Sometimes life is funny, sometimes it is painful and difficult, and I have to write it the way I feel it each day.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
Let’s face it, life is messy. Sometimes things can become terribly complicated, frighteningly difficult, and unbearably painful. Our natural instinct is to fight it with all our might. It is a part of life, and it happens to all of us. We are not unique in our suffering. The harder we try to control a situation, the more we lose control. The harder we fight in the quicksand, the faster we sink. Human will can be an incredibly dangerous thing.
I have spent most of my life with an undeniably strong will, and an endless need to control situations. Growing up feeling abandoned by my Father (who is also an alcoholic, now 14 years sober) and an alcoholic Mother (who never got sober, and died 10 years ago at the age of 56 of leukemia), I felt small and insignificant. My thoughts and opinions never mattered. I have fought and defended and white-knuckled my way through life with no faith whatsoever. My only faith was willpower. My deformed sense of pride and ego and the need to be heard, and to be right has time and time again delivered an undesirable outcome and a healthy dose of suffering.
For 28 years I have quelled that disappointment, pain and suffering with drugs, alcohol, or both. Now at the age of 41 I am just beginning to realize that tragically, I never really learned to truly hear people. Sure, I have listened, only until I think that what I have to say is more important, and then I interrupt. I have listened only to form my response then interject with cracked jokes, unsolicited advice or self-righteous solutions. Learning to simply sit, quiet my own mind and focus 100% of my senses on what someone else is saying allows for an empathy and level of connection that has been gravely lacking from my life. Feeling the weight of the words of others has given me the beautiful gift of once again being teachable.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” There comes a time where we must decide between the easy thing to do, and the right thing to do. Determining the difference can be just as difficult and painful as actually letting go of our deceptively strong wills and allowing what will be to be. Just keep doing the next right thing. The more we try to control people places or things, the more we set ourselves up to be disappointed and hurt. The only thing we can truly control is how we choose to handle and react to situations, that’s it. Expectations are resentment just waiting to happen.
Sometimes we just have to let life unfold as it will. As insanely difficult as it may be, If we come at any situation from a place of respect, compassion and understanding we can set ourselves free from unnecessary suffering.
This is a practice, this is my struggle, and I’m finding that it takes incredible resolve, humility, and *faith in a power greater than myself.
Sometimes we have to just roll over and float.
*faith in a power greater than ourselves : a tree, the ocean, the wind…just something greater than myself.
“I had always believed in a power greater than myself. I had always pondered these things. I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much of a precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.”
Alcoholics Anonymous p.10