Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about what it means to be in alignment. Everywhere I turn there is an article, or a webinar, or some other forum discussing this very topic, and somehow I leave those situations no better off than I started. It seems like the consistent message for getting into alignment is that “you just have to get your mind right.” Honestly, I think that’s crap. Not to mention, it makes you feel even worse when no matter how hard you try, it still isn’t working- things still feel off. That’s the point I have come to, and I realized there had to be more to it. Being me, I had to connect it to something if I was to truly understand the concept, so I chose to dissect my ongoing issue with my town.
It’s no secret that I really don’t like the town I live in. I’ve written about it on multiple occasions. I do the best I can with making the best of it, but it’s a daily struggle. I recognize and acknowledge that my situation here isn’t really bad per se. From the outside looking in I have everything I need: a secure job, good friends, an amazing mom, a loving boyfriend, and a roof over my head with food on the table, but never once in all the time that I’ve lived here have I ever felt good being here, or like this was where I belonged, and I’ve made myself feel pretty bad about that thinking it was my fault I felt that way. I was a kid when my family first moved here, and I remember crying as we crossed the border saying “you can’t be bringing me here”. I was only 10, and yet something inside me just knew that this wasn’t the place for me, and I planned my escape immediately. I left after high school and didn’t look back. I lived here for a year out of the following 17 to get some things in order before moving on again, only coming back recently to be near my mom who needed me, convincing myself that this time would be better because I’m older. I have tried to stay positive and focus on what I could do here to make it better, but here we are three years later and I still feel exactly the same way about it. This is just not the place for me. But it’s not enough for me to say that anymore, I want to know why. What exactly is the problem?
I’ve done all the visualization exercises and meditations that exist and when I think about what I want for my life I immediately envision being close (and I mean within minutes) to walking/hiking/mountain bike trails, places to kayak and swim, parks, nature, a pedestrian lifestyle, in a place that values health and growth- spiritually, personally, educationally. I dream about growing my own food, and building friendships with like-minded people, as well as a more active job that keeps me up and moving and that challenges me. Every one of these things ties in to a belief or value that is important to me: independence, freedom, nature, growth, flexibility, intellectual stimulation, activity, etc.
So I took all of that and compared it to what my life looks like right now…
I’m, at minimum, 40 minutes from any nature as well as any hiking/mountain bike trails, and flat-water kayaking. In opposition to some claims, there is no real white-water kayaking within 2 hours, and actually it might be closer to 3. And while there is kayaking, those places do not allow swimming. The only available swimming within 50 miles is the indoor municipal pool in town. And that swimming 50 miles away? It’s in a different state. Our greenway goes around the town, but doesn’t connect to itself or to anything else for that matter, and there is nothing to see along the way, because again- there is no nature here. This also prevents a pedestrian lifestyle. We only have a couple bike lanes in the town so far, and we get a lot of push back from the community when someone wants to put one in. Our town doesn’t want them. They don’t want bicyclists at all, which is something I’ve heard said first-hand. Half of our areas don’t have sidewalks and there is no safe way to cross the highway. I’m sure it’s no surprise then, to hear that this is not a place that puts a lot of value on health or growth in any sense. They tend to fear education and even more, people that are not from here, as they do not want anything to change. Since it’s the plains/desert, growing food is not easy due to the lack of water, hail, high altitudes, and a very short growing season overall. I have been fortunate to find a couple people who share some of my ideals and beliefs, but to say it’s difficult to find like-minded people is an understatement. And lastly, I do have a good job, but I was never meant to work at a computer at a desk all day, and I tend to go a little stir-crazy from time to time because of it. So yeah…
And that folks, is what we call… misalignment. The way things are is completely out of alignment with what I want for my life. Since these are things that are currently out of my control, telling me I just need to get my head right feels like banging my head against a spiked brick wall. I am surrounded by people I have nothing in common with, wanting a lifestyle that is unattainable in the environment I live in. Do I have everything I need? Sure, at the base level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs I do. Am I able to move to the next level here? No, and that is why I struggle here so much. I now understand what being in alignment really means.
So now what? I am armed with this knowledge, what do I do with it? Well, I can clearly see where the disconnect is, but I also recognize there isn’t anything I can do about it right now. For the time being, I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done which is whatever I can each day to make the best of the situation, and to move me forward in my plan to leave. Save money, exercise, meditate, and finish the projects I’ve started, so that when the time comes I’m ready to go. The difference now is that I am not going to listen to the hype that suggests I’ll move into alignment if I meditate enough, or work on my mind/thoughts/etc. The way I feel is legitimate. There’s a good reason for it and it isn’t because I haven’t tried hard enough.
So maybe it really isn’t yours in your situation either. Take some time to really evaluate your values and beliefs against the aspects of your life that don’t feel right, and see what the problem really is before assuming you just aren’t doing something right.
Sometimes, the misalignment is a result of circumstances that are out of our hands, and the only thing we can do is then decide what action we are willing to take to fix it.