"I mean, you're not going to just like arrive at the end of this," my new friend Robyn said to me as I sat sipping a giant glass of sangria in Barcelona. I had just landed in Spain for my month-long yoga teacher training, nearly 5 years ago. I had just met Robyn, who would be taking the training as well, and told her my story; her words felt like a slap across the face.
But what did I think was going to happen? That some hot yoga studio in Barcelona held all the answers? That I just needed to dig really really deep for one month and I'd have it all figured out? That I'd never feel the confusion or sadness or anxiety I'd been feeling ever again...?
I've been making my way through Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and stewing on one of the first concepts he talks about in the book - similar to this idea of not arriving. As he puts it, the idea that there is always some kind of suffering, how "life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another."
He goes on to explain how we simply upgrade our suffering, and the harder we try and wish for things to be different, the more we hammer into our minds that things are broken in the first place, causing - you guessed it - more suffering. He calls this the feedback loop from hell. I know, yikes.
But I find relief in the idea that there is no arriving. It's the desire to "arrive" that keeps us going, discomfort inspires us to grow and evolve. But instead of aiming for some level or period of perfection, instead of waiting for this pain-free time or circumstance so we can finally be happy, knowing that there will always be something to improve upon allows us to accept the imperfections and start enjoying life as it is, now. It helps us be less bothered by the things that don't matter, and rids us of this distant fantasy. It changes the question from how do I arrive there to how do I cope better, here.
People get so caught up in the idea of finding the answer or the silver bullet and racing to the finish that they often miss the experiences of their lifetime waiting for this "result." They don't realize that it's not about what's on top of the mountain, but it's about the damn good time you have and the strength that you build through the challenges on the way up. Once you've conquered one mountain, you're more prepared for the next, and so on and so on. But if you find a shortcut to the top, you're not prepared for anything.
And there will always be another mountain.