When you think about it, we own nothing but the moment and how we are going to spend that moment. I like to look at the birds when I feel down. A bird owns nothing but its wings, and it uses them to fly. We own our thoughts and with our imagination we can fly. However, we can’t do that if we are weighed down by our history or those really heavy coulda, shoulda, woulda’s.

A few years ago I moved from New York to California. In New York, when you meet someone whom you know on the street, they ask you what you have been doing. In California, they ask you if you are having fun. That’s a big shift.

How can you go from a life lived in stress to a life lived for fun? The trick is in getting really simple — down to a sensory level. If we get really simple, we realize that most of our “problems” are human-generated, and belong to the structure of the particular society in which we live. Even cancer is human-generated because it is the result of societal stress. Getting cancer is your body trying to warn you that you are living an unauthentic life. What is authentic about doing something that makes you anxious, stressed out or bored most of the time? What is the measure of an authentic life? Simply put, a life that you enjoy.

A bird, and every other being on this earth, has only a few real needs: food, sleep and shelter. Most of humanity’s “problems” are not real problems at all. They are only imagined problems built upon the expectations in our society. Our structure puts us out of touch with reality because it requires that we must do things to make money to have the basic needs met. We can never have a truly simple life, because we are removed from getting what we need directly, and we have grown to expect complexity, and our tastes are far from simple. We expect to have to have a job and a car so that we can have the things we need in life, but what we want far surpasses the bodily needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Now, I know that we have to live inside this society. The structure of our society demands that we have a decent house, an education, a car so we can get to work, etc. But when you are in a mental emotional meltdown brought on by the failure of this system to work for you, the only way out is to stop thinking inside that box. The only way out of that ever diminishing box is to get really, really simple. Take a walk out in nature, run through your senses one by one. Touch, see, hear, taste and smell everything in that moment. As you do this, you will find relief from circling thoughts, and you will find a moment to breathe. That moment is reality and the kernel of a truly authentic life.

Copyright 2009, Aliyah Marr