These past couple of weeks have been frustrating. For some reason I found myself sick of everything. Yeah, everything just made me sick. I was tired of all of it: the people, my town, my generation, current events, relationships–just everything, everything was getting on my nerves. I felt that there was nothing else I could possibly do to make things better in my life. I felt like I had tried everything in the book. The journaling, the meditating, the writing, the blogging, the talking with friends, family and therapists, the exercise, the eating right, the praying, the relaxing, the reading… What kept me going was simply my will to keep going.
I haven’t been writing the novel. Why? Because I’m still recovering from an eye infection that lasted three weeks, has made it hard for me to sleep, and has blurred my vision and strained my eyes so that even writing makes me sick. Frustrating. Grrr.
But today I am recovering, things are looking up, I am more optimistic, less sick of the people around me, and more on the up and up in general. Why? Because I realized something.
I remember complaining to someone that I felt like I had tried everything to make my life “work” and nothing had done the trick. Yes for a couple of months meditation worked, but then something new came in and crapped on me. So I tried something else, exercise for instance. And that worked for a while, and then life came to crap on me again… This cycle went on and on. I acquired a new tool to help me get through the challenges of life, it would work for a while, and then something more challenging fell on my lap, and I had to try something new.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that life was not going to give in. Life was going to keep coming at me. As it keeps coming after all of us. I was looking at things the wrong way. I thought that if I did “A” and “B,” “X” would go away. When “X” was gone, and “Y” showed up, then I would let go of “A” and “B,” and then I would try “C.” Now that “Y” was gone, and now that “Z” showed up, I would change strategy and try “D.” Sooner or later, as you can see, you’re going to run out of letters in the alphabet. You will reach a limit on what you as a person can do to face the challenges of life.
Life is persistent. And I was going along with notion that crap happens and you just accept it. If crap happens I had to do the Buddhist “surrender” thing, or the Christian “bow down to His will” thing. To be honest with you, neither of those things ever sat well with me. I do believe in accepting what is happening and facing reality, but I don’t think you necessarily have to surrender to it. I’m a man of action. A man of doing. I needed a way of looking at life that fit my personality.
I was jogging at the park the other day (it was an “A” thing I picked up, to deal with an “X” thing that showed up), and I was thinking about what I had said to that person earlier. I had insisted that I had done “everything” to deal with my problems. But that was not true. I had not done EVERYTHING. I had tried one thing, then let it go, then tried another, then let it go… In the end, yes I may have tried everything–separately, AT DIFFERENT TIMES, but I never tried EVERYTHING AT ONCE.
If life throws 100 craps at you, then why not build 100 toilets to flush down the crap? (Pardon the grotesque analogy.) Instead of leaving that crap around until it stinks so bad you become sick of EVERYTHING, why not throw, literally, EVERYTHING you got at it?
If life throws you everything it’s got, then why can’t you throw everything you got, back at it?
So that’s what I am starting to do. I am doing EVERYTHING: exercise, eat right, pray, meditate, talk, write, read, create, relax, love… (and now blog.)
And what do you know? It’s starting to work. My eyes are clearing up, and suddenly things are starting to not drive me so crazy anymore.
“So… What’s the moral of the story, teacher?”
Well, I learned that persistence is not just having the will to keep living, but the will to keep living at your highest potential, at all times, in all circumstances.
Done right, and done consistently, I would imagine this approach could result in a very fulfilling life.
Wish me luck.
Happy Father’s Day!
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