“If we could have everything that we wanted, we’d probably realize that we don’t want many things at all.”
Those words came to mind as I watched Tatyana’s interview with Josue Caceres, as he discussed the inspiration for his first book of poetry, Out of Place. Josue references how in 2015 he noticed a common theme amongst his family, friends and greater community; an overall feeling of wanting more, though not realizing that they already have everything they need. This message instantly resonated with me, and called me back to the opening quote of this article, a similar epiphany I myself had in, funny enough, 2015. The happy coincidence rings with the idea of universal consciousness, and further speaks to quiet truths that when heard, just makes sense.
It seems as though many people today live in a constant pursuit of bigger, better, faster, smarter, the next, the latest, or the “more” in our lives. Everybody wants to wear the hottest trends, have the newest phones, be in a bigger house, have a nicer car, and these desires play out in modern times over social media feeds. Pop open your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and they’re littered with photos and posts of everybody living beautiful, rich, flawless, magazine lives. The truth however, is that most of the time that foreign car they’re posed in front of wasn’t theirs, and the beautiful vacation they were on wasn’t spent enjoying the moment but instead spent trying to take the right photo to flex for the gram. The even deeper truth beneath it all is that as we sit on our socials, vying for likes, and envying the lives of others, not many of us feel that we are living a great lives ourselves. Many of us have given our existence and validation over to the opinions of others and cultural standards that hold no weight. In our society we’re taught that your bank account, what you own and what you wear are supposed to be a measure of who you are. With that, we all feel this pressure to be “more than”. And thus, this feeling of wanting more and needing more arises. Band-aids to cover what’s really missing, or rather what is already there, but not often recognized.
So the question arises, what is it that we really need? Aside from food, clothing, shelter and water, what are these essential things that we supposedly already have, and when recognized, won’t want for much at all? For myself I find those things to be the introspective qualities of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Liberty, simply put, is having the mental freedom to do as you please. Many of us have voluntarily given away our freedom to fit in and be accepted. Given our freedom over to destructive thought patterns that aggressively echo the abuse and teachings of loved ones who said that we can’t, strangers who said we couldn’t, and government systems that said that we won’t.
Unable are many to manifest their dreams due to the clutter of the thoughts, opinions and ultimately the fears of others, that we have adopted as our own. But the truth that many of us forget, is that absolutely anything we want to be, we can be. And the best part? It is completely ok. There is nothing wrong with being yourself, with going against the grain, or being outside of the norm. The truth is that standards are a falsehood created to suppress and control. Who each of us are, is exactly how we are meant to be, and what is wrong in the equation is not you, but the cycle of mental suppression that we were born into. It is only when we stop believing that we can’t, that we see that we can. Therefore, I cite freedom as being a state of mind, and not a circumstance of space. Every day that we are alive we have the ability to decide what our attitude will be, and what we will do with ourselves and how our life will progress.
Of all the choices that are worthy of making, happiness is one of them. If we are to enslave and chain ourselves to anything, let it be not to the voice of others but instead to the voice of your happiness. Every one of us deserves to be happy, and yet so many of us struggle to find it. However, just like liberty, it’s really not that hard to find. I cite happiness as being both the consequence of our choices and a choice in and of itself.
When you have the mental freedom to do what you want, I believe that we owe it to ourselves to be driven by the pursuit of our happiness. Life, as many say, is too short, and opportunities for happiness are all around us, but we have to make a choice to indulge them. It’s truly not about where you are, because I’ll tell you that where you are is the perfect place to get to where you want to be. Where you are can be anywhere, but what will never change, unless you make the choice to, is who you are. Are you a person who chooses to enjoy life? Find the good in the bad, choose to see what you do have and not what you don’t? Are you a person who is driven by optimism and joy? Do you appreciate material things or the little things? It is daily checks like that, that can improve the quality of your mental and in effect, the quality of your entire life.
Though it is easy to do, I ask you all to not allow your liberty and your happiness to get caught in the clutter of trying to keep up and fitting in. Never forget that you always carry with you everything you need to feel fulfilled, you just have the make that choice. Never be afraid to live your life for you and bask in and enjoy of the moment, for it is as we call it, a present.
I would like to close out by thanking Josue for sharing with us and giving such great food for thought. I think we all can relate to feeling a sense of lack, and it is important to remember that we always have what we need as long as we have the mind to see it. I also want to thank Tatyana for the awesome opportunity to help build and grow BXTRA, and for this and all of her wonderful interviews that have made me laugh, think, cry, and remember just how extraordinary we all are.