The importance of being ready to accomplish a goal before trying to do so is something I learned a long time ago, when I was in my early twenties. I was still an Evangelical Christian and still struggling each day to be perfect—or nearly perfect, whatever that meant to me at the time. I was also in a pretty bad depression spell, which made getting out of bed really hard sometimes. One morning as I lay there, tired and unmotivated, I remember thinking, I should skip my first class today. It wasn’t a thought that just came to me as a matter of course, a side effect of whatever enervation or despondency I was feeling in that moment. This time, it felt different. It felt like it was someone else that was saying it to me, as in, instead of I shouldn’t go to class today, the thought was actually, You shouldn’t go to class today. It was an “other person” kind of feeling—and the other person wasn’t someone bad or negative, but someone good, someone wise.
It was someone I should listen to.
In any case, I didn’t listen to that voice in my head that day. Instead, remembering my commitment to myself and to my concept of God, and maybe, even, to my reputation with others at the school (not sure about this one, though I did have some pretty strange ideas about what people should think of me back then), I got up, got dressed, and went to class. In a piece I wrote about it, I describe what happened next in this way:
“As it turned out, though, I didn’t feel virtuous; instead, I just felt dumb. That morning, the professor ended the lecture after fifteen minutes to pass out some books to the class.
I hadn’t even ordered a book.”
And that is when I learned a lesson that since then has been a huge part of my identity, a huge part of who I am and what I choose to do and not to do. I learned that not only do I really not have to try to be perfect—but that actually, I shouldn’t do so. I’ve found that when you truly, sincerely want to change, your whole being comes into alignment with that change, and someday—sometimes without even realizing it—the change is just there. It just happens.
It’s like magic.
What’s more, whether the change happens right away or several years into the future, when it does finally come, it is the perfect time. Because then, it isn’t something that you forced to happen inside you—it is something that just happened naturally, without a great deal of effort.
It is easy—and, more important, it is real.
There’s an affirmation that I like to say that goes like this: “I live in the easy world, where everything is easy.” Some people might find this idea a little strange, even somewhat heretical. For those people (and I used to be one of them), life is a struggle, and properly so. Saying that things should be easy and light and beautiful and that most of the time our difficulties are self-created and unnecessary is something they just can’t even imagine to be true.
And this is to be expected; it is what we are all indoctrinated to believe from the get-go in our society. From parents on down the line to books, movies and television, we are constantly reminded that life is hard, that whatever is worth having in life is worth struggling for, that arguments and conflict are natural and necessary, and so on and on.
Amazingly—inexplicably, almost—I just don’t buy this anymore. These days, I believe that life is not the great hardship that people say is—or doesn’t have to be, at least. I believe that if you want it to be, and if you choose for it to be (this, of course, is the key), life is actually light, and happy, and very, very beautiful, and properly so, and that the hardest thing about it is just remembering that it is actually easy.
And so, I say my “easy world” affirmation. And here is the image that I have in my mind as I say it: I am standing on an ocean beach, wearing a very comfortable oversized men’s flannel shirt and very loose white linen pants with the cuffs rolled up. Water is washing up over my ankles, and I am smiling.
As I stand there, I am able to see via some special sense an image of my other self, the “real-world” Mollie, as she goes about her day’s activities. I watch her as she eats, sleeps, writes, runs errands and carries out the various goals she’s made for her time on earth. I admire the way she continues to pursue them even though I know that she takes them much too seriously, and that she doesn’t really need to do anything at all.
And that is my image of my real self, the real, enlightened Mollie. Whatever it is that I’m choosing to do on a particular day, I am actually doing nothing—merely watching myself do things. Because really, I’m still on the beach.
Life is what you make of it. It isn’t anything until then. If I never reach enlightenment, here, now, so that I can see and experience what it is like, and use it to make this life better, that is actually okay. There is no need, no requirement from on high saying I must seek greater spiritual awareness in this life, and there is no punishment waiting for me if I don’t succeed in this goal. I choose to seek what I seek for my own reasons, and that is all.
And so, I choose today not to rush into this thing we call enlightenment. I choose not to worry about “where I’m at” spiritually, but instead just watch, and observe, and make myself aware of what I want to have and where I want to be.
I choose to give myself time.
After all, if I don’t do this, if I choose to work for what I want rather than just letting it come to me, there can only be one reason: I’ve forgotten. I’ve forgotten who I really am, and that this particular sack of water we call a body is not me.
I’ve forgotten that really, I am that girl in the white linen pants who is standing on the beach, doing nothing, with no need to prove herself, and nothing to accomplish at all.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.