The last few mornings, hell, the last few weeks, have been hard for me. I've had to intentionally tell myself that it will all be worth it. I've started my mornings with meditation geared towards this mantra and intention. And each day has NOT been blissfully perfect and enlightened. Each day has had its struggles. Each day has had its flaws. Each day has had its failures. Each day has gone exactly how it was intended to be.
Today, my day intended to teach me a lesson. Multiple lessons. My ego had said that it couldn't take any more, and life intended to teach me that it could, in fact, take a whole lot more. I put my key in the ignition, turned it over, and a few lights flickered, the beast inside clicked at me a few times, and the tears welled up in my eyes.
Car "stuff" debilitates me. Lights turn on and I freak out. I get a flat tire in one state and call my dad in another. As if that can help, good grief. Things happen and I immediately turn into a stressed out dramatic mess and I have NO idea what to do. I can top off washer fluid. I can put air in my tires. I can pump gas. Anything beyond that and I either need to be medicated or institutionalized.
So I popped the trunk. I knew my battery had some corrosion around the "connectors" that I brushed off from time to time, so I did that first. And accidentally inhaled far too much of the corroded acid. My mouth and throat burned. I threw up. I cried. I tried to start it again. Same old clicking beast. So I called my dad. In another state. Because he can TOTALLY come to my rescue and fix it all remotely. His voice was the calming medication that I needed. It was a quick dose that started to work a little bit. He found a towing company while I found a repair shop and called work. Another dose of calm.
As I waited for the tow, all I could see was an imaginary checklist of everything that they found wrong with my car. All I could see was my bank account. All I could see was the number shrinking. And then I saw a recent purchase sitting on my coffee table. Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart". It was like it was a sign. I felt like things were falling apart all around me. And not just my car. There are SO many things falling right now. As if it were some instruction booklet for my car, for my job, for my relationship, I picked it up and started eagerly searching for what would put it back together again. And I found it:
In life, we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The real truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that.
Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self inflicted, when we are expecting the "ideal" to overcome the "actual," or needing things (or people or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.
Let the hard things in life break you. Let them effect you. Let them change you. Let these hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don't cop out on that. Don't run away and hide under your covers. Lean into it.
What is the lesson in this wind? What is this storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty and -- lean into it.
There's no amount of meditation or mindfulness that can alter the way your day or life are meant to play out. Believe me, I've tried. It doesn't happen. Ever. Life falls apart. And it does that regardless of how good of a person you are, how bad of a person you are, how good of a life you lead, or how bad of a life you lead. There is no protection. There is no guarantee of safety. There is no immunity from life. And if you're reading this and thinking, "Gosh, isn't she a Debbie Downer!" then you need help. All there really is in life is the opportunity to face your fears head on, with courage, to run at whatever is pursuing you (instead of away from it) with the respect to defeat it.