We suffer more from our own imagination than we do from reality.
I am an obvious introvert; so, it makes sense that I am in my own mind more than anything else. With the newly elected president, treacherous terrains in the Amazon forest, the most dangerous place on this Earth will still have to be located inside this lopsided head of mine.
The mind is the most powerful entity; hard to study, scientifically difficult to define, yet present in every idea that has developed mankind. Just from this simple description, it sounds as if the mind is uncontrollable, and we either are lucky or not to live a perceivable “sane” and normal life.
Notice I added “perceivable” to what should be normal and sane in life. What is considered a life that is normal and sane is not proven through theory and science, but generally based on how the majority perceives it. Who says that it is normal to graduate high school, obtain a college degree, get a great job and get married before the age of 30? History of the majority.
It is a general belief that history will be bound to repeat itself, and that we must learn from our past so that we may progress in the future. All that is fine and dandy, but this history that is put on repeat is not working out well for me. I have yet to reach 30 in age, but there are no signs of a marriage in my near future and this career of running track isn’t the traditional route to life success.
I am currently at a point where I have never felt so lonely and lost, so was the majority right? But Jeremy, how can that possibly be when you are now closer (in proximity) to your family and home? Maybe if I knew, I could answer the question and fix the problem. However, the largest unknown variable in this equation is the fact that I don’t know who I am or even who I was.
I hear what other people tell me what I am; an Olympian, a friend, a crush, a role model, an actual model. I still fail to hear an answer that is fulfilling. That, in and of itself, is the problem. I listen to the opinions of others, and fail to ask my own questions. With the new year approaching, I believe I need to ask better questions. What do I care about? What matters to me? What don’t I know? If I was not so worried about what others thought, what would I do?
To be in the moment is to be free from the past and future.
Instead of learning from the past and history, I will take notes from those of the future, and children are great examples of living life. I’ve had the unfortunate, but fortunate opportunity to meet a lot of children facing death. Sad story, but ask them, and they would tell you that focus is on the life they currently have, and not the life they will dream to have, because it is just that, a dream. Nor is it about the life they lived.
Behind the shadow of fear, there is a life of freedom, a life waiting to be lived, a life waiting to be owned. We never really know where we will be, but we can trust in life because it will bring us to where we need to be. We can trust that following our hearts will lead to the manifestation of our dreams. Nevertheless, this simple act does not have to be some grand act of faith. It does not mean finding the vision for a big future and compromising the present to get there.
Instead, I invite us all to live in the moment, to practice the act of following our hearts by gentle, honest, moment-to-moment listening. In this realm of loneliness, we have no choice or option but to choose ourselves. We see it as our last resort, or we can see it as the only thing strong enough to withstand this thing we call life. The only way to find true happiness is to risk being cut open and rely on the courage that has always, and will always be there when all else fades. If you hear to enjoy a warm chocolate cookie at this very moment, do it, because I know I will. Enjoy your holidays friends.
Jeremy Dodson is a Track & Field Olympian who struggles with the idea of perfection, hoping to break the barrier we place on ourselves so that genuine living can take place for everyone.