Have you ever wished for something so badly your whole body ached at the thought of it? I know I have, many times in the past.
Fourteen years ago, when I was trying desperately to have a baby, the thought of becoming a mother ruled my every waking moment; I hoped, prayed, read, and wished, but every month my hopes were dashed. Then, one day I went to lunch in the cafeteria of the hotel I worked at, and Mabel, an old lady who worked in housekeeping, asked me why I looked so sad. When I told her, she smiled and said, “You just have to stop the wishing.”
That night I went home and thought about what Mabel had said. How could I stop the wishing? I wanted a baby more than life itself, and I couldn’t imagine thinking about anything else; it had been two years since I first started trying, and by now I had fused with the obsession of it.
About a month after that, I received a wonderful new job opportunity, so I got very excited and my thoughts focused on the new turn in my career. I even told myself that it was probably a good thing I hadn’t become pregnant yet, and for once my timing was maybe in order.
I started my new job and loved it; I loved the people I worked with, my sunlit office, and the considerable increase in pay. A week later, I found out I was pregnant.
When I first looked at the positive pregnancy test, I sat there, dumbfound. Mabel’s words came rushing back to me, and I smiled, thinking she was right after all. I had stopped the wishing for a little while; by finding something else to focus my thoughts on, I had released the pent-up energy I had accumulated around my wish of becoming a mother.
By releasing the thoughts, all I had left was the true wish in the heart; by distancing myself from its unfolding, I had insured its success.
I thought about all the things I had wished for and let go of; the ones that truly meant something to me had come through in due time.
Just as a cake won’t rise if one looks at it, so wishes stall when one obsesses about them. Holding on to dreams does not mean forfeiting the quality of present life in favor of remaining stuck in the quicksand of a wish. We can dream, and hope in our hearts our dreams will come true, still going through the motion of enjoying the good things of our daily lives.
What Mabel taught me was priceless, and even if I ever wanted to forget her words, they would always jump at me anytime I simply glimpse at my three wonderful children.