Just spend a day scrolling through Facebook, and at least among my friends, you’ll see posts claiming the path to inner peace is not focusing on the outside world, but on perfecting your inside.
Meditate. Calm. Look within. Don’t blame. Don’t point fingers. It’s everywhere.
But who’s listening?
Yesterday I had an amazing, meaningful day and then I let two menial things upset my balance. First, I filmed two episodes of my Children, Youth and Families TV show – one on raising children with special needs and one on the American Association of University Women.
I took a birthday snack to my husband at work. Went to yoga with a friend. Interviewed an 102-year-old woman for my client, Jewish Senior Life, and her soft hand kept clasping mine, as she said, “I am a lucky, lucky woman. I am very lucky.” Despite losing her husband at age 67. Despite losing all her seven siblings.
And then I received two phone calls – one from a self-involved photographer and one relating to my ex – and my mood soured.
It seems I live on the surface, despite my attempts to go deeper. If I didn’t, then these little blips would not even make a dent in my mood.
When I left the centenarian woman’s apartment, I remarked to my friend who was there to photograph the lady, “I am so lucky – I get to do this for a living!” That’s how grateful I was. How meaning-focused.
But it was wiped away a half-hour later by stupidity. By living in the surface layer of life.
We all do, I know. We are raised on superficial, with a hefty dose of caring what others think.
I am at least grateful I’ve sort of turned a corner, that at this point in life I know there is more than what lurks on the surface.
Think of life like an ocean wave: the surface has great variation – crests and swells to glass-like calm. But far into the depths, there is very little variation, if any. Steady waves, never more than the strength of holding another’s hand.
There is very little disturbance when you hang out in the depths. You learn to breathe. You adapt to the pace and the silence.
On the surface, it’s all crest and swell and WATCH OUT for the wave that puts you over or under or shifts you so far out from shore. It takes a lot of work to live on the surface. Why is that our fallback?