Yesterday a friend caught me off guard during a conversation.
She just asked me what my yearning is.
I had no answers ready. I tried to find something in the hidden corners of my mind, but nothing.
I’ve been thinking about that question since then without finding a definitive answer.
To yearn means to have an earnest or strong desire for something or someone.
Sure there are things that I desire, people that I love.
But I can’t point my focus on one thing.
That one “thing” that I desire with such intensity to fill up my mind, my heart and my soul.
Then in another conversation, I was reminded that sometimes thinking about something can get in the way of getting it. It’s one of the fascinating paradox of our mind.
“The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and results come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity.” — Aldous Huxley
So, I’ve decided that if I really want to discover what I yearn for, the only way is to stay open and allow for the answer to emerge.
“What would you jump into or out of if you were guaranteed success?”
With this question in mind, I’m writing today.
As soon as I read the question, I thought that it would be easy to answer.
Who doesn’t have a dream? Something we are not chasing because it’s too bold, or too risky.
So, I started seeking an answer only to find myself stuck.
Really, my mind is paralysed. I’ve been staring at the screen for a good five minutes, and nothing came up.
And then I felt it.
The fear of succeeding.
The fear of recognising that there is an incredible potential within that I’m not expressing. Did I waste it?
All these fears have created a cage of limiting beliefs. And I spent so much time in it that I got comfortable.
So now I struggle to imagine the world beyond.
But I know it’s possible. I had glimpses of that world. The world of possibilities.
It’s time to open the door and step out, into the light. It may burn at the beginning, but as soon as my eyes adjust, I know more wonder will manifest.
It’s so easy to get used to speed.
I experienced it with my motorbikes.
The first one was an entry bike, as they call them.
Not too overpowering, even if it had the same acceleration as an expensive sports car.
In the beginning, I was very cautious. It felt very fast to mee.
But after a while, I get used to it, and I started needing something more.
The reason I told myself was that I needed more power to enjoy a long trip in two.
So, I got a bigger and more powerful one.
You get where I’m going.
From that one, I went to an even more powerful and sporty motorbike.
Speed is addictive; at least it is for me.
Then one day I decided to get a small Vespa.
Almost twenty times less potent than my motorbike at the time.
It was only meant for daily commuting. In the end, where can you go with such a small engine?
One summer, my partner and I slowly travelled for two weeks across Italy, with the bags, two sleeping bags and a tent.
All on that Vespa.
One of the most memorable experiences in our life.
This morning I was listening to this famous song by Morcheeba, “Rome wasn’t built in a day“, and it made me think.
Some things take time.
In many aspects of my life, I often get hungry for speed.
I want something, and I want it now.
Technology had almost cancelled the distance between wanting something and getting it.
One click on Amazon and the product is yours.
One click on Netflix and the movie starts.
If you want to know something, a quick search on Google and you can find everything you want to know.
The risk is to miss out on the pleasure of the journey, the creative potential of the space in-between desire and achievement, begin and end.
When I feel the urge to get something or to arrive somewhere, I go back to that slow trip with my underpowered Vespa.
And I remind myself of the beauty of slowing down.
I love to learn new things; to discover new ideas and connections.
I always thought that the only way to grow and expand my potential was through addiction. Adding more knowledge, more skills, more tools, and so on.
The idea is that the more you know, the more and better you can do.
But it doesn’t work like that, not for me at least.
Knowing what to do doesn’t automatically imply doing what I know.
More and more, I’m becoming aware that the key to unlocking my true potential is subtraction.
We are like rivers, flowing is our nature.
What we should do is to remove all obstacles, or find ways around them, so we can flow to the sea.
Some obstacles are part of the nature of things, like rocks. Others are made, by us or by others, like dams.
The more we can clean the way, the more our stream will flow freely.
Sometimes I put so much effort to make my energy flow that I get in its way. The typical sign is a sense of frustration and feeling stuck.
When I become aware of it, and I let go, then my energy starts flowing again.
Tim Gallwey summaries it perfectly in his famous formula: Performance = Potential – Interference.
Let your potential flow.
“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” — Daniel Goleman, from Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
Or, using different words, one mind that senses and one that makes sense of things.
We all have both minds, but not everyone develops both in the same way. Some people have highly developed sensing antennas, others are better suited for sense-making, and some have a great balance between the two.
They are both essential.
Our world favours the second because it’s the one better suited to deal with material reality, the one we perceived through our five “physical” senses. However, without the first, the ability to sense, we can’t move beyond the limits and the boundaries of the limited space defined by those five senses.
I’ve always been proud of my ability to make sense, but I’m experiencing more and more the importance of nurturing my “sensing” mind. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of tools to develop our “sense-making” abilities, there aren’t easy recipes to expand our ability to sense.
But here’s a trick.
My new 4g router isn’t working very well, so I’ve been reading online for possible solutions. Someone suggested that it may be because my device cannot get a strong enough signal. In that case, the best solution is to add an external antenna who can get the signal for my device.
It works the same way for sensing. I found out that it is immensely helpful to surround myself with people with a remarkable ability to sense. Just with their presence, they enhance my own sensing abilities.