Chasing Comets

Posted By on Sep 23, 2013 | 37 comments

Lately, I’ve been running into a lot of people who are unhappy. They are stressed out, fed up, exhausted, miserable, and just struggling to get by.

It seems no matter how much they try, they can’t seem to get what or where they want in life. They keep grasping, hoping, wishing, chasing those things that are so glittery and pretty. They think those things are going to make their lives that much better.

Its like chasing comets.

Comets are amazing things from a distance. They look so beautiful, mysterious, and quite frankly, are one of the coolest things you can see in the night sky.

I remember when the Hale-Bop comet was coming through our cosmic neighborhood when I was younger. It was an incredible sight to see in the dark blanket of space. The thing appeared to just be hanging there like a sparkling ghost among the stars.

There is something funny about comets, though. While, from down here on Earth they may look amazing, when you get up close, you find something different. In fact, what you may find is downright disappointing (unless you’re a space/science aficionado). The object that appears to be so magical from far away is nothing but ice and dirt, hurtling towards the sun on a strange, repeating path.

Another oddity about comets is that what makes them beautiful is also what will eventually kill them someday: the sun ripping away their materials.

We treat a lot of things in life like comets.

Got to have that newer, better, faster car. Just a little more money and we will be better off. If I could date that girl/guy instead of the one I’m with, I’ll be happier. A new house will be better than the one we’re in right now. If only I can put on a few more pounds of muscle or lose a few pounds of fat, I will be much more satisfied with myself. That new tech gadget is better than the one I currently have.

We constantly see those things we don’t have, and we keep reaching for them, keep chasing them. I’m just as guilty as anyone of this. It is a constant battle.

But how do we fight it. And why should we?

Here’s the thing. If you constantly chase the things you don’t have, you will constantly have less than you want. That is how the universe works. And I see it all the time, both in my life, and in the lives of people around me.

The ones who are happier are the people who look at the things in their lives and are extremely grateful. They truly appreciate every simple meal, the beat up car they drive, the pillow on their bead, and the relationships that fill their days.

Those who are most miserable have a common problem. You know them. Heck, you might be one of them. They are the ones I described earlier, always chasing something, never satisfied with what they have. They can never seem to catch a break, are always broke, always sick, always down on their luck. Sound familiar?

I was sitting on my porch the other day thinking about this. In fact, I’m sitting on the porch as I write this. I am so lucky to have this porch, this laptop, this crisp fall air, my sweet cats (yes cats), loving friends and family, a great community of the best readers in the world, a reliable car, food on my table, and a decent place to lay my head at night.

When I thought of all those things, it reminded me of how rich I really am. How blessed I really am. I may not have billions of dollars or drive a car with a thousand horsepower or a boat the size of an aircraft carrier, but I am so thankful for my life.

The funny thing is, the more gratitude I express from my heart, the more of those things come my way. When you stop focusing on the things you don’t have, and begin living from a perspective of contentment, you will begin to see your life change in miraculous ways.

My last comment about this comes from some research I was doing a few years ago about entrepreneurs who had founded internet startups then sold them off for ridiculous sums of money. These people had sold their companies for hundreds of millions. American dream, right? They could sit on the beach sipping mai thais for the rest of their days.

Only there was one problem. When those founders sold off their companies, after a while, they realized that life wasn’t as great as they thought. They all experienced a similar sentiment: they wished they still owned their companies.

Several of them tried to create new startups like their original ones, but couldn’t succeed, making them wish even more that they’d never sold off their companies. They saw that life that looked so awesome from a distance, but when they got there, they realized it was nothing but ice and dust.

So, be grateful. Be content. Let yourself feel like the luckiest person in the entire world, no matter where you are right now. Find one or two things you can cherish in your heart and be thankful for. I promise, those things are there, right under your nose.

Embrace them. I’d sure hate for you to waste your whole life chasing those comets.

Got something that makes you feel rich or lucky or blessed. Put it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.




  1. I woke up this morning! And I can breathe! And I have a job, and a hot husband, and 3 beautiful healthy kids! Oh, and I have a house and a minivan (swagger wagon, thank you!) and a bed to sleep in and clothes to wear! Oh and this other really great thing…I have been healed of Stage 4 cancer! You are so right….the more we are grateful for the things we have the more gifts we are given.

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    • I love this comment so much. It made me laugh. It almost made me cry. Thank you for sharing it with everyone. πŸ™‚

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    • So enjoy your blog and your books. I really needed to read this post TODAY. It also reminds me of a class I took at a Christian Workers Seminar some years ago on the power of praise and the joy it brings.

      In our sixties my husband and I took on a new adventure in starting our own bait, tackle and firearms store. We have been so blessed with the opportunity to meet and enjoy so many people. The challenges of a small business at our age in today’s marketplace often keep me on my knees. Thanks for the reminder of how blessed we are today.

      You are appreciated.

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      • Thank you so much for sharing that, Melody. And thanks for the appreciation. It is good to be appreciated. πŸ™‚

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    • Ernie,
      I love this ! I am thankful for my life ,but I am more so after reading this.
      In the last two years, I decided that I am going to be happy and grateful for the people and other wonderful things that I have in my life . and stop wishing or chasing “comets ” that aren’t in my life. I have learned to be thankful for what I have and to stop focusing on what I don’t have.

      Thank you for writing this,


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    • Congratulations Cindy! I too have survived cancer – Stage 2 breast cancer that is. At times when I get back into the ‘routine’ of things it’s so easy to forget how lucky we all are. I have a sign on my desk that reads “I didn’t survive cancer just to die of stress”. It’s these reminders like the ‘comets’ that we have to remember to appreciate all that we have and not sweat small stuff and be grateful for all that’s in our lives!

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  2. Very good article and so ! Thanks for the gentle rem inder to be grateful

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    • Thanks for the compliment. πŸ™‚
      And you’re welcome. We all need reminders from time to time. πŸ™‚

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  3. I love this post! I am grateful every day for finding the practice of yoga and allowing it to totally change my life. The physical and meditative aspects are deeply satisfying and enriching. The spiritual practice of yoga a yogic life….now that has totally changed me from the inside out! Cultivating contentment and gratitude continue to be life changers for me. I am fascinated by the many layers of this and the numerous ways they create abundance in my life. One of my favorite ways to use my gratitude journal is to take the most challenging thing in my day and find the gift of growth in it. This can really turn everything around in my perception and experience of life events and circumstances. This not only leads to peace but also to deep and satisfying trust in all the movements of life, even the gut wrenchingly painful things like divorce and assault.

    And then there are the softer gratitudes like pulling over on a late night drive tonight to gaze at the stunning moon in a few moments of silence, snuggling with my cat before sleep, or communicating intuitively with a horse…feeling one with each other…as we practice in the ring or enjoy some grooming together πŸ™‚

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    • Awesome comment, Krista. Thank you so much for sharing this. πŸ™‚

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  4. Every time I read one of your articles it feels like you are looking in my window of life because it fits like a glove. I have been experiencing some major changes and not all of them have been good. This article helped me put the things that were troubing me in prospective. I can appreciate them now from afar. Thank U

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    • Happy to help. Keep appreciating things no matter how tough it might seem at times. You got this. πŸ™‚

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  5. Ernest, you embody the true “Prosperity Consciousness”, because you are aware and awake to the reality that everything you need you already possess. And your generosity of spirit means that as you give, so shall you receive. And because you are Awake, you see the comet for what it is, a dirty snowball in space, hurtling to its own destruction, yet giving us such pleasure with its transient beauty. You appreciate the beauty, but understand its cause. You are not deceived by false appearances,nor lured by false “prosperity”.
    Thank you for a terrific post!

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    • Very welcome, Octavia. And thanks for sharing some of those great terms with everyone. Good stuff. πŸ™‚

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  6. Very well-written, Ernie. I’m thankful for my beautiful, loving, supportive, hilarious wife, sources of income, and healthy bodies and minds to be able to do what needs to be done. Life is good. And, as I tell my students, we all have a purpose for being on this earth. Consider all the lives that were not created. We’re here — so that must count for something, right?

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  7. Very good article. I am sharing it with all my friends.
    Proud of you Cuz!!

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    • Thanks Anna! I appreciate it. Spread the word! πŸ™‚

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  8. Thank you I needed to be told to look at all the beautiful blessings in my life! I am a Comet Chaser, I always have been. I am now learning through the heartache of a painful breakup, one that I originally thought was what I wanted, that I don’t need to always chase, I do however need to be thankful. I have a great job one in which I get to touch the minds of the students I see everyday. I have a beautiful and smart son that is growing into a thoughtful respectful citizen. I have a few great friends that have allowed me to cry and mourn this passing relationship and have shown me it is ok to be vulnerable and allow other in to help ease the hurt. Thank you very much!

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    • You’re welcome, Amber. And thank you for sharing your story with the crew.

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  9. So very true. I thank God every day for my health and my family and friends and all of my blessings. Sure there’s things that I want, a better car, a bigger house, etc. but then I go to work with a special needs child. I work with him monday through Friday and I go home to my healthy kids who can run and play and have normal healthy lives, and I know that I am truly blessed! Thanks for sharing your words of insight!

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    • You’re welcome, Tiff. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your comment about wants versus what we truly can be grateful for.

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  10. I am grateful to be a member of your community, they sound like a really nice group of people. I am also grateful to have reached the age of retirement with my own little home, family of cats and good friends. I have gone through the “wanting to have” time after spending a lifetime of working, taking care of other people, and having no time of my own, and you are right, just be happy with what you have. Now I look around and see how blessed I am and I am very proud of doing a good job and being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
    Thanks again for the reminder to remember how blessed we are no matter how much we do or do not have and enjoy the life we do have.

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    • Thanks for that, Barbara. You’re livin the dream!!!
      Enjoy those fruits of your good labors! You’ve earned it!

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  11. I am new to this journey. My husband and I have been comet chasers for far too long, and are now realizing this will never make us happy. And it’s setting a bad example for our 11-year old son.
    We are focused on changing many things in our lives right now. Mostly our attitude about stuff. We are downsizing our material possessions to the ones that have personal value and meaning. We are considering selling our large house and renting something smaller. We have both realized that home ownership comes with its own set of hardships and irritations. It’s like an anchor weighing us down. We would rather be free to travel, and have experiences.
    We are also beginning to appreciate what we have even more. I was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis in both hips in early June. Basically, my hips have lost blood supply and are dying a slow, painful death.
    I had my first surgery to try and save my right hip on 9/10. I have my second surgery (left hip) scheduled for 10/1. This experience has led me to appreciated my family and friends so much more. I have been confined to bed and/or a wheelchair for several months. Having to ask for help, and accept help from others has been difficult for me. But, seeing who my friends are, and how willing everyone is to help me out in this difficult time has been amazing and eye-opening.
    I hope to continue on our journey to simplifying our lives, and appreciating what we have, instead of chasing what we don’t.
    I am happy to have found your blog. It will be very helpful in my journey. Thank you.

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    • Wow. That’s a tough run, Heather. Thank you for sharing that story with the blog. Glad to have you here. πŸ™‚

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  12. Joined AA almost 24 years ago this November and one thought that we are reminded about is Gratitude. Your Attitude should be Gratitude, and if it is life is worth living. Like what you have to say, makes a lot of sense, the common kind.

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    • That is awesome, Michael. Thank you for sharing this.

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  13. I feel that I have been a very lucky and blessed person through out my life. There are some people that think they know me and feel sorry for me. They focus on the negative things in my life. I lost my parents, two husbands and six children. I am currently battling Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I choose to look at the bright side of things. I was lucky to have two wonderful parents that loved me very much. Before either of my husbands passed away we had very happy lives together. I had the opportunity to adopt 7 children that got the chance to live happy lives before 6 of them died. I am not only battling cancer but I will beat cancer just like I did 37 years ago. I have a wonderful support group that is helping me get through my treatments. I can call hundreds of people any time I need anything, day or night. My house is almost paid for. I have a cat that showers me with love. I work for a company that even though I have not been at work since last April is still holding my job for me. They also are still giving me all my benefits including health insurance. How could I possibly want to chase comets when I have such a great life? Life is what you make of it. Enjoy the experience while you’re still alive!

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  14. Ernie Thank-you for reminding me really of something I already knew – but so easily lost track of. My husband lost his job 5 months ago. It’s been hard… really grueling hard at times. But somehow we have had all we need each & every time. ( I know what that ” somehow” is:). ). To simplify has never been something I was good at. Always wanting more…the next best thing . Somehow that has become part of the ” American way”. But I am learning, I hope one day I’ll be thankful for this growing period – this ” lesson time”. I hope to learn to chase a different kind of comet. Not the what can I have to make me look better – feel better about me kind as you’ve spoke about here. But maybe the kind that helps you grow as a person. The truly beautiful eternal ones:)… Thank u again:)

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  15. First-time reader, and I truly appreciate your candor. This post really struck a chord with me. After ending an unhappy 10-year relationship, and feeling like I “wasted” a lot of my youth on this person, I have been single for 3 years now. I find myself longing to find “the one,” while those I know that are in committed relationships tell me they miss the freedom of living the single life. I continuously have to remind myself to be grateful for that freedom, for not having to compromise, sacrifice, and potentially lose myself in another person. One day I will find that person and wish I had savored this period in my life! My goal. πŸ™‚

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    • Wow. Ten years sure is a long time. I’m glad you seem to be coming along with it, though. And it’s so funny what you said about people not in relationships wishing they were and those who are wish they weren’t. I guess it’s a case of the grass always being greener. πŸ™‚
      Just keep loving each moment as much as possible. Savor the little things in your life and pretty soon, even better ones will come along. I’m living proof of that.
      Thanks for your comment. Welcome to the community. πŸ™‚

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  16. I woke up, I had a cup of coffee, the sun is shining and life is good. I have a good life. Is it perfect? No but not too bad. I have my health, I have my best friend (husband of 23 years) and a great son. We have a roof over our heads. I have a job. I have food in my fridge and a pair of sneakers so I can go out for a run with my dog today. Life is good

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  17. Great article, but please note that comets are not the same thing as shooting stars. Comets are somewhat rare and travel through space. “Shooting stars” are meteors, often occuring in “meteor showers”, and are dust and rocks and whatnot that burn up upon entering earth’s atmosphere.

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    • Thanks, Dan!
      Ha! Yeah, I should have mentioned the difference between comets and shooting stars. Comets also are on a regular cycle or exosolar orbit, leaving the solar system and coming back in (I wonder if that is another blog post, like a sequel). Thanks for the reminder. I love astronomy! πŸ™‚

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  18. Yes thats true..we have to be greatful whatever we have. i love to read,great article!

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