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On the Upside of Insatiability

“How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?” Margaret Atwood, A Handmaid’s Tale

I walked into my office yesterday and unlocked our waiting room door. I flipped on the lamps scattered about the room when my eyes fell on Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was clad in some shimmering golden frock and was begging the question, “What Defines You?”. Off my mind went. Too early for this, I thought.

I’ve been feeling rather stagnant lately. Too little exercise. Too little light. Not enough mental stimulation. Not very inspired. I have been walking my dog a lot and watching sunrises and sunsets and reading loads of books—but not much is sticking to me. I am craving something but I don’t know what.

Yesterday morning, O Magazine, of all things, spurred me on once again to think about this. To think about the evolution of self and what I still want moving forward in life.

Which lead my brain to Margaret Atwood’s query. When I read her question about insatiability, I read it as an indictment—although I am not far enough through Atwood’s tale to know if it was written as one. I am often appalled at my own lack of contentment. I notice often, in a nod to pragmatic Buddhist thought, how frequently my grasping nature, in its thirst for more, causes me suffering.

But yesterday at what felt like dawn, I found myself suddenly sort of basking in my own insatiability. Or at least pondering the dialectic of gratitude and desire. There is in me a constant yearning for expanded knowledge, for rich experience, for stimulating or challenging thought. I’d like to get better at things that mean a lot to me—things like writing or gardening or working out. I’d like to stop being afraid of talking really honestly with the people I love. Of being vulnerable.

I guess I’d like to stay thirsty.

But I also don’t want my longing to block my view, literally, right outside my window (both my office and my home). I never imagined I could come to the place I now am. A place of confidence and independence and meaning. A home I love. Views in abundance. A job that matters. A family I adore. And the ability to keep growing and thinking and evolving.

I guess one of the things that defines me is insatiability.

OK. For now, IN THIS MOMENT, I am going to acknowledge my genuine and profound gratitude for who and where I am in life AND I am going to embrace insatiability and hope it keeps opening things up and moving me into the next me—the one I keep becoming.

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