I don’t usually edit my writing much. I don’t erase sentences often or go back into paragraphs. Once in awhile I rearrange stuff but most often what I publish is fairly strictly stream-of-consciousness and I blame Livejournal for that. Actually, it can be traced even further back, before the phenomenon of home internet, when I still most often used a nice glidey pen and some notebook or other to spew my every thought.
There are many posts that start out in my head as one thing and then wind up being something else entirely. It’s kind of like therapy, I guess, but without the experienced guide. Actually I guess it’s probably closer to trauma-dumping, though no one is forcing you to read it. Looks like you’re just a glutton for punishment.
Anyway, I feel a ramble coming on. Just do your best. We’ll be alright.
In my last post I wrote about this sudden change of heart I’ve been experiencing after years of being stuck in a loop of active addiction. I have said that I don’t believe there was anything that I could have done differently in order to have arrived at this healing place faster, rather that the experience I lived through was exactly as it needed to be. This very statement is one based in a kind of faith that I have never known before. Some way, somehow I came to know that no matter what happens, everything is as it must be.
Somewhere near the end of my struggle I had a very profound moment with another human being and decided to further pursue a connection with them. One night, over dinner, he expressed to me this radical idea of acceptance. Now, it’s not that I don’t understand the overall concept of acceptance… I do. It’s just that, for whatever reason, I have always fought hard against unfavourable realities. My friend put a container of sour cream in front of me on the table as a prop and told me that running from or denying the way things are is as dumb as denying that the sour cream was on the table in front of me. Closing my eyes wouldn’t change the location of the container and, unless things somehow shifted (which they are known to do), the sour cream would still be there when I opened my eyes again.
I’m sure this sounds pretty elementary to any halfway normally functioning adult human but keep in mind that I was none of those things. Slowly I began to understand what my friend was getting at and as the topic changed towards more spiritual matters I think my understanding grew around those, too. In a quiet moment of reflection my friend looked at me across the table and stated, “Accepting something is not the same as agreeing with it.”
Okay, so it wasn’t an immediate epiphany or anything, kind of more like a slow burn. He would go on to explain to me that the easiest way he’s found, for himself, to accept some of the seriously unacceptable bullshit life throws his way is to consistently remind himself of this belief I mentioned before. The belief that everything is exactly as it needs to be, there is no other way it could have gone, and that the proof is as simple as that repeated fact again: You know that everything is as it should be because this is exactly what it is. Period.
And admitting that it IS doesn’t mean that it’s how I WANT it to be.
In this way, there is nothing to fight. There is no need to waste my energy. Everything is as it will be and my need for control is nothing but a self-imposed prison. It is now my job to let go, as they say. Let go and let god.
This doesn’t negate mistakes. Of course, we will make shitty choices at times that we may come to regret. What changes is the way we frame those mistakes, turning them instead into welcome lessons. These experiences go far beyond consequences that the universe has thrown at us to punish us for choosing “wrong”. These experiences can instead be framed as learning moments that will allow us to elevate to meet the next challenge.
Do you have any idea how blissful it is to be able to let go in this way? To for once feel like you are less a total failure and more a being who is on a learning journey? Do you have any idea the weight that lifted off my very tired shoulders when I discovered that I could give myself grace and understanding? At times, through this practice, I have felt like an entirely new me.
Well, to be more accurate I kind of feel like an upgraded version of the me I thought I’d lost. Lindsay 2.0?
Here’s the thing about this whole discovery: It’s not that he was telling me things I’d never been told. It’s not that these little words of wisdom are over-the-top amazing. It’s simply the timing that mattered.
I know, with all of my heart, that there was nothing I could have done to push myself into this space before I was meant to arrive here. I know it as surely as I’ve ever known anything. Falling down over and over again was terrifying. It was disheartening. It was difficult and sometimes I really had to fight to get my feet back underneath me. But it was the getting up, no matter how tough it was, that ultimately built the strength I needed to carry myself to safety. My struggles have become the foundation on which I can build my new life.
The time to hesitate is through, Lindsay.
Open your eyes.