >

9 Comments

  1. Monica

    Such a perfect reminder, when all I can seem to write about is all the ways I wish things were different. But it’s true. THIS life was my dream not too long ago. Thank you for the reminder!

    Reply
  2. Susan Mazzoni

    This. Yes.

    Reply
  3. Heidi

    I asked God for guidance and assistance regarding our finances today. An unexpected, yet completely expected answer came right away. Truly be present with and enjoy who and what you have (a very abundant life in every way that happens to include more debt than I’d like), clear clutter, keep things clean, and your finances will be worked out as a result. Your beautifully written post feels like another part of the answer, or rather, fuller guidance on the being present and enjoying part. So, so appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Jet Harrington

    Such good timing for this message. Thank you for this, Andrea. Your heart is a shining thing.

    Reply
  5. Eliza Cross

    Oh, I love what you wrote so much. Thank you for this gift today. These days, right here and now, these are the good old days. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Andrea.

    Reply
  6. Barbara

    This is lovely, Andrea. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. jackie

    Such a beautiful post and poem
    Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  8. Hilda

    Thanks for sharing Andrea! It’s so true and important for me to remember!

    Reply
  9. Kristen

    This. More of this. Always. Love when you share your stories.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready for your next creative adventure?

Download the Mondo Beyondo dream generator!

Latest from the blog

Some of the best books I’ve read this year.

Some of the best books I’ve read this year.

  Some of the best books I've read this year The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren This book travels through a whole vocabulary of emotions and truly celebrates them - showing you that each one (even the so-called...

read more
CSP #48: The Language of Emotions with Karla McLaren

CSP #48: The Language of Emotions with Karla McLaren

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and empathy pioneer. Her lifelong work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness,...

read more

Ready to add color to your life?
JOIN OVER 5,000 INSPIRED GRADUATES IN AN ECOURSE

Camp Wonder-Seeker

30 days of ease, joy and cultivating wonder

Creative prompts, stories and secret missions that will bring you help you wake up your creativity, invite you to see the world in an entirely different way + celebrate ordinary beauty and magic.

Capture the Magic

Rock your camera-phone - and discover that beauty and joy are everywhere.

The very best camera is the one that’s with you! I’ll show you how to get on your own path of joy and delight while learning photography skills along the way.

Brave Blogging

30-days of breathing life & inspiration into your blog

Blogging is still the best way to grow your audience and find your tribe, while connecting to your voice and your spirit!

VIEW MORE COURSES