Don’t drift through life without an anchor. The Authors Collection.
July 13, 2013
Some days I don’t know what to do with myself. I drift around the house with no desire to do anything. If it goes on too long I feel as if I have turned into a piece of flotsam drifting on the sea of life without anchor, and without a purpose other than to drift.
One day, in the middle of a big drift, here is what I observed. My drift days appear to have two opposite beginnings, like the hot and cold faucets.
Turn one faucet, and I feel as if I have so many options of what to do, and I have so much to do, that I don’t want to do anything at all. Turn the other faucet, and I feel as if I don’t have many options, and nothing to do that I want to do, so I don’t want do anything at all.
Want to do. I think that is the crux of the problem in both cases. How to want to do, what you want to do. You know what I mean. Just because we want to do something, doesn’t mean we want to do it enough to actually throw down an anchor in the day and do it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said “To reach a port, we must sail-sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift.”
Ok, Mr. Roosevelt, I think we all agree drifting will never get us to a specific port, but the question I am asking today, is: “What if we are drifting because we have too many ports to choose from, or not enough ports to choose from, and in both cases, none we want to go to enough to start sailing.”
That’s why I think to stop a drift we have to first take the action of throwing out an anchor into something bigger than trying to decide what we want. In the middle of a life drift, there will probably be no answer coming that will make any sense anyway.
We have to put the question about what we want aside. Just take some kind of action, any action, towards anything that we already know needs to be done. Boil eggs, run the sweeper, make the bed, file some papers.
Break the drift inertia with these little things. This isn’t the time to decide to change the world and bring about world peace. More likely, those big ideas will bring back that too much, too little feeling, and off we go again, adrift on the sea of life.
On the third morning of a big drift, I woke up realizing I had a deadline to meet. A community of people were expecting something from me, and they would know I hadn’t done it. I threw an anchor into that feeling of not wanting to let people down that I care about, and the drift stopped.
With the anchor in place, and my deadline task in process, I thought of something I was interested in doing. However, I was putting it off because it would change my entire week’s schedule, and my prized “off” day would be gone. Which did I want more? I didn’t know, so I went and did the thing I was interested in so I could see if I was willing to make the trade.
It was worth it, so now I can sail to that port of decision.
Action and anchor may not seem as if they go together, but when drifting is in charge, they go together perfectly.
Life is not about sailing to just one port; it is countless ports and endless decisions. Sometimes a drift can be wonderful, like lying back in a warm sea, and letting ourselves be carried by the current.
However, drifting too long, without awareness of a purpose can carry us into dangerous waters. If you find yourself there, or even if, like me you find the drift has gone on too long, just throw your anchor down into something bigger than your personal wants and needs.
Be accountable to an idea (clean house, food for the family, deadline to keep), or a person (hug someone, smile at a stranger), and then you will find that you can then scan the horizon with clarity before lifting the anchor and setting sail.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Yes! This is the key isn’t it? Not worrying about what we want, or what we can do, but just being of service. This is a safe place to throw an anchor before sailing to our many life ports.
In my book The 4 Essential Questions: Choosing Spiritually Healthy Habits, I provide many ways to anchor and sail to life-ports that you consciously choose. If you are interested, you can find it here: http://perceptionpublishing.com/sharing-T4EQ