You are so incredibly excited about it: the destination, goal, experience, or feeling you’ve been seeking. You say once you are actually there, you will know. Even if you’ve never felt it or been there before, you are certain you will recognize “it” when it shows up, and you will rejoice.
Except if you have so little experience having your mind and body in the same place, you don’t accurately know what’s happening as it’s happening.
You look back on your first marriage (or 1998, or life in Cleveland, or your last job) and shake your head, wondering why you didn’t realize how miserable (or happy or overwhelmed or exhausted) you were then.
You can see it now, sure; but while you were going through it, you had absolutely no idea what was happening.
There is the challenge: if you can only recognize your emotions from a distance, you may never see the present clearly. If you know what you were feeling back then, and can imagine what you’ll feel someday, but have no idea how you’re feeling right now, you’re at a disadvantage.
Imagine having a brand new car, perfectly functional in every way but one: the gas gauge always reads “EMPTY.” It doesn’t matter how much gas is in the tank, the gauge reading is exactly the same. In this car, you’d have no way to easily know what kinds of reserves you had available, and as a result, you might find yourself driving, planning, and living very differently that you would otherwise.
Perhaps “it”, the experience you’ve wanted to have for so long, is here already and you simply don’t know it. Like the broken gas gauge in this otherwise wonderful car, it is entirely possible you do not know how much (or how little) you already have. Your emotions are a source of priceless information. If you are willing, you can use what you are feeling right now to help you chart a course to your desired destination. As a bonus, you may even find yourself enjoying the ride.
If you’ve been on the road for a while and find you see so much more in your pictures of yesterday than in the scenery around you today, perhaps this question is for you:
What emotion are you feeling right now, and what might it be trying to teach you?