Non-Striving

Mari Carpenter
4 min readApr 10, 2023
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

“The more you strive and search for happiness, the more you overlook the possibility that it is here already.” -Robert Holden.

What if you’re already living the life of your dreams? What if you don’t need to become anything. You don’t need to travel the world, own your own business, get married and have kids, have a certain job, live a certain lifestyle etc. What if the whole thing is about accepting what is? What if this is it, this moment, this reality, what if its enough? What could open up in your life? How would you feel if you no longer had to strive for something greater. What freedom could you then have?

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with goals, in fact, as a health and well-being coach that is what I help people to reach. Most people want to continue to have a better life, and be a better person. Its important for us to grow and have motivation. It is a joy of life to continuously evolve. But its when we attach the result to our happiness that suffering ensues. We often are so caught up in the pursuit and striving that we don’t enjoy the life we have already created. The life that we have already been given, the joy of just being alive and present in one moment to the next.

We make things so complicated. All the planning and scheduling and constantly waiting for the next thing, event, person, that we lose ourselves. What if we let go of the constant striving and accept ourselves, our lives, the world, just as it is, and we just try to do the next right thing. We fill our cup so we can be there for other people. We continue to play our part in the stream of life, and we let go of the results, and enjoy the process. We all have a part. Not everyone is a flower, and not everyone is a branch, or the roots, but we all make up the tree. We all have a part, just by being in existence.

We let go of the illusion of control. That if I do a certain set of steps I will get to the life of my dreams. We let go of focusing on regret, that if I had done things differently then I would be where I wanted to be. What if this right here right now is where we are supposed to be? Think of all the things that had to happen to get us right here where we are. Its kind of amazing, because so much of it was out of our control. We may have had a certain idea about something and taken certain steps, but rarely do things unfold as planned. We cannot predict sickness, or the weather, or other people’s actions. I mean we just had a three year pandemic, could anyone have predicted that?

I have spent a lot of my life trying to unravel my attachment to achievement. I have felt constantly that I have not achieved what I wanted. Ironically, I have achieved a great deal. Don’t you see? It is never enough. I have proven to myself that achievement of something never stops the feeling that it is not enough and more must be achieved. This is part of why I wanted to become a coach, so I could partner with other people to explore their own insights and motivations for how they live their life. I do think it is important to have a baseline of balanced health. When this foundation is in place, we don’t have to worry about our “lifeforce” or “prana” sucking our energy. However, arranging your life the way you want it, is still not going to bring happiness. You take small steps and get on a solid footing and have a good path, and then who knows what is going to pop up along your journey. Its rather exciting on one hand, and frightening on another. But the end result is out of our hands, and what a relief.

Do you ever feel like its too much, the striving, like its crushing you? If so I think you would then be human. We forget how imperfect and fallible we are. We beat ourselves up, and constantly compare ourselves to curated lives we see on social media or from our own imagination. We forget that nobody really knows what they are doing, and we are all just doing our best. So one at a time, if we could just stop trying so hard, and just do our best, accept reality, have compassion for ourselves and others, then we would suffer less, and we could spread that to the world. Imagine a life of freedom, of less attachment, less suffering, and more compassion. Imagine if we learned to accept our reality and added more mindfulness to our existence. Isn’t that a world you would want to be in? I know I would.

May you be free of suffering. May you live with ease. May you find acceptance for yourself and others. May you be at peace.

--

--

Mari Carpenter

Wellness Warrior and Spiritual Gangster. Lifelong Learner. Seeker of Truth.