Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
– Pema Chodron, “Stay with Your Broken Dreams”
At this moment I seem to be in that “off-center, in-between state” that Pema mentions in this quote. It is an ideal situation with no bombs exploding in my life. I have little to complain about. Though chaos and negative energy abounds around me, I feel healthy and happy. I do what I can to stay positive in the midst of the darkness that seems to surround us all. This is a place I love to inhabit.
But I also know nothing is forever and one of these days I could easily find myself deep in suffering again, showing anger, hostility, feeling pity for myself and wailing, “It’s not fair!” I’ll be bitchy and unpleasant to be around. I believe that being in that place of deep shadows is okay. It’s when I learn things about myself and what my choices are.
Once, as I was crying my way through therapy because my life felt like it was collapsing around me, my therapist told me, “You’re doing great! When you feel this terrible, something’s gonna give.” And it did. Not right away, but down the road a bit, I realized I had choices. I could keep clinging to my fears and anxiety or I could accept my pain, begin to let it all go, and find a sunnier place to live. I understood that I am the only thing that I can change in my life.
Being in Pain, feeling glum, irate and anxious is part of the big picture and nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to all of us as we wander down our paths. One minute we’re in the sun, then clouds gather and we’re in what we think is our darkest moment. If we invite our demons in and sit with them, we’ll see that life is what it is. We can add to the misery of the world or find a way to bring peace to ourselves and all of those around us.