After the Pursuit

In the west, we often discuss the pursuit of happiness. We have goals. We constantly pursue a state of being just beyond our reach. We strive and push and claw our way to a higher vista, only to be disappointed that the journey has ended shortly thereafter.

Life coaches, therapists, and self-help authors alike encourage us on our journeys towards success. We are sold book after book, podcast after podcast about how to get where we want to be. Less often, however, are we coached on the subject of actually living your life once you’ve achieved success. Once you’ve gotten everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’re still alive, what do you do?

In my short life, I’ve been lucky enough to pursue happiness as I define it. With the help of a village, somehow I’ve landed a career I love in a town I love and I have (almost) everything I’ve ever wanted. The goals I’ve pursued for the last 6 years have all come to fruition. I’ve climbed this mountain and have reached the viewpoints I always hoped I’d reach. I’ve traveled to distant places and crossed item after item off my bucket list. And yet, the day after Christmas, when I have more love, possessions, and security I could ever want, I find myself dissatisfied. Why?

I call this state of being, “post-creation depression.”

You’ve invested so much of your life and energy into creating. You’ve prepared yourself and your peers for the changes to come. You know in your heart you are going to get everything you’ve ever wanted. Your journey reaches a climax as you begin receiving the manifestations of your heart’s desires. Then, everything you’ve ever wanted comes right to you. Your baby, your job, your love, the very thing you wished for from the universe has been given to you. You are overwhelmed with gratitude, humility, and a happiness that you’ve never felt before. You’re higher than you’ve ever been because at last, your love (however you define it), has come along. And then, the journey is over.

Once you have everything you’ve ever wanted, or rather, once you’ve received everything for which you’ve asked, you start to wonder why you wanted it in the first place. You have it all; it’s all been prepared and created for you. You were so excited. Now, you’re exhausted.

The emotional roller coaster of creating, or working hard to achieve your goals, of laboring day in and day our in the pursuit of happiness, is over. You’ve stepped off the ride and back onto solid ground. You are changed, in ways you can consciously notice and in ways you won’t be able to see for years to come. While you’ve experienced a monumental growth spurt, seeds of new life, of new creation have been planted within you, waiting for the right season to come to life. And so, like the mothers who feel emotionally exhausted after giving birth to their babies, those of us with determined goals and creation hopes for our realities too have periods of post-creation depression.

The ironic thing is that this time, this darkness, these valleys that follow the peaks of our lives are both the end of a cycle and simultaneously the beginning of another. This period of time is the fertilizer of life. And, ironically, fertilizer is more often than not, a big pile of shit.

So your goals and dreams come true. And then, shit happens. Sometimes it’s manageable shit, and other times it’s shit so heavy and so crushing that you feel suffocated by it, buried in the mire. Going with the flow of nature requires you to slow down after periods of intense transformation and sit with all that’s happened. While you can’t go back and relive the moments wherein you felt indestructible you can reflect upon them, and ask them what they were meant to teach you.

You can also remember that the very highs you experienced would not have been possible without the lows that preceded them. Remember that for each downward spiral you experience there will be an equally balancing upward elevation. Learn to fly. Learn to fall. Watch what happens in between it all. Give thanks for the moments that made you feel most alive. Live in the state between being and becoming, remembering that, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to do it for the rest of your life. Discovering who you are is no different than learning nature’s cycles; for we are she and she is us and without the shit no flowers can grow.

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