What Do You Really Want?


Day 4 of the first 2 week vacation ever: it has been raining for 3 days and the weather folks say a system is brewing that is likely to go on for 6 or 7 days. Our friends here say the weather is NEVER like this. On Day 1 I got a couple of hours of beach time after pacing and angst over leaving my husband immobile on the floor with back issues. The sun hasn’t come out again since. I do all the cooking and cleaning for the first few days, trying to make the best of it. I take walks around the neighborhood only to be eaten alive by mosquitos and other bugs.

I was doing an okay job of keeping my spirits up, taking care of hubby and being supportive, and making the best of things. Until today. Until the news that our entire trip is very likely to be riddled with rain. Feeling trapped and helpless, I had a mini meltdown. I felt a permanent pout coming on. The “oh, poor me” cloud descended and I settled in for the ride. And then it ended practically before it began.

I accepted the probable fate and decided I didn’t feel like languishing today. Figuring, what the hell, the ocean is still there in the rain and I don’t get this close to it every day, I decided to go anyway. His back somewhat healed, we threw our stuff in the car after pacing and watching the weather channel for an hour, and headed for the beach. We set up the umbrella in the drizzle. I swam, and it wasn’t too bad, though not as warm as I prefer. The drizzle eventually stopped, and we read our books, and munched from the cooler, and swatted bugs under dark gray skies. We saw two dolphins surface about a dozen times, incredibly close to shore where I had been in the water.

In a previous life, I would not have been able to shake the disappointment of the shattered vision of my sun drenched beach time. Somehow, I allowed the initial disappointment, and then I could not sustain it. Something in me now doesn’t want to complain about it, can’t stay unhappy about it. It only makes sense to go to the beach in the rain, visit our friends, eat, explore, and appreciate the difference in the scenery. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when I might have wept with disappointment for the whole trip over something like this.

I guess deep down, what I must really want now is to be happy, and not focused on the unsatisfactoriness of life. It doesn’t have the forced feel of an avoidance of reality, or an effort to be positive. It’s effortless, I suppose, because of the obviousness of what I really want now. What I want more and more is to be present, to experience what is really happening, to catch the details, to experience everything as it is, not wasting time on what isn’t real. Insisting that life perform to my expectations has produced constant disappointment, pain, sadness, and anger. Allowing life to unfold has produced far more joy, contentment, and wonder for me than any of my plans and could have.

What a simple shift in perspective – from wanting things my way, to wanting to be present – and yet, how freeing! I don’t feel as cheated as it seems I should – missing out on the very long awaited, sunny beach time I had imagined for months. I just bring the bug repellent instead of the sunscreen and am thankful we don’t have to worry about sunburn. I marvel at the difference in the colors of the landscape in the rain, and how many others are playing in the rain, as well. I can’t explain it any better than that. I am amazed, and grateful.

It makes me think of that saying, “do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”. I would love to talk more with you about how I arrived at this way of seeing life. Comment below or give me a call.

About Cynthia M Clingan

Cynthia Clingan is a personal coach and licensed professional clinical counselor in Columbus, Ohio who offers somatic psychotherapy, direct pointing, awareness skills education, and meditation instruction.
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One Response to What Do You Really Want?

  1. Marlene says:

    I guess it “shows to go ya” that when you stop fretting about things, you get a sunburn!

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