DAY #174 AN UNKNOWN FUTURE


BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 248

Join me for some thoughtwork today. The past few posts have felt a little heavier to me. And I have some lighter things to share later this week. But today, I am going to indulge myself and spend this time with myself, doing thoughtwork.

Let’s talk about things that I THINK I want:

  • Distance from people I’ve let hurt me
  • I want to complain at times
  • I want quiet time away from the kids at times
  • I want to know what the future looks like

Now let’s talk about the emotion I am looking for, behind the things that I think I want:

  • Distance from people I’ve let hurt me in the past
    • Peace
  • Complaining
    • Validation
  • Quiet time away from kids. I need to do some more thoughtwork around this one. I chose it because it is one I ask for a lot, but don’t feel any more satisfied after it has happened. I must not understand what I’m looking for by asking for that quiet time.
    • ????
  • I want to know what the future looks like
    • Control

I have had some fun with this thoughtwork. What is it that I think I want, and what is it that I am really looking for.

And how about others? It’s sometimes easier to see the discrepancy is those two things, in others, right?

My boys. If I asked them what they think they wanted, they would say more game time. But really, what is it that they really want from that extra game time? Do they want a break from their homework or from their chores or from life – do they want that buffer? Do they want to connect with a friend online? Do they want the dopamine rush that comes from completing another level?

My teenage daughter. If I asked her what she thinks she wants, she would say, more sleep. This girl gets almost 9 hours of sleep a night, and often a nap. What is it she really wants? Again, maybe it’s a break from homework or from chores. Maybe it’s an escape from the boredom that shes experiencing as a teenager in quarantine.

What about my toddler? What about my husband? Really some good thoughtwork today.

Today’s podcast was specifically about our natural desire – especially in difficult times – to know the future. Let’s look at that specific item on my list.

“People are telling me how nervous and scared and unsettled they feel because they don’t know the future. Here’s what I want to offer to you, my friends. We haven’t known the future, ever. We’ve never known the future… We cannot predict the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen down the road. It’s kind of a disappointing thing at times, and on the other hand, it’s amazing.

My kids, in their boredom, have discovered that on YouTube, you can watch videos of Disneyland rides. One of the videos they’ve been watching is of Space Mountain… Space Mountain is dark, which is what makes Space Mountain kind of awesome. You can’t see. And it is not actually a very big rollercoaster. It doesn’t have very big drops or climbs. It’s a relatively small rollercoaster. But it feels exciting. It feels intense. It can even feel a bit scary because you can’t see what’s next. You can’t see that you’re about to go down a big hill or turn a corner in a certain way. And so because you’re not prepared for it, your body isn’t bracing for it in the right way. And this is kind of how I like to think about life.

We’re on Space Mountain, you guys. We are. Now, we might think, ‘Well, it would be better (if the lights were turned on so we could see what was coming). That would be a relief.’

But my guess is that it actually wouldn’t. In some ways, it would, but in many ways, it would take away from the experience that this life is!”

And this life experience is the way it is for a reason – for a grander, more inspired reason than I think we understand, even with all my thoughtwork. It is what it is supposed to be – the dark, the light, the uphills, the steep drops, the unknown, and even bracing for the known. Because, you know, after a few times on Space Mountain – after a few decades of life – we can kind of tell what is likely coming up. Right?

“This life allows us to evolve, and it allows us to experience not only negative emotion but all the positive ones too. Because we can’t see the future, it requires a certain amount of faith. It requires getting still and trusting in the spirit and trusting in the Lord.”

With some thoughtwork, I realize that those things that I think I want won’t always lead me to the life experience that I know I want. Elder Neil A Maxwell says, “Mostly, brothers and sisters, we become the victims of our own wrong desires.” He preaches educating and training our desires. “The education of our desires is one of far-reaching importance to our happiness in life”.

Let’s look at this again. What is it that I really want – what do I really desire:

  • I want to be comfortable being uncomfortable, in any situation, around any person in the world. What I want is for them to be exactly who they are – 100% – and to find joy in just that. I want to operate in love.
  • I want to learn how to meet my needs, so I am not dependent on others for that mercy and that validation.
  • I want to trust myself, to take care of myself, so I have the wherewith to take care of the children.
  • I want to plan for the future, I want to make the decisions now that will serve future me, I want to build a relationship with the future me, to serve me and to serve my family. And then I want to have the faith to truly truly enjoy the ride!
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