If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.
I’ve never gotten along with the Law. Not from any internal prejudice, trouble just finds me. And then the cops get involved. I’ve called the cops myself too. Many, many times. Looking for justice has alluded me. It’s not the police’s fault, I have had terrible luck in courtrooms. Government agencies in general are suckish for me.
One of my favorite laments as a kid, as my parents love to remind me, is that nothing was fair.
Now, to BE fair, I wasn’t wrong.
But I guess I thought everything was unfair, all the time. This give me a weird visual. Me in my parents’ house, feeling mopey about something not being fair and opening a can of dog food.
(Why in God’s name did my parents use wet food? Was canned foot just everywhere in the 70s and 80s?)
And I’m opening the dog food with this weird built-in can opener in our pantry. It was attached to the back of one of the doors but it was kind of at nose level so as you’re opening that can of dog food and the smell is just wafting into your nose. THAT’S not fair! No wonder that memory is locked in.
What I remember was thinking of the unfairness of unfairness. I could feel that somehow the fact that everything was unfair…what this really meant was there was no justice.
Nothing in life is really static enough for justice to survive. People move. They change. Memories fade. Wisdom grows. Important papers get lost. Evidence gets stolen. Fires. Floods.
Today’s justice is already the future’s embarrassment. So how can you stop in time and say, “Now, wait just a minute!” You can’t. Life just made you roadkill. You’re dead. And so are your issues.
This issue is everywhere in our culture. There’s that great meme of a man hanging on to a hot air balloon that instructs: Let Go or Be Dragged. Many years ago a hairdresser/life coach put this mantra in my head “Let It Go. Be the Flow. Enjoy the Show.” And then there’s that song by Elsa.
Letting shit go. Giving zero fucks. These are life goals. We aspire to this.
It’s intriguing how attached we meat suits are to constancy, predictability, routine. Also there’s a lot of ego in there: wanting to be right, wanting to be powerful and important, wanting to be seen. Change flies in the face of those things because again the message is and we hate this:
it doesn’t matter.
Which feels to me like I don’t matter. And that flies in the face of alot of what makes mortals tick. Ah, to be just a human dust mote in history’s god ray.
It should be a relief. We don’t need you says Mother Earth and Father Time. Take a vaca! But,but,but,but…says Most Important Human. You’re off the hook, they chide, so what are you so upset about?
I don’t know. Cause feelings hurt. Literally physically hurt. Grief is overwhelming. Isolation is toxic. Words full of meaning are gilded onto stain glass windows behind my eyes. The light shines through but it only serves to illustrate the words: Betrayal. Self-Doubt. Rage. Despair. Self-Righteousness. Failure. Hopelessness. Loneliness. Abandonment. Forever. Always.
I just explained that those last two couldn’t possibly be true because nothing lasts but there the words are. Forever. Always. To ensure my story lives forever.
I have recently had a terrible falling out with a large group of women. I’m very close to these ladies and have to see nearly every day. This is my worst nightmare. I’m a people pleaser by trade and have always carried my pack of abandonment and attachment issues like a faithful sherpa.
I’m pretty sure I picked it up pre-birth. My birth mom was a fairly indecisive mother and I believe I attached to that early on. Evidently I was in and out of foster care for the first four months of my life and like a startled baby grasping in the air, I yearned to connect.
Luckily I was placed with my true parents, although the memories are strangely tinged by the smell of Alpo.
Still the need to have a forever love, connection, oneness has always been my number one desire. Two divorces later…seriously?
Again, as luck would have it I have spent the last seven years with a man happy to have me as his barnacle. He actually likes it. And our dog gets dry food.
Dealing with these friends cum enemies has been stomach churning, depressing, making me bed-ridden some mornings. This just isn’t my game. Some people love this drama…nom nom nom…not me. Not at all. And I overthink all of it, increasing its power over me tenfold.
Random fun fact: I’ve been trying for years to get into a fitness routine. Life has been a bit busy so…
Let me recap, I have been killing it single mom-style (not as in the verb some ladies use when their hubs are working but the kind of single mom who has experienced the tragedy of divorce. And while we are on the topic and just to illustrate how wrong this well-meaning appropriation of “single-momming it” is, you would never say “I’m military-wifing it this weekend” or “I’m getting widowed this week. Tom’s in New York!” Divorce is a tragedy. You have not gotten divorced. Your partner has left you home alone with your own children for a while. If you are experiencing the challenge of raising a child outside of marriage, you are a single mom. If your spouse is simply out of town, you are not a single mom. Thank you.) So I’m driving the life train as single mom at a pretty good clip, I have a landscaping business that I love but that is in a bit of slump. Giving it hard CPR, made these pretty cards and mailed them to 400 peeps: past and present clients and a slew of contractors and designers and architects. Aren’t they nice?
So trying to get that on track, maybe open a non-profit around it, write a book, and fill my cup by providing bras to the homeless women of Los Angeles. Also on the plate, two years ago my fiancee and I got a house together with my two kids and his daughter. That’s kept us on our toes. To say the least, and here we are circling back…
With all this busi-ness, how I ate and how I exercised fell by the wayside. There’s been a little weight gain. And you know the incredible power of atrophy on a middle age bod. But I just could not fit exercise into my life.
I used to be a yoga instructor for Christ sakes! I LOVE moving my body. But that’s how priorities are. They shift. Finally this January I committed to eating better and lightening struck. Year and years of the same promises to myself and it took. It set in and I committed myself and somehow the willpower was there. I’ve had no sugar, flour, dairy, or processed food since January 2nd. And cut way back on alcohol. I felt fantastic. Tiger blood! (Whole 30 is my sugar-free jam.)
But still I could not fit in the exercise. I know that the diet is more important when push comes to shove so I continued supporting myself in that arena, but month after month went by and I couldn’t even get one workout in. My friend Kellee invited me to work out with her at 5am at a local boot camp and I bought GroupOn and was so stoked to go work out with her, but although I’m an early riser, I couldn’t get my ass out of bed at 4:30am. So I tried other times of day. Wrote it in my calendar. Put it in different colors. Wrote “YOU ARE GOING!” and STILL I DIDN’T.
I’m a yogi by nature. I love teaching yoga, I love doing yoga. It’s my favorite. But I felt so fat and out of shape and honestly just stupid and worthless. I didn’t feel worthy of a yoga class. I knew yoga was probably the best place for me to start but I had attached baggage to it like no one’s business. I have noticed sometimes in life I won’t let myself see or do my most favorite things. Like they are too much. Too perfect. Too good for me. The old me. I don’t know. But I was at my wit’s end. I needed this fitness piece if not specifically this yoga piece. I knew that. But how?
So I’m experiencing this huge fallout among my friends and it is so sad and maddening and completely out of my control. All I can do is shoulder it but I’m immensely confused at how we can put egos, opinions, perceived slights, cliques, anything really, before seeing people as humans. We are all members of the same community. Why would we rip each other down? For what? Why can’t we be friends first and foremost? So this situation is coming to a head and I will be sitting down with all of them and as the day approaches I am experiencing a calmness around it.Which is surprising.
So far, I had been dealing with this more like Anne Sexton than Pema Chodron, so what gives? But here is this ease. I’m nervous but not freaked. I’m resolved to whatever the outcome is. I feel balanced. Even though I have dreaded that day’s meeting like a root canal, the morning of I glide right into a yoga class.
A yoga class.
Just like that.
With a swish of my dusty old mat, I was in a yoga class the morning before this super stressful showdown. Just like I should be. Just like I needed. Just like an adult would act who takes awesome care of herself and is a huge success! It was a miracle.
It was my friend MJ’s class (my friends have the cutest names apparently) and she had been inviting me for awhile but here it was. The perfect day. The perfect time. And she read the quote at the beginning of this blog at the beginning of the class.
It hit me that even relationships don’t last. And that’s the law. That’s not a failure. That’s not my fault. That’s not rejection. This is the way of the world. These are the tectonic plates of our lives. And they make earthquakes in our lives. Tsunamis wipe us right off our foundations. But it’s still the law. And to suffer is to resist.
Resisting can be placing blame. Or taking it personally. Or reacting in one way or another.
That yoga class and that quote gave me the final push to ok-dom for what I had to face that afternoon. And don’t you know, the meeting went really well and I was so relieved and grateful for that class and for my willingness to be where I needed to be when I needed to be there.
My life was a tire fire again not 12 hours later but the lesson is still the lesson and it proves the point.
Nothing gold can stay.
Love you Ponyboy.