The Paradox of LONGING
By Deanne Kaye
I was sitting on a deck overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound one beautiful evening. The sun was setting and glistening on the rippling water. A cool breeze had delayed the heat of summer again this day. It was such a pristine evening. How did I get to be in such an ideal location in exchange for some easy work on this property just 25 hours a week? As I enjoyed a glass of white wine and felt this moment as being so magical and ideal, some familiar feeling was again tugging at me. “No this isn’t it,” the voice said. “God hasn’t given you what you’ve been LONGING for. But just continue being patient. God rewards those who are patient.”
“Patience is overrated,” I said to this voice for the hundredth time. Then came the pang in my stomach and the old broken record in my head of: How come others get what they want and I don’t? Remember all these things that haven’t worked out: the jobs, the volunteer service unrecognized, the bread crumbs in relationships? You have worked so hard, and been so patient, but you still don’t have what you want.
Does this LONGING sound familiar? Let me tell you more about this broken record and aching pain. (Don’t we love to share about our woes?) I’ll primarily share what’s been the broken record in my head for the past few years or so. First, let me give a bit of context. Since May of 2021, I’ve been on the road. I’ve joined a couple organizations that connect people around the world for different kinds of work doing such things as gardening, painting, construction, animal care, housesitting, etc. These organizations have been a great avenue for me to explore parts of the United States that I hadn’t seen before, while also meeting all kinds of interesting people. I’m sure I have enough experiences to write about for some time to come. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting on so many mountain tops and beaches; walking through forests and small historical towns, and eating at so many restaurants and homes of new and yes, pretty bizarre people. During this journey, the broken record of my LONGING has been a lingering knot in my stomach. It hasn’t always had its volume up high, or it’s ache apparent, but it has definitely been with me. Every time I’ve left a place, generally staying from 2 weeks – 2 months, it was with a huge, to minor, sense of relief. And then the questions would come — how much longer do I have to do this until I finally find my tribe, a place to call home, or loving companionship with someone who also questions reality? Gnawing and aching reminders that I am still a beggar and not free. That broken record in my head and pain in my stomach made sure of that feeling of lack. I live a life of absolute freedom on the outside. But on the inside, I still have doubts and LONGINGS that keep me feeling incomplete.
I thought this feeling of LONGING was what was needed in order to make things manifest. Without desire or intention, how can we manifest, right? More recently since I started to pay more attention to and grapple with this LONGING, I had to go deeper. In yoga philosophy, scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras teach about not having desires, longings or passions because they keep us in the cycle of karma. I think I adopted that fairly early on in my yoga path and thought I had lived a pretty surrendered kind of life. But then more recently it’s become apparent that in order to live a surrendered life without LONGING, we need to examine what LONGINGs are already in us. Otherwise, there is conflict. And I definitely had that! Before, I had skipped the part of exploring what my LONGINGS had been and went right to the suppression of them because I had been good at that. So, I had to ask myself a simple and necessary question. How’s this approach of LONGING been working for me? Well, it hasn’t. The broken record keeps revisiting me.
Then I had to ask? Do I really want or need these things I keep LONGING for? So, I looked at each one at a time. I’ve wanted to be part of a community that was questioning the mainstream narrative and seeking a truth to reality. In fact, a lot of people online had been recommending to find your tribe, unplug from the mainstream and live on the earth. I’ve regularly been unplugged and searching, but ironically, after a year of traveling and even reaching out to people online to connect, nothing has manifested. Why? Maybe I don’t really want it. I had 25 years of being part of a few different communities and I remember well the times of frustrations. I think I’m still burned out from all that and simply need a break. I’m much better off these days with adapting and adjusting to whomever I meet and helping on their farm, and then saying good-bye when it’s time. Then I looked at another LONGING — loving, mature companionship. It sure sounds reasonable. But what I realized was that I still had some programming going on from movies about what romance and love were. I had notions around it of involving a crowd splitting in two so that a light could shine a bridgeway inevitably noticing my soul mate. That hadn’t been the reality of my marriage and I hadn’t been seeing it much in the couples I’d been meeting on my journey. In fact, I could easily say the marriages I’ve seen reflect staying together out of societal norms, obligation and necessity. This isn’t what I want in the least, and I’m not really convinced that I’m soul mate material anyway honestly. I’d rather be on my own than hold onto some fantasy that may not even be remotely possible. Furthermore, I live comfortably alone. I value my alone time. If I ever meet someone that I’d like to spend time with, it would be better if we each have our own place to retreat back into frequently.
Asking such simple questions and writing the answers down, have really clarified issues around this ‘longing’. In addition to asking myself such questions, I realized that years of practicing gratitude and positivity in many different situations, had been more like a mental practice, rather than a heartfelt one. It was forced, and about as effective as a band-aid on a big open wound. Or like an endurance test to see how long I could hold out through tough times before finally getting rewarded. Believe me, gratitude and positivity are way better than pessimism. However, it’s taken me years to finally understand and testify without a doubt that LONGING hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. It hasn’t. I could also bore you with how it hasn’t panned out in terms of careers, but simply trust me, it hasn’t. I got what I got and was REALLY good at it. However, I never seemed to qualify enough for what I thought I deserved and knew I would also be damn good at!
One recent evening, I again sat on the deck overlooking the Puget Sound. The sun was going down in the west and I looked to the east where the sky was finally totally clear. What I saw was so majestic. Time stopped in moments of splendor, wonder and expansion. There in the distance beyond the trees of the nearby island was Mt. Rainer. It was standing boldly and majestically with its snow-covered frame projected against the blue horizon. I felt like I was seeing Sangri-La. Then I heard a voice say, “Am I enough for you? Take this in deeply to know that all is well and as it should be. No need to LONG. Do you see how blessed a life you have been living, especially during these travels? You are awake and seeking truth. You can go into beautiful, memorable places that others only dream of. Feel this more deeply in your being.”
Today I am practicing living without ‘longing.’ When I feel like something is missing, and the broken record again plays its tune, I say that I hear you, but then let it go. I don’t let it take me over. It tries harder……. “You still need this. Wouldn’t it be better if…… why did she get that, but I didn’t?” Now that I’ve consciously identified what the voice of longing is saying, I see it as just that, a programmed voice that was stuck inside. It’s power over me has weakened. It has come out from the shadows into conscious awareness where it has less power. Grace can touch us more when we don’t hold the ‘longing’ baggage. We don’t know when grace will touch us, but it is so welcome when it does. And with this grace, comes more freedom.
Deanne Kaye has been on the healing path for over 30 years. She has explored traditional and alternative ways for healing and has been helping others since 2015 become free from such emotions as abandonment, shame, guilt, anger, self-loathing, fear, resentments, addictions and anxiety. She provides experienced guidance, step by step work, meditation practices and a space of trust and presence for releasing unhealthy thoughts and emotions. Thewayoutforhealing@protonmail.com
For More Info or to Book an appointment – https://newagora.ca/the-way-out/
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