Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet?

This is a question famously attributed to children in the back seat, but they aren’t the only ones saying this.  I don’t think I ever stop asking this question.  Am I there yet?

I have to keep asking it because there is always a new there to look toward .  Did I get into university? Am I a graduate?   Am I married? Am I successful? Do I have children? Am I mature? Is this menopause? Are my RRSPs topped up? Have I paid off the mortgage? Is it my vacation time? Is it my birthday, Christmas, All Saints Day? Have I got it together? Am I there yet?

Since I don’t seem to know where it is, I just have this ongoing nagging doubt that I’m not ever going to be able to get there.  To get there I better get some details.  I mean, how far away is there? Will I be happier/thinner/less stressed/older/senile when I get there?

And while I’m at it, where is here? Really, where is it?  It’s the place I am when I ask about “Am I there yet?” But, you know, I don’t ever look around here very much, because, after all it is just a way station.  I don’t want to be ‘here’, that’s why I’m trying to get ‘there’, because it’s better.  I’ve seen the ads, the guy calls his wife and tells her they can get a dog because they won lotto 6/49. They don’t have to be here anymore, they can finally go there, where the dog is and apparently a nice cottage.  Sigh.  I haven’t got that call, although I do have a dog, and I have had a cottage. No, I’m here.  Looking out the window of my life and either dreaming  what will come next, or replaying what went before.

 

And can I just say, as someone who has been on this planet a pretty long time now that ‘there’ never looks like I think it will.  Over and over again I have predicted it rather poorly.  If a bookie were giving Las Vegas odds on this, I would not be a good bet.  I’m beginning to think that I looking for there is a big waste of time.  Akin to the ridiculous amount of time I spend checking twitter for new followers

Then, yesterday, I read this story and I suddenly became crystal clear about this whole dilemma I’m having with being ‘here’ and looking for  ‘there.’

 

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well.

She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life

 

From The Wisdom of no Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron.

 

Strawberry anyone?

 

 

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