The grass in northern Spain just is greener than it is around here in Madrid, and coming as I do from the UK, it seems to make some deep part of me happy. Ever since I discovered the Northern Province of Asturias, with its many mountain ranges, cloudy forests, wild-flower-filled pastures and breath-taking coastline, I’ve wanted to live there.
For long periods over the last few years, it has been a persistent nagging dream of mine to spend at the very least a year up there amongst all that greenness, and with the persistent nagging dream, comes the persistent, nagging side of my character that thinks I can only be happy if I get to fulfil this dream.
That’s all very well, but I also have a wife and a child, and my wife is perfectly happy with her life in Madrid. She’s on an important path here, our son is settled in school… it’s only me that has been clinging to this dream, and occasionally making life very difficult for them as a result. That’s the trouble with dreams…
Things came to a head on a holiday there recently. Finding that the landscape seemed to connect with something so deep within me, almost like it was part of my DNA, the dream was sparked off again with a vengeance!
“Just a year… think about it…. we could have a veg patch… all this fresh air would be so good for us… I’ve been in your city for so long, isn’t it my turn?” That last remark hit well below the belt, and all this did not lead to a harmonious holiday.
It took me a while to realise that by trying to drag the rest of my family in on my dream, I was seriously undermining all their stability. My son loves his school. My wife has friends, family, work, courses, and aspirations here in Madrid, and I was trying to pull all that out from under their feet.
Realising that this was the case lead to a second insight: I also have friends, family, work, courses, and aspirations here in Madrid!
And moving to Asturias was also going to pull the rug out from under my feet! Plus I love my son’s school just as much as he does!
Slowly I’ve come round to seeing how this dream was causing all of us, but particularly me, more harm than good. How can I be happy when I am dreaming of being somewhere else? Haven’t I got enough where I already am, without always having to look over the horizon at what might be better?
So I think I’ve laid my Asturias dream to rest for now. We’ll keep going on holiday up there, and who knows, maybe we’ll suddenly find ourselves living there in another stage of life in the future. For now, I’ve realised how much more we can all gain if I focus on deepening the wonderful roots I already have here.
I can be perfectly happy right where I am. Despite outward appearances, the grass is already perfectly green enough here in Madrid.
“…if you think that the conditions aren’t right where you find yourself, and you think that if only you were in a cave in the Himalayas, or at an Asian monastery, or on a beach in the tropics, or at a retreat in some natural setting, things would be better, your meditation stronger… think again. When you got to your cave or your beach or your retreat, there you would be, with the same mind, the same body, the very same breath that you already have here. After fifteen minutes of so in the cave, you might get lonely, or want more light, or the roof might drip water on you. If you were on the beach, it might be raining or cold. If you were on retreat, you might not like the teachers, or the food, or your room. There is always something to dislike. So why not let go and admit that you might as well be at home wherever you are? Right in that moment, you touch the core of your being and invite mindfulness in to enter and heal.” Wherever You Go, There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn