Updated: Feb 13
This January involved driving across the second largest country in the world during one of the more extreme winter spells that the country has experienced. I was unable to pass beyond one city for three nights because winds were gusting snow across treeless prairies at 80 KM/ hour, leading to zero visibility. I felt like I had arrived in the novels of antiquity, becoming a stranded mariner unable to pass over perilous, black seas.
This novel continued upon arrival to my destination. I began apartment hunting in a new city whilst it was in lockdown and encountered the weightiest snowfall it had in years, which meant that even cars were temporarily paralyzed. Perhaps this context fueled my intensity as I sought to find the ‘perfect’ apartment (not to mention the months of preparation- sleek boho-glam-modern interior design pinterest albums that I had assembled, later learning that this was an impossible genre to replicate offline).
Unsurprisingly, the search for the ‘perfect’ apartment became a search within myself. I was not only weighing ‘pragmatic’ variables like cost and square footage, but was also engaged in a grueling exercise of self trust (‘do I say no? Yes?’ ‘what does practicality really mean?’ ‘what do I really need?’ ‘what does the universe want for me?’). I desperately consulted a clairvoyant over this period, who advised that I ruthlessly direct my course toward the archetypal human expectation titled ‘you will know when it’s the One’. I deeply wanted this unpleasant travel adventure which defied all postcards to be, at the very least, spiritually enlightening.
Eventually, vis a vis a journey that felt all but sublime (finding spiritual insights along the way felt like digging a garden in cold, hard soil), I signed a lease. In the first true pause in weeks, I lay on my blow up mattress staring at my concrete, modern ceiling (aka. futile attempt at Pinterest design revelation), and, unsure how, burst into peals of joyous laughter.
Yes, I had definitely made the wrong decision (albeit, the ‘practical’ one). My new apartment was a puzzling doll's house. It featured a long necked kitchen, and paper thin sliding doors covering a bedroom whose ceilings were furnished with concrete and industrial pipes. Unusually large windows invited playful light, while also inviting the gaze of neighbors who, themselves being framed by these same glassy efforts toward modernity, were illumined as various instagrammable vignettes (boho-bedroom underwear, steel lamp workstation and round hipster glasses). Impossible to furnish in an efficient manner due to this strange shape and build, and also resulting from this noticeable laugh of privacy, this apartment was the antithesis to ‘settling down’.
During this great ‘first true pause’ I found myself delightfully wrenched in peals of laughter because finally, after weeks of a hard search for both a home and also spiritual lessons, a revelation had found me in the form of a tremendously amusing irony. The lesson? No matter what we do, the "right" decision can and will likely be the wrong one.
What I realized within this moment of surrender is that the point isn't perfection. It's not even getting it right. This applies to the intentional acquisition of spiritual lessons, material objects, the completion of an essay, and even housing. The point then, of any quest? It's being able to laugh alongside the great cosmic play. It's being able to let yourself be discovered in your own ‘first true pause’ by a benevolent universe. It’s the relationship with the Divine along the way.
The human mind is incapable of getting anything perfectly right. We are simply too small. When this realization of smallness can blossom from your own version of a ‘first true pause’, it’s infinitely more beautiful than any "right" answer and its brief smug resonance.
One of the reasons that we will never ‘get it right’ is because we are supposed to feel conflicted, continually in search of an ultimate truth. And, this 'ultimate truth' is unlikely to come in the form of a material outcome as true purpose is always spiritual. The imperfections of life are necessary in order to remain in a state of surrender to the vastness of the universe’s love. The universe will always be steps ahead of us. In this regard, awe becomes possible. Growth involves tension. Get out of the way by learning to laugh, not conceptualize. Stay in a state of surrender by seeking knowledge, not aiming to acquire it. Dance with the tension, laugh with the play. Trust that the universe is, and will always, provide for your needs, along the way.