Are You There? by Navina Anand

I am a self-help book junkie. I like to read productivity books, meditation books, organization books, inspiring biographies- as if reading these books will somehow magically make me what I aspire to be- much like people who buy a lot of fancy gear for every new hobby, only to shove it in the back of the closet two months later after realizing that buying the fancy equipment did not make it any easier to learn the skill. But, I have to give myself some credit and say that while I have not reached my goal, I have definitely made progress in many areas. So ‘I am not there’ yet,  but I am on my way.

I find myself curious about a number of things. And I aspire to a number of things.

‘I want to work out regularly’
‘I want to to read regularly’
‘I want to meditate regularly’
‘I want to stay organized’
‘I want to declutter regularly’
‘I want to learn how to use a particular new software’
‘I want to learn about the Bhagavad Gita’
‘I want to spend some time in chanting’
‘I want to sit with my son more while he is studying Chemistry’
‘I want to try that amazing recipe I saw online’

I want to .. I want to.. I want to… And besides my laundry list of wants, I also have external hooks. When somebody pitched a workshop about “Past Life Regression”, I immediately was tempted to sign up for it just because I was curious. But then, sanity prevailed when i realized I simply do not have the bandwidth right now to pursue another line of inquiry. 

But I truly believe that this laundry list is what makes my life colourful. Of course I  need to regularly audit my list of wants constantly cutting out some of the ridiculous ones and adding other fascinating stuff in and I need to frequently ask myself ” Are you there”? Are you in a state of balance?

I also want to ask myself, ‘Are you there’ for the people you care about. I would like to believe yes. I think there are a significant number of healthy relationships I maintain in which there is a lot of ‘give and take’.  I would like to believe that they are maintaining the relationship with me because ” I am there” for them in a certain capacity.

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of chasing my wants, I also need to ask myself, “Are you there”? Am I being present enough? As much as anyone I am caught in trying to multi-task and I am not good at it. I am usually listening to a podcast when I am cooking or cleaning and even though I have heard a lot of wise people saying that one should do only one thing at a time, and BE PRESENT in that moment, it just seems too boring to fold the laundry without somebody saying something fascinating in my ear making me oblivious to the drudgery of daily chores. 

I work best with finite goals. I try to have buddies to keep me accountable. I enjoy being in support groups with like minded people. In the absence of definite milestones, I would feel like a child on a road trip constantly asking in a frustrated voice ” Are we there yet !”. 

We all have needs, wants, dreams, goals, expectations and sometimes we are too close to the action to see what we are doing. Sometimes, it is important to take that step back and ask ourselves… ” Are we there”?

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