“To rest in the center of anything means you know there’s utter chaos on either side of you.” -Melissa
I remember when my life was nothing more than utter chaos. Drama galore. Defeat, pain, poverty, anger, illness…It actually causes me anxiety to look back over my life- even a year ago. Six months ago. A month ago. Further back than a year and I feel as though I finally understand the whole out of body thing. Let me rephrase- I can see how out of my ever-loving mind I was. I can see, with compassion (finally) how much pain I was in. How long I had suffered. How much energy it took for me to blame the entire world- anyone and everything EXCEPT myself- for what was wrong in my life. It takes a long time to get to where I am. To learn that accountability is not blame. It takes a lot of work to not just find yourself always asking, in every situation,
“What is MY part in this?”
But to accept what you find. To do it with compassion, mercy and forgiveness. To brave the days of, ‘How in the hell could you be so stupid?!’ when the guilt weighs like a two ton lock and key around your heart. To feel the epitome of self loathing and hate- the gut wrenching, sinking, desperate realization of, ‘Oh my God. I wasted so much time.’
It takes even more work to get to the point when you stop saying such things because you know that there is no such thing as time wasted. Perhaps you were just stubborn? That’s ok. It’s that stubbornness that pulls you through now. It’s not easy, this journey. It’s not easy to go from living completely, consistently and habitually, “out there” to…well, to in here. Now.
One of my favorite things about Buddhism is the complete and utter acceptance of “try again”. The gratitude I learned to feel at being of half faith. The knowledge of knowing how lucky I am to even want to take this journey- what a problem to have! Loving kindness to ourselves…starting over every moment that we need to. I love the acceptance because it breathes forgiveness. It’s such a wonderful and light-hearted way to look at life and the chaos we create. It’s such a comfort to know that at any moment I can come back to center, even if my pendulum is swinging like a mad woman.
Which brings me to my theory.
Today I was thinking, again, about isolation. When you’ve spent your entire life avoiding yourself by indulging in everyone and everything else- literally living with your nose stuck exactly where it doesn’t belong, doing anything and everything to get attention, creating lack, abuse, craving drama, inciting drama, being drama, in one way or another- your pendulum is high and to the left. It makes sense then that when we’ve lived our lives that way, the same pendulum is going to swing high and to the right for a while before it rests dead center. It’s not that I’m isolating. It’s that I’m growing and changing. Maybe sometimes outgrowing.
Look, none of this is coming out right. I’m tired and it’s so hard to write when I’m trying to balance being a mom and a writer and a giant pendulum. But, I’m compelled to tell you that you aren’t isolating. Every great prophet, and I’ll bet ones we’ve never heard of, had their time alone. Jesus had forty days in the desert. Buddha sat under the tree for forty. Sometimes you have to walk away to realize what you want to walk back into. People that can’t walk away, those are the ones you should worry about. People that can’t stand to be alone, with just themselves- people just like me before I took my walk…When you realize that everything you do in life, and I mean 98% of it, is to avoid something…like how you really feel about people, food, your body, your abilities, your partner, money, Facebook, recycling, your parents, etc, you tend to pull in. You tend to become a skeptic. You start paying attention, not to why others do what they do, but why you’re attracted to them. Why you do what YOU do. You stop throwing it all out there (pendulum left) and start throwing the masses scraps while you throw it all into yourself (pendulum right).
It’s ok. Once you do it, you find out what and who really matters. You will probably start recycling- I have a pallet patio and a pallet bed. You will ditch cable, possibly red meat, all fast food, and you will realize that replacing your 1997 Honda with a BMW is not only sacrilege, but it causes you to break down in tears at the mere thought of not having that Honda anymore. You suddenly understand right and wrong as an individual decision that somehow affects the greater good. You really will do all of those crazy things books tell you to do and crazier still, it will work. People will say you’re isolating. You will lose friends. You will find friends. You will look at people who say you’re isolating -people that are distancing from you- you will see that while you’re fighting low and high tides, bleeding through a blog, possibly a bookshelf, and a pendulum, they are professing that everything just keeps getting better. While you are constantly seeing how you have changed through actual events in your life, that they are still the same. And it will drain you. It will sadden you. There’s nothing you can do about it- no fight you can have- mostly because you don’t want to fight anymore, but also because you know now that it won’t matter.
But you won’t stop. That’s how you know that this time it’s the real deal. Because this time, you may end up with a smaller friends list, a 97 Honda and a few curious neighbors, but damn it all, you will be happy. You will be centered. You will realize that now, while resting in the center of everything, the chaos on the right and left, has nothing to do with you…