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Life Is Not a Race: Why We’ll Never Find Happiness in the Future

Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments


By Polly Green | Tiny Buddha

“Life is not a race but a pace we need to maintain with reality.” ~Amit Abraham

Almost all of my adult life I’ve competed in the extreme sport of white-water kayaking.

My life revolved around adrenalin and competition.

Recently, I had a dream I will never forget:

I was running in a race and I was out in front, winning.

I got to a point in the course where there were no signposts showing the next turn. So I asked the race officials, “Where is the course?”

They replied, “We don’t know.”

The race officials couldn’t tell me where the course went from there because there was no course.

All of a sudden I stopped running and thought to myself, “There is no race if the officials don’t even know the course.”

The feelings that followed were first confusion and then a deep sense of relief.

I thought, “I don’t have to try so hard. I don’t have to win anything. There is no competition. Just stop. You are enough exactly as you are.”

And then I woke up.

This dream has stuck with me for weeks, as it feels like the exact message I need.

Just stop. You are enough. There is no race.

What if you already had everything you were asking for? What if this was it, and everything you thought you wanted was just an illusion?

Two weeks ago I got invited to go scuba diving.

I did my scuba diving certification course fifteen years ago and thought it was kind of boring. There wasn’t enough adrenalin and no competition involved, so I never went again.

Upon receiving this recent scuba invitation, I took it as sign and said yes.

Being a beginner at something is humbling. Not knowing what you’re doing. Not being good. Feeling awkward with the equipment.

It gives the ego a big check to say, “I don’t know. I’m a beginner. Please show me. Please help me.”

Listening intently as my instructor reviewed all the details I learned fifteen years ago but had forgotten, I felt vulnerable.

Most of my life I’ve been at the top of my game as an international white-water kayak competitor, and have been the guide for others.

What’s it like putting the shoe on the other foot?

Somehow it was great!

The realization came that I am an absolute beginner not only in scuba diving but in life.

This new way of living I’ve embraced requires stopping, being authentic, and learning vulnerability.

How does this feel?

Actually, liberating!

I did my scuba review and absolutely loved it. I was buzzing. The thrill of a new experience and the learning curve of being a beginner was exponential.

After two real dives in the ocean I was hooked.

This is what my there is no race dream was showing me!

The point of scuba diving is to go slowly, see as much as possible, remain calm, breathe, and relax. There is no winner except who has the best time in his or her own experience.

Under water, it feels like a meditation, no chatting or ego involved. Taking in the beautiful colors, swimming with amazing fish, and experiencing a whole new world was intoxicating.

Two weeks later I got invited to go again. We did four amazing dives in a world-class dive site in Bali. It was so unbelievably amazing. I asked myself, “How did I get here?”

I got there by letting everything else go. Embracing an entirely new way of interacting with the world, and with myself. Questioning everything I ever viewed as worthy.

Three years ago I packed up my life in New Zealand and sold or gave away everything, even my kayaks.

I decided to say yes to the unknown, landing me in a whole new life in Bali.

No extreme sports, no adrenalin, no competition; my new life here is about saying yes to everything I never thought I was.

Going slowly, practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and dance, learning how to speak Indonesian, and now scuba diving, my life looks like something I never in a million years would have guessed it would be.

I am finding joy in the little things, learning how to be in the moment, and realizing all that I thought was important isn’t.

There is no race.


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