Oh “SMASH.” Why?
I loved Kyle. And when, sitting at the piano with Tom he said; “And sometimes the truth is too hard; sometimes you want to remember things better than they actually were….” It gave me pause.
I think, in truth, we all spend too much time dwelling instead on what is dark, what is hard, what is unfathomable to us, and blaming ourselves for the sadness. Wouldn’t it be better if we all…… diverted the energy we waste attacking & judging those things & people (including ourselves) we disapprove of into CELEBRATING and EMBRACING those people and things that bring us joy? We’d be a lot happier. And nicer.
Here’s what I know: sometimes things don’t work out in the way we had hoped. We don’t get the job (literary agent, book contract, class grade, theater role) on which we’d been counting to affirm us; a relationship doesn’t follow the story arc we’d been telling ourselves; we are not, somehow, affirmed, approved, or loved in the way we’d hoped, been counting on, been story-boarding in our head and heart.
But, here’s the thing: whatever happened, it’s happened. We can examine it and second-guess it and mourn it and weep and wail and want another ending (beginning, middle) but in doing so, we guarantee that we will stay stuck in what we perceive as the absence of happy ending.
Here’s another thing; that’s okay. Life is sometimes really difficult. Love sometimes can be painful. And though I am not a religious person, I do have faith: faith that what feels like an absence of order and reason, is, itself, an order and reason. Peace doesn’t require that we understand all that goes on – we never will – but, instead, that we accept that it is what it is. Pema Chodron (as usual) says it much better than I ever could:
“As human beings not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. To the degree that we’ve been avoiding uncertainty, we’re naturally going to have withdrawal symptoms–withdrawal from always thinking that there’s a problem and that someone, somewhere, needs to fix it.
This middle way is wide open, but it’s tough going, because it goes against the grain of an ancient neurotic pattern that we all share. When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is move to the right or the left. We don’t want to go through the detox. Yet the middle way encourages us to do just that. It encourages us to awaken the bravery that exists in everyone without exception, including you and me.”
Of late, I have had many motivations to contemplate this very thing. I have had to summon that bravery of the middle way, to face the ambiguities and paradoxes and seeming inequities and mysterious, apparently meaningless tragedies, abandonments, deaths, sorrows, slings and arrows of being alive.
What I’ve learned:
STEP ONE: Whatever has happened (not getting the job/etc, love gone wrong, death, my favorite character being killed off on “SMASH”), however things went “wrong” – the first step to detoxing is to accept my part in it. Nothing ever happens TO us; things happen WITH us.
STEP TWO: Accept that whatever I did or didn’t do, I did or didn’t do from a place of Love and Light. I am not saying that I am without error nor that I have not exercised flawed judgment, but I can honestly say that I have never acted from maliciousness or a desire to harm or cause pain to another person. And, even on those occasions where I understood that what I did (or didn’t) do would cause or had caused pain to another, that was never a purposeful thing; it was a matter of self-preservation, a situation where NOT to act would have amounted to NOT loving myself, denying myself. I had to understand and process that truth in order to – not just forgive myself – but to understand that I had done the best I could at the time, and having done the best I could from the Love and Light I had in that moment, there is nothing to forgive.
STEP THREE: Accept that what was true of and for me in STEP TWO, is also the case for everyone else. Blaming, accusing, begrudging, hating, making others responsible for my sorrow is a judgment; and as long as I am involved in blaming and judging others, the only one really suffering, is me.
I have felt so much liberation and relief (and release of the past) from living this path; and it is a path accomplished by – as Pema advises – accepting the “uncertainty.” It is quite possible that I will never understand why some people did some of the things they did, but that is my story, not theirs. And having understood my responsibility for the story my life is telling; having come to the middle place where I am no longer blaming or accusing others; freed me of worrying about the stories they were telling about me.
We all write our own stories. “SMASH” might kill off Kyle – and you might walk out of my life and tell yourself and the world I am a villain – but, you see, those are someone else’s stories. I can’t tell them for “SMASH” or for you – and the “ME” who appears as a villain in your story, is no more real than the “Kyle” character on “SMASH” – and I can cry when the story is told, but here’s where freedom happens –
I understand that it is only ever “a story.” And we all have them. And that’s okay. It’s okay especially because I get it – Love (and Light) do the best they can with what they have at the time. Get that, and the rest fades into story details, sentences that can be read again later and understood in an entirely new way.
Happy Sunday. Be where you are and know, wherever that is, it’s okay.