“It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that” – Kermit the Frog
The grass is not always greener in the other yard. Or so we are told. The truth is, we really do not know what shade of green the grass is in the place we long to go or the experience we long to have, unless we embark on that journey to see for ourselves.
There is nothing inherently wrong about imagining what it would be like to have a different experience. Trust me, I do this ALL THE TIME. I imagine what it would be like to live back in the beautiful southwest or what it would be like to live in a hip town like Portland where I could grab a vegan meal at an actual cafe’ or even what it would be like to live off the grid on a mountaintop with just the bare minimum of modern conveniences. Yes, this would include a commode. Daydreaming is good. It taps into the creative aspect of beings. It helps us thrive and grow. It expands our way of looking at things.
The problem happens when we attach to this “other” experience. The insidious ghost pops in when we believe that we cannot be happy unless we are living in Utah, driving a fancier car, working at a different job, not working at all and painting river rocks with the face of Buddha or even in a different relationship or living single.
Now we have created a funky energy that makes us miserable. Each day we wake up and think about how miserable we are because we are not living off the grid on a mountaintop. If only, I could sell all my belongings and just go. If only, my spouse would get abducted by aliens so I could run off with the lead character from that reality show, if only, if only, if only.
Then the spiral starts and then, much like the pull of gravity, we start to find things that are wrong with EVERYTHING that has not aligned perfectly with the fantasy that has somehow grown wings and is flying around the room shrieking.
Chances are, before we even began this little exercise, everything was probably okay in our world. Maybe some things needed tweaking, maybe they needed complete overhauls. I am not saying there is not room for improvement. What I am suggesting (from my own personal experience) that when we move beyond the moment into an unknown space in the future, we can cause ourselves great discontent.
I have been living like this, on and off, for the past 7 years. There are weeks that go by that I am perfectly content. But then something may happen that reminds me that I have always wanted to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I am currently living in the deep south. Then things start to go to crap very quickly. I look at everything with a judging eye. Accents drive me crazy. Bible thumpers make my head hurt. The lack of vegetarian cuisine becomes a crying shame. I overlook the beauty right in front of my eyes for some fantasy that I currently cannot touch.
I am dreaming about green grass when it is right in front of my eyes.
I realized that I was not only not living in the present moment and practicing compassion and gratitude, I was also making myself miserable with a “what if” scenario. Something that is just not possible at this juncture in my life. Something, that if it is meant to be, will be. But for now, I have responsibilities and people who I love that need me to be here. Right here. Right now. In this present moment.
Life does not always reflect the romances on television or in books, where you live does not always look like travel books, the food you may prepare does not always look like Martha Stewart cooked it and your family is probably not the Cunninghams. But that’s okay because if you stop and look – whatever you have cultivated in your life is probably pretty damn amazing in its own way.
The panacea for much of our discontent is as simple as opening our eyes to the beauty around us and make a commitment to stop playing the what if game and start participating in active gratitude When we do this, it is very easy to see that the grass is the brightest shade of green it could possibly right in our own backyard.
I have made the critical error for the longest time of living for “tomorrow.” But the sad thing is, when we live for tomorrow, we miss the “today” that is unfolding right in front of us. We miss the birds singing, the wind blowing, the children laughing, the music playing, the tastes, sounds, caresses, joy and beauty of this moment.
Life isn’t about building fantasies. It is about being present in the present.
Truth be told, the present is a marvelous gift (pun intended) if we stop and focus on unwrapping it slowly and being filled with gratitude for what is, right here, right now.
And what amazing gift it is.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.