Recently, for the first time since I started blogging (December of last year), I actually got 40 views in a day, which to veteran bloggers is probably pathetic, but to me, it’s like hitting the big time. It looks like my first post about Martin Dockery (have I not mentioned his name in my last several posts?) generated a fair amount of interest. I think that’s a good thing for him and for me. Not to suggest that he needs publicity from an anonymous blogger, but maybe a handful of people who never heard of him before were intrigued enough to check out his web site. As for me, if I managed to connect in any even remotely meaningful way with a few more people in the nebulous universe we call the internet, then I’d be a teensy bit jazzed by that.
So. This post is not supposed to be about M_ D_. For one thing, I’m tired of typing his name. For another, there are other things going on in my vicinity of the planet that might also warrant attention.
Such as: I just started taking an online eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction class yesterday, and it looks like it’ll be pretty cool. As an accolyte in the world of mindfulness and Buddhist teachings, many of the initial comments by our instructor that would be no-brainers for the more experienced practitioners resonated powerfully for me.
You are the author of all your suffering.
That’s not any easy one to get your head around. In discussing this concept with some of my clients, a common reaction might be, “Well what about how my parents beat me up at least every week until I was a teenager? I didn’t cause that to happen.” And of course, that’s true. But it’s not about what someone else has done to or failed to do for you. It’s about how you interpret those events, the story you tell yourself–and maybe others–about them, that leads to suffering.
I think I mentioned this many posts ago when I spoke about my discovery that I’ve been a highly anxious person for much of my life. The anxiety comes from an annoyingly deep-seated fear that I will somehow never be wise enough or talented enough or attractive enough or successful enough to merit the little space I take up on this earth. And that fear is something I latched onto when I was a teenager, at the time my dad left my mom for someone else. It felt like he left all of us, really, to start a fresh new and improved life, while he watched us shrink into the past through his rear-view mirror.
So there’s my suffering. It’s true that my dad left the family when I was 14 years old. It’s equally true that it hurt like hell for a long time. Decades later I’m able to see that I held onto that suffering as if it were a penance, the price–I must have believed–of not being a good enough daughter. Which, of course, was not true. But I clung to that belief as an explanation for the choice my dad made.
So if I let go of all that narrative I built up over the years, the ways I decided to define myself, what’s left?
Nothing and everything, I think. Letting life roll along in the way that it does, with an open heart, a willingness to accept that we’re all just renting space on this planet, and in our tiny lifetimes, we are all–with whatever limitations we may possess–doing the best we possibly can at any given time.
It’s not like this hasn’t been thought or spoken millions of times before by those far more eloquent than I. It’s just something I need to be reminded of every day for the rest of my life.
Cheers, namaste, g’night.