I posted this on insta in January 2020, right after these thoughts hit and my mindset was thrown through a loop. Since then — it turns out to be a lot harder to practice ideas than to have them, but returning to this helps.
Two years ago, my peace of mind was shattered by a panic attack that triggered daily anxiety and crippled my bright-eyed new-grad attitude. I spent two years trying to find it again in externalities - new hobbies, friends, relationships, places to live, promotions, money, and highbrow jobs. I raised the stakes as each failed, most recently selling everything I owned and road tripping across the country in hopes of finding peace in new places and a nomadic lifestyle.
I was so set on these things providing lasting happiness that I neglected to appreciate them as they flowed through my life. Instead, I dwelled on the dread that developed as soon as each change lost the novelty I mistook for happiness.
As this dread returned during my time on the road, I paused to reflect on the journey and the motives driving my decisions.
It was a paradox. I was stuck in a cycle of looking outward for inner peace. But moments of comfort never came from the money or prestige or novelty. Instead of recognizing these things as blessings, I grew attachment to the fleeting bliss they provided and expectation that it would remain.
With that clarity, looking inward began to reveal the deeper places from where my life flows. Recognizing everyday beauty, creative expression, light-heartedness, selflessness, gratitude - seemingly simple things. There’s a shift of perspective when the destination is peace of mind, not a cycle of toil & achievement toward an unexamined goal.
It’s justification to do what makes you feel whole.
Many blessings have flooded my life since these realizations began to slap. Maybe it's the shift of perspective. Maybe it's a bit more.
Either way, peace is less of a stranger. The dread still visits from time to time, but it's less frequent, less foreign and a little bit friendlier.
I'm sharing all this because an incredible number of you have helped me along my way. So many of these life-enriching qualities are reflected in my relationships with and admiration for y'all. Thank you.
Life is a cycle. Every journey is different, but I think maybe the goal is similar. Like peeling an orange, we spiral through, shedding layers of expectation and attachment, catching ever-growing glimpses at just how sweet it really is.