I often use the quote “I change and the world changes” to remind myself that I have power over my own happiness. The dark gloomy world around me seems that way because of the lenses that I use to see it through. By switching my lenses, I change my view, i.e., my world, making the dark rain clouds go poof and the sun shine through.
One of my best friends once said to me, “When I was in my twenties, I was afraid to live. Now that I’m in my thirties, I’m afraid to die.”
On Sunday, I ran my first ever marathon. How did it go? That is not an easy question to answer. There are two answers: horrible and great. How can you have two contradictory answers to the same question that are both true? Well, I think these two answers also both work for the question: How is life? Life is great and life is horrible. Isn’t it Buddha who said “life is suffering”? But it doesn’t make you not want to live life. The secret is that beyond the suffering there is joy and there is also joy in suffering.
I didn’t used to think before I lived. I just lived. I acted, reacted, followed, rebelled without really thinking about why. Sometimes this worked for me, but sometimes I didn’t like the consequences. Sometimes I looked back and felt regret, guilt, or shame. The thoughtless actions were just that – thoughtless – and often the things that I did weren’t fully done by my own free will.
I’m going through a pretty rotten drawn-out moment right now, and there have been many of these moments over the past two years. I’m not talking about a temporary case of the blues or an emotional reaction to a negative event. No, I’m talking about the well of hope drying up to the smallest little puddle so that you really have nothing to keep you going.
It is both reassuring and tragic to know that things end. Reassuring for the painful moments. Tragic for the good moments. We never know when it will happen. We will never be prepared, no matter how much we plan and dream or how hard we worry. We cannot predict how much joy or pain the end will bring. And the end is not the end, it just another beginning – it is the passing from one moment into another. It is the merging of two moments until the first disappears and the second takes over. But there is definitely a point, although barely noticed, when the suffering or joy ends.
Have you ever organized a party only to have it crashed by someone unwelcome? Did it ruin your party? How about a dream?