I am sick. I slept maybe one hour last night. My son was up all night vomiting with a high fever that I couldn’t lower because he couldn’t keep down any advil. The image of Mr. Brass blowing his brains out kept playing over and over in my head. I feel blackened by all this. And it’s not quite over. There is a tarp hanging in Mr. Brass’ window to cover up the spot where he shot himself and the window he blew out. It’s falling down. I’m the only one on the block that has his spare key and a haz mat crew is due to come over today to clean up the mess. I’m supposed to let them in. Hello! I can’t remove a dead mouse from my house let alone witness the scene of a crime.
So, this is all quite difficult for me to manage and keep in perspective. And yet, my Buddhist training teaches me to accept it all. DOn’t deny it. Let it in. Feel it. It’s the process of living in the moment. It’s an ugly, dark, hopeless feeling, but it’s mine and I need to own it. What calms me slightly is knowing that it will pass, as all things do. It’s only a matter of time.
I wanted to put this out there for anyone else feeling hopeless, sad, dark, depressed. No matter what your circumstances, know that these are the feelings and traumas that make you human. We are fools to believe that there is such a thing as constant happiness, constant success. As if our lives were as simple as walking up a ladder to achieve some lofty goal at the top. We have been lied to by therapists and doctors and Hollywood and the media and made to believe that there is a place free of pain and suffering if we only have the right combination of thoughts or have chosen the right road.
Embracing the idea that suffering is inevitable and a part of this life allows us to forgive ourselves for not being able to achieve happiness. It accepts the notion that suffering is intrinsic to life and no one is spared. It’s not a question of personal failure. It’s merely a fact of nature. And this acceptance keeps us from feeling as though we have been singled out, or hand picked by the gods to suffer unduly.
Today I am being called to carry the weight of my suffering, my children’s suffering, my financial issues, the ugly concept of suicide, my neighbors’ pain, uncertainty and doubt. I cannot carry this alone. The weight is crushing me. Nothing will make me feel better. So, the only defense mechanism that is kicking in at the moment is rocking back and forth like a crazy person and eating bad food. So be it. This too shall pass. It’s just a matter of time.
Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl