What is it that you are looking for? Do you really know?
A few days ago, I was desperately searching for one of my athletic knee braces to take with me to the gym. I have been doing a rather intense anaerobic routine and my knee was in the midst of one of the greatest protests it has ever endeavored. I knew that those braces were in the bathroom or the closet but, despite all my searching I was unable to find them. I was so frustrated as I knew this would mean I would have to reduce my pace at the gym and, ultimately, limit the benefits of my routine. The next day, still suffering from the throbbing of my knee, I went into the depths of the closet again; certain they were there and I had just missed it. It was at that moment that it dawned on me, "You're looking for the exact imagine of a knee brace and haven't found it yet... you need to look for something else, something it could be in." And so, in a matter of a few seconds I located shoe box which had all my knee braces in them. Needless to say I was ecstatic. I had failed to find them the day before because I was searching with the expectations of finding the exact representation of a knee brace. I failed to identify that they might be perfectly placed right in front of me, behind or in something else.
A few days before that I sat down at my desk to work. I was burning through my to-do list when I suddenly realized I needed some information from a sticky note that I keep hanging just above my monitors. The problem was, when I went to get the information it was gone! In fact, all my sticky notes were GONE! I immediately went into a panic as I couldn't imagine, for the life of me, where those sticky notes would have gone. I looked around the floor and nothing. In the trash? Nada! Sticky notes don't just get up and fly away! Then, I remembered that my mischievous 'other half' had been at my desk earlier that day. Of course! That explained everything! I texted her and asked here if she knew anything about it. A few moments later she walks into the room, smirking and giggling and tells me, 'look up.' Almost frustrated at this point I look up, six whole, horribly long inches and there they were. Literally, only a short distance from where they had been the day before. I was so focused on them being where they were supposed to be that I failed to see they had (been) moved a few inches away and, in my mind, I had lost them. Several months ago I would have written this all off to just aging, bad memory. But, as things have shifted and changed over the recent months, I found that there was actually a very valuable lesson to be learned in there; one that we can all learn from.
It is, by most standards, inarguable that the human spirit is designed to search. We are programmed to find that which fulfills us and (for some) helps creates a sense of completion in our lives. We spend the better part of our lives not at all understanding what (exactly) it is that we are looking for much less being able to describe it to others in a sufficiently relatable manner. How many people have spent the entirety of their lives searching for something they couldn't quite put their fingers on? How many have achieved 'everything they want' but yet feel there is something they failed to find along the way? How often have we narrowed the vision of our wants so drastically, with all the details and expectations we build, that we go from having the unlimited possibilities of an infinite universe, to basically being limited to what we see through a keyhole?
And in all this searching, by way of our expectations and imaginations, we literally become the very bumps in the road that make the journey so difficult. We become so focused on the details of what we imagine as the destination of our searching (finding that knee brace) that we fail to see all the possibilities and opportunities along the way. We become so hung up on the details that we have firmly planted in our minds (the location of those sticky notes) that we are unable to see that what we are looking for may be right in front of us, just (maybe) not exactly where we expect it to be.
Of course, we have to get past our egos first. We have to get past the 'want' and get down to the needs. I see people complaining about being single, but their list of requirements for a partner are so vast and deep that its no wonder they remain repeatedly disappointed. I see people wishing they had more meaning in their lives, but they are so focused on a specific expression of that meaning they miss the multitude of opportunities that present themselves every day. People focusing on wanting what they see making other people happy and missing their own happiness along the way. Maybe it's time to stop searching so intently. Maybe it's time to focus on the heart of what you desire and leave the details to whatever force orchestrates all this. Because as the end of the day, what we are a really wanting is that something, that someone, that life that makes us fulfilled. Everything else is just commentary.