“Don’t wish your life away Kaatee.”

It’s what my German grandfather always said when he caught me wishing for some future time to arrive when I would get a new pony or get out of school for the summer or stop seeing zits in the mirror (on my face) or finally get my driver’s license or …

”Don’t wish your life away.”

I haven’t thought about his heavily accented advice in decades. After all, I’m a spiritual person. I know the rules. And one of the biggest rules for a spiritual person to adhere to is: Be Here Now.

Don’t sit around longing for a better tomorrow. Don’t wallow and whine about the past. Etc etc. (Never mind the deeper message of “Be present” is presence itself. Be present to your whining about the past. Be present with your longing for a better tomorrow! 😉

I had the “no whining about the past” down. And I don’t spend much time futurising either. I have clear goals and intentions and that’s sufficient to get me where I want to go. Or so I thought. Which is why it came as an unpleasant shock the other day to realize just how much time I still spend in “when I …” mode.

Oh, it’s not that I sit around fantasizing about some future success or accomplishment or trip I’m going to take or anything like that. Like, “When I sell a million copies of my book I’ll feel happy.” Or the classic, “When I lose 10 pounds I’ll love myself.” I know better than that. The number of books sold and amount of weight lost is NEVER going to make me happy. Ever. I finally figured that out.

No … this particular form of “When I” was not that specific—which is precisely why it crept up on me and went unnoticed for such a long time.

“When I” wasn’t a specific thought I could lock onto and point at. Rather it was this generalized feeling . . . an energetic miasma, if you will . . . a fog of non-specific longing underpinning a feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo—a chronic impulse towards betterment that was constantly in effect . . . as if me, right now, is not enough.

As if right now, here now, is not enough.

It’s like having your car always in gear, ready to hit the road towards another, bigger, brighter, bolder destination. No park, no neutral, no idle. No engine shut down. Always, somehow, in drive, intending to get somewhere, even on Sunday mornings, even brushing my teeth, even getting ready for bed at night.

On impulse drive …

Which means relaxation and rest were always happening with the brakes on—a consciously enforced “not doing” that energetically was still filled with the subtle sense of impending forward motion towards a destination. All I had to do was get through the enforced down time.

Shit.

I think I’m afraid that if I ever slide into park, I’ll get stuck there. That it’s one step closer to Engine Off. That if I’m satisfied and content and genuinely at ease with myself and life, the bigger, brighter, bolder destination will never be mine—

Even though I damn well know the bigger, brighter, bolder destination is a total illusion.