I'm a journalist and my beat is life. I’ve always been a curious person, because I want to discover how one can build a life of meaning, joy, purpose, and love. I’m curious how we are meant to survive all that life throws our way without losing hope, joy, and ourselves along the way. I'm curious how we can build lives that stand on solid ground and that are capable of responding to the moment, whatever that may be.
I think about this a lot. I think about building my own meaningful life, one that is spiritual, purpose-driven, connected, loving, and joyful. A life that makes me feel full, happy, and hopeful about myself, my loved ones, and my country. I apply those same values to this publication. Its focus is on helping guide you to a place where you feel safe, seen, and supported on your path. Its focus is on making sense of all that is going on around us with an eye to the future. It’s about now and about what’s to come.
Every week when I sit down to write, I think about that. I think about what is going on in our world and how to make sense of it in a way that makes sense. I think about you reading what I write and how I want it to bring value to you. I want it to make a difference.
Sometimes I don’t know what to write. I sit and nothing comes up for me, or too much comes up at once. Usually when I’m unsure what to write, I walk or I talk to someone. And then, for some reason known only to God, I find my theme.
This week’s theme comes from a conversation with my friend David.
One early morning this week, I was speaking to David (who owns his own interior design business) about product shortages, clogged supply chains, and the news that many of our country’s shelves are going to be bare at Christmas. David said to me, “I think this is a big reset. I think we are collectively being taught one big lesson that we all need to be taught: a lesson in patience.”
“We’ve all become so impatient,” he continued. “We buy things and expect them to arrive in 24 hours. We call ahead and expect our food and drink to be ready when we pull up. We expect to find love with a swipe on our phones. We FaceTime someone halfway around the world and see their face in seconds. Within moments, everything is at our fingertips. We consume what we want, when we want, and we just keep moving onto the next thing without a thought about what it does to our environment, our relationships, or our lives.”
Covid came with all kinds of lessons, but now we have the great supply chain mess and people are clamoring for whatever it is they can’t have, or feel they need to have immediately. What’s worse, people who need essential items are finding that store shelves are bare, and many families are faced with the unthinkable reality of having to go without the basics. I also understand that companies need their goods to do business. My team at MOSH is caught up in these supply chain issues too, and it’s frustrating. Ingredients are on backorder. There are paper shortages and labor shortages. The ports are clogged. The cost of doing business has skyrocketed. (I do think the president made a smart move by putting the nation’s largest ports on a 24/7 schedule to get things moving. Hopefully that speeds things along just a bit.)
But what if all this is about something bigger than the supply chain? What if this is a moment when we learn a lesson even bigger than the one about being patient (although God knows we could all use a ton more of that). Maybe it’s a moment for us to stop and think about what we actually need in our lives right now.
Do we need to panic buy right now out of fear that we won’t be able to buy Christmas gifts next month? (My daughter Christina said she’s going to just make everything this Christmas.) Do we need more than what we have? What is enough?
My friend Simon recently shared with me this quote that's attributed to businessman Ric Elias: “Never replace happy with happier.” I love that. Don’t go out and get busy trying to be happier when you are already happy. I would also add, don’t do that when you already have what you need.
This is one of those moments to check in with yourself. Are you happy? Are you okay? Do you have enough? Really think about that. What do you need to make you happier? Is a new iPhone truly going to make you happier? Will more stuff really make you happier? I’ve learned in life that when we are longing—be it for love, comfort, food, or a new whatever—it’s a chance to go deeper within and ask yourself what that longing is really about. It’s usually a longing for a sense of belonging and meaning.
I’ve discovered that when we have built a life of meaning and of belonging for ourselves, then the need for “more” slowly fades into the background. Being content with what is allows us the opportunity to become more loving, more kind, more gentle, and more patient. Getting something in 24 hours versus one week isn’t really going to change your life. But having the conversation with yourself about what you truly need right now just might.
The world is asking us to be patient right now. It’s asking us, do we really need all that we think we do, and are we aware of the impact on our environment? It’s asking us, where are we rushing to? It’s asking us to slow down, be patient, and ask ourselves some big questions about how we are living and what we are chasing. What is it that we think we want?
Happier isn’t better than happy. More isn’t better than less. And being impatient is definitely not better than patience. As you rush out into your work and into your life this week, think about how you might go slowly instead. Think about happy versus happier. Think about need versus want. And think about the peace that we all crave in our lives and in our world right now.
Yung Pueblo wrote in his new book Clarity and Connection that “real freedom is mental clarity combined with inner peace. Freedom is when you can see without projecting, and when you can live without causing yourself unnecessary mental tension or stress. It exists whenever you are not craving for more. Happiness and freedom are one.”
And there you have it.