May 18, 2016

You are the thing You have been Waiting For.


Things unfold in our lives.

Sometimes with the grace of a ballerina whirling through the air making us forget the separation between the space and the dancer and sometimes with the awkwardness of child just beginning to take his first steps as he learns to walk.

Whether we like it or not and whether we fight it or not, we are always in a process which is unfolding. A process which is always ready to reveal its gifts if we have the patience to watch it instead of force it. A process which asks us to be present and in participation with it but also not overly involved in the outcome.

The deep joy in life resides in the process and almost never in the outcome.

This is not to say that achieving goals and making the finish line after a long sought out journey doesn’t provide a sense of fulfillment. This is not to say that we shouldn’t cherish what we have manifested in our lives or be proud of our accomplishments.

It’s just that the end result, if we adamantly focus on this part, is really only a moment, a fleeting feeling of happiness which more often than not is followed by the question: “What’s next?”

If we engage in the process of our unfolding, allowing it and being present for the difficult moments and the transcendent ones (but most importantly for the difficult ones where we tend to judge or write ourselves off), we tap into a life force deep within ourselves—a nuanced, beautiful, alchemical, evolving force which is the gift. Which is our essence.

We are not what we make, create, identify with or achieve. In other words, what we make, create, feel drawn to or achieve is only an expression of our essence but not “the essence” itself. If we identify just as these things, then we will always be chasing something, depending on this or that thing to make us feel good and we will always find ourselves wondering why we aren’t happy yet.

The essence that resides in each one of us is much larger than these things and can’t be defined.

I realized this most profoundly after an experience I had giving a talk at New York University. I was given the opportunity to talk to students on a topic of my own choosing, an opportunity that was a relatively fresh one for me and had me feeling excited, scared and also curious about what it would open up for me professionally.

I had many months to decide on a topic and be in the process of discovering what I wanted to express. I found myself both brainstorming about topics in a focused yet worried way and on the other hand practicing letting go and waiting for the topic to emerge naturally. I realized through time I didn’t have to try or think so hard. When I trusted in the notion that what needed to be said would make itself known to me in its own time, the words began to flow like a river—a river I didn’t need to obsessively seek out but one that already existed within me, which was waiting to be unleashed.

After the idea came to me, I then had to prepare to speak to what I thought would be a room full of 30 people. Although I typically feel comfortable talking to others about my ideas, I wasn’t used to speaking in this way in front of more than a handful of people.

I practiced speaking aloud in my room for a couple of days. This experience gave me immediate contact with my voice, hearing and feeling myself speak aloud for many hours throughout the course of several days in a way I have never experienced before. Here I discovered a new aspect of vulnerability and blocks to self-expression that existed within me. I went from feeling awkward and touching some deep buried shame to realizing I liked the way I sounded and that I actually felt more like myself when I let the words flow from the center of my being.

The morning of the presentation, I was surprised to find excitement rather than anxiety. Though the anxiety wasn’t entirely absent, the excitement about speaking and sharing my message prevailed which made me encounter yet another part of myself that I had been neglecting—a part that likes to be a catalyst and share experiences.

When I showed up to the presentation, I was surprised to find over 80 people there instead of 30. I gave my talk and as I spoke I felt fully alive and when it was over I know I had made an impact by the flood of people who rushed to the table to ask me questions.

When I left this experience, yes, I felt fantastic and proud of what I had just accomplished but at the same time I also quickly found myself asking that question.

“What’s next?” I heard myself whisper.

When I realized this question was dawning upon me as the feeling of joy was beginning to leave, it hit me that what moved me most was my movement through the space of my process, the nuanced landscape of my essence-the fear, the shame, the vulnerability, the excitement, the passion, the discovery. Through the wonderland of my creative process-both known and unknown to me, this encounter with myself was the thing that made me feel truly alive and whole, not the end result.

What we make, create, become identified with, or achieve is only a moment in the process. It is a moment we can and should honor. It is also a moment we need to let go of and not place so much importance on as the thing we are waiting for.

We are the thing.

And yes, you are most definitely the thing.

You are the thing you have been waiting for.

Could it be time to let that thing in?


Author: Danielle Benvenuto

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Courtesy of Author

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