Apologies re: Language
I’m remembering a conversation I had about a hundred years ago with my dear friend, Audrey. I have zippo memory of the specific circumstances, but clearly, I was having a most human experience and possibly had entered The Land of the Whine.
I will never forget her kind and wise words:
Aruni, not every day is a Ten.
You guys, I thought the point of living mindfully—or whatever the heck it is that we are doing—was to land a Perfect Ten, on a Damn Daily Basis!
Some days suck.
Some days, our partners insist on being the true assholes that they are.
Some days, the bus is late, the car doesn’t start.
Some days, our kids get sick, the job vanishes.
Some days, our hearts are broken, illness whacks us upside the head.
In the words of the ancient sages, shit happens.
Big shit happens.
Trauma happens; events unfolds, after which everything is different. These events squeeze out our breath, disrupt our balance, shift our perspective. Everything changes.
It seems, this Big Stuff is inevitable. I don’t think we get out of this life without the human cellular upheaval that is trauma.
And then, the small stuff; some days suck incrementally, with tiny little pinpricks of messiness filling up the hours.
I’ve had a superficially sucky day, an odd conglomeration of uncomfortable events morphed into one twelve-hour timeframe.
It simply rattled me. And hurt me. And frightened me.
That’s the deal. Sometimes being alive equals being rattled and hurt and frightened. Sometimes being alive means discomfort.
Ah, ha! That’s it. I don’t want to be uncomfortable.
That’s not a big surprise, knowing myself as I do, nevertheless I still find the realization shocking.
I really don’t want to be uncomfortable.
Living mindfully doesn’t enroll us into creating all Fantastically Perfect Days; rather it’s cultivating the capacity to be present with whatever is happening.
Not every day is a ten—what the heck?
I have worked so hard, trying to create those tens.
I accidentally found one of those sneaky little lines in the Big Book of AA, one six-word sentence I had never noticed before, until the moment I was ready, decades into my recovery, a tiny sentence obviously not visible to me until then. Wildly calling for my attention from the page, this tiny sentence read:
You will not always be inspired.
Dumbfounded, I read it again.
I truly thought the plan was to Always Be Inspired.
Doesn’t living spiritually mean I must always be inspired, connected, one with All, that cosmic force that rotates the planets, that spins the stars, that carries babies down the birth canal?
I think not.
Staying present with what I’m given, with the big and small heart-rockers, allowing myself as best as I can to touch into the feelings, knowing that by simply acknowledging them, I will outlive them, that’s the journey. Yet, how can we support ourselves in living into this formula?
I’m offering us these three simple reminders to put in our pockets, to help us walk through those shitty days, both big and little:
Breathe, and then breathe again, exaggerating the exhale. Most importantly, the breath is the best impactful intervention, shifting us out of the sympathetic nervous system, the fight/flight/freeze, into the parasympathetic, the rest/digest. The breath will take us there, through the vagal nervous system. Breathe. When the shit hits the fan, breathe.
Relaxing into the feelings rather than fighting them—this will always and forever work. We will instantly forget to do this. I’m reminding us now.
It will change. It always changes. You will outlive the feeling. They will shift and release, morph, come back again, shape-change itself.
They will always change.
In the afternoon of my superficially shitty yet painful-as-heck day, I took a walk with Zac Joseph the Dog of my Life. It had been a full day of massive rain, torrential downpours. The snow melt was remarkable, all that ice and freezing snow from our subzero days just pouring into the current, the fluidity of water, returning to itself. (see picture above)
THERE IT WAS!
The reminder I needed—it changes.
It always changes.
The snow becomes water.
The ice melts.
The day becomes night.
And day, again.
The moon ripens and grows.
And releases herself down, back into emptiness.
It all shifts and changes.
And we do, too.
All we need to do is
It is all okay, as it is.
Dear Readers, greetings from this melting night. How are you? What are you noticing? What triggers your shitty days, big and little? How do you practice outliving the feelings?
As always, send on your responses. I am blessed and honored to hear your words. Thanks for hearing mine. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.