What Should I Do With My Life?
Looking For Answers for My Life ...
The Wise Woman looked up as my question and laughed.
Had I really had the nerve to ask the question out loud, I wondered to myself. I gathered my courage and said in a rather stronger voice, "What should I be doing with my life? Is there a plan I should be following?"
I don't know quite what I was hoping for ... but her repeated laughter made me feel more comfortable with how I was feeling.
"Don't be so worried about feeling foolish", she said gently. "That is how most people feel when they ask profound questions ... which some part of them thinks they should already know the answer to. But that is rarely the case."
Her smile put me at ease, along with her gentle ..."Relax. There are no tests here."
I breathed a silent sigh of relief and felt my chest fill with air. I settled deeper into the chair and felt my arms relax the hidden tension I had been holding onto ... and I wondered how long I had been tense.
"For quite a while. You can tell by the fact that you ache when you finally do relax," her words swam towards me through the mist rising from the steaming apple cider she placed in front of me. A plate of warm gingerbread men slide next to the mug, and I smelled the cardamom and nutmeg she put into the mixing bowl in front of her.
I laughed, thinking of Hansel and Gretel and reached for a cookie.
Really, What Should I Be Doing With My Life ...
"So, what should I be doing with my life?" I asked again. This time my voice stayed steady and my gaze did not wavier.
"Hmm. Looking for the sweet spot in Life," she answered.
I waited a minute for her to continue, and then it started to sink in that she not only was serious but that those eight words were her complete answer.
"Shouldn't it be a bit more complicated than that?" I asked. I could not imagine that the answer to a question that millions of people ask would have such a simple answer. Eight words .. seven if you tossed out the hmmm ... seemed ... too short for an entire lifetime of angst and anxious worry over what to do with the life we are given.
"It is not as simple as you might think. The sweet spot keeps moving, as the world and everything in it, including you, evolves." She started to break some eggs, and I watched as the Ostriches behind her hid their heads.
Hiding From Change
She saw where my attention had gone and titled her head towards them, "They are not that different from people. Start breaking things and stirring things up, and they want to hide from what is happening. Many of us hide from change."
"Isn't the universe supposed to be always changing .. in fact isn't change the only thing that doesn't change?" I asked, remembering something I had heard or read somewhere.
"Strictly speaking, eternal things don't change ... but their form may," she replied. Seeing my confusion, she continued, "Every tennis racket has a sweet spot. So does the speed setting on each car. In fact, everything has a sweet spot ..."
"Even the Universe?" I asked.
"Yes. Although that is a bit beyond this level of discussion. Everything has a setting or set of conditions where it is operating at an optimum. Not at full tilt, like a factory operating at maximum, but where everything is humming right along .... moving, growing, changing effortlessly ... carried along by its own momentum and that of Life itself."
A Feeling of Rightness
"Does this sweet spot have a name?" I asked, reaching for another cookie and watching the Ostrich closest to me eye the plate.
"Yes," she answered. "But I like to call it the sweet spot, so that you do not get lost in names the ancients used. You will know when you have found it, because you will feel a profound rightness aobut* your life .. that you are in the right place at the right time doing exactly what you should be doing."
I nodded. "I have had that feeling before, but only briefly ... for a few hours .. but it never lasts."
"Yes, most people feel it like a driver who is falling asleep and drifts across a lane and wakes up when he or she feels the rough grooves at the edge of the road or bumps as they cross the lane markers."
"So why don't most of us feel that way all the time .. or a lot of the time? Why is it so rare?" I asked.
"Because the rut that your life is usually in .. is not your sweet spot. And when you are moving down the highway of life at 66 miles per hour, you are usually moving too fast, too distracted, and too much on autopilot .. to notice where the sweet spot of the road ahead lies. Most people keep their speed up and only adjust when the road gets too rough or uncomfortable .. often waiting until their life is unbearable to wake up. And by then, they are in no mood to optimize, they are just looking to reduce the discomfort or pain they are experiencing."
I nodded again, remembering times in my life where that was exactly what I was doing. Sometimes I wondered if she had a crystal ball somewhere and was able to see into my past.
"So ...." I continued the conversation.
"Aim at one thing ... the sweet spot of your life. And in hitting it, everything else will fall into place." She reached for more sugar and added a cup.
The clock ticked away the hour and my mug drained itself until the bottom was visible. My mind hung upon her words, and I sat thinking aobut* the few times I had felt that sense of rightness about my life.
Could it be that easy? I wondered. "So, how do I ...