One habit I see myself and others do is look for something in the future to provide fulfillment so much so that it brings them out of really embracing their current life. For example, I have this ongoing dream about purchasing some land, building a yurt, and a yoga center as a home for my offerings and gatherings. While my obsession with this idea has gone from rolling boil to a simmer, over the past year at the height of obsession I was actually making myself miserable over this. Here I had this dream and it wasn’t in full fruition, I was saving money hard-core, working really long hours doing work I didn’t really like, and I wasn’t doing what brought me the most joy—teaching and creating new offerings for all of you.
This is a version of what Ed Foreman calls the "someday syndrome.”
Side note: growing up my dad had a whole set of Ed Foreman cd’s on how to be successful in life and reduce stress. This was my first exposure to any kind of spirituality or alternative lifestyle. Although there are probably parts that are quirky and out there, I can recall some timeless principles in the cd’s that I still use today!
The someday syndrome is basically when you think/feel/live out of someday we’re gonna _______________(you fill in the blank)…..then we’re gonna be happy….then we’re gonna be really living.
The someday syndrome sounds like this:
Someday we’re gonna buy some land and have a space for teaching a holding the gatherings.
Someday we’re gonna pay off this house…then we’ll be really living.
Someday I’m gonna get married…then I’ll be really happy.
Someday I’m gonna have kids….then I’ll really feel fulfilled.
Happiness and fulfillment do not need to be postponed. And actually what I’ve found after failing over and over again is that happiness actually comes from appreciating what is present.
So, does living in the now prevent you from preparing for the future? Not really. In my case I’m still tentatively planning on buying some land, but I don’t expect that to make me happy. Instead, I invest in my day-to-day life. For me that means spending time with people who I care about, doing work that brings me joy, making time for hobbies (obsessions let’s be real) that are meaningful to me all the while saving for some land.
Where you might get stuck:
Appreciating what you can about the present situation doesn’t mean things don’t need to change. Sometimes real shit happens. Sometimes words must be spoken and action must be taken.
Living in the now doesn’t mean that there might be a better way for you to live, to make a living, etc. It just means you start with the now and take action from the now, instead of living in a fantasy of the future.
Bringing the idea to life
You might think, "well that’s a nice idea, but how would I start bringing it into my life?” One simple way you can do this is when you notice yourself dreaming of the perfect relationship or perfect house or perfect job you can ask yourself one of these two things (or both):
How can I take steps in the NOW to start bringing this into fruition?
How can I take care of what I already have and appreciate what I already have right NOW? For example, if you’re dreaming of a beautiful house, “how can I take care of the home I already inhabit?” If you’re dreaming of a relationship, “how can I cultivate the friendships I already have?” or “how can I have a cultivate a more loving relationship with myself?”
This is a more subtle teaching, so give it some time to perculate. Play with it, try it on, and see how it goes. If it works for you keep it and carry it with you :-)