When Being Tough Is Not Enough
We all have a breaking point. There have been a few times in my life where I reached a breaking point. And not surprisingly, I broke. With the help of others, family and friends especially, I rebuilt my life and carried on. Some might call it a miracle. Some might call it inspiring. I call it yesterday, and though it is fun to think about sometimes, it means little to me.
When I think of everything that has come around, I am awe struck at what life has offered me. Without sharing the details of what could be a very long story, I will say this. There was a time in my life when I gave up. Not on living, but on trying so hard. I gave up on trying so hard because I did not really know how to try. For a time, a cigarette on occasion, a cup of coffee to start the day, and a Tom Petty or Bob Dylan CD in the player were all I needed. Those needs continue to be met, and there are so many more good things now.
One Mother’s Day in the early nineties, on a visit to my parents house, my mother asked me if I could have anything in the world, what would it be. Exhausted, I said, “a nap”. And I meant it. She offered her bed and an extra pillow and I slept for hours, as if I were making up for years of missed sleep. When I woke up, I realized that everything I thought I should be, everything others thought I should be, and even what I thought God might think I should be, did not matter at all.
I have never been tough. My inclination is not to fight too hard with life. What I prefer is to let it unfold and enjoy what small part I can, where and when I am able. My goal is not to change the world in a way that asks it to conform to what I think is right. My goal is not to define the Divine and ask others to agree with my definition. I like to encourage others to change the world and think about what they think is right… it usually works out that there are more “right”s than we think. I would rather show others the Divine than define the Divine, they tend to remember what it is on their own.
Here is the funniest part of life. I am not tough at all. I hope I am pliable, but sometimes I am not flexible at all. I have a desire to help others that is bigger than my ability, or maybe willingness, to help others. If you are reading this blog, most likely, it is because you received an email, along with seventeen other people. Maybe you saw it on Facebook. In that case you are one of 366 people that might have seen it in their feed (assuming there are no shares). I am developing a website that might potentially help thousands, but right now, it does nothing. It is not that I am giving up on living, but I have given up on trying so hard. What I do is done for one, not many, though the one may change from time to time.
In some ways everything I do, matters, and in some ways nothing I do matters. I enjoy when there is some comment from some person, either on the blog or on a Facebook post, that states how they “needed to hear that today”. Is that vain? I do not think so. In some ways, it is just how they say thank you. And that is enough to keep me waking up at 4 am, throwing a little love into the world before I start work. Honestly, though, anything I say in a blog could be summed up by Tom Petty telling you, “you don’t know how it feels”, or singing about “saving grace”.
I am not an expert. Most of the ideals I admire, I struggle with. I am not that kind. I am not that generous. I am not that compassionate. I do, however, believe kindness, generosity, and compassion are worth the pursuit. Lately, I have been trying to perform tasks with these ideals in mind and keep them secret. Only speaking to God, if at all, about their happening. I have found I have more peace, and really, more opportunity to do good deeds for people.
If you are facing trouble. If life is too much. Remember who you are. Who you were as a child. My recommendation is not to get tough. Maybe you just need a good nap. The harder you are trying the harder life will become. Do not try, do. And if doing is not working, do something else. That is, unless the trying is the doing of a thing. Then keep doing with kindness, generosity, and compassion. You are whole, right now. You are worth the continued effort of the Creator, right now. You and the Divine are helping to create your life and the life of the world. In a real way, you are shaping what will become, the very will of God.
Being tough will not work because it assumes we are reacting to tough things. Being perfect is not an option because we are not able to define a perfect life. Be you, yes. But be the you, you are, not the you, you or others think you should be. Breathe. Love. Enjoy. Repeat. “Get” to do things and let go of the notion that you “have” to do things. Practice choosing and choose goodness. This is the advice I give myself each day. Maybe you needed to hear that today, as well. Peace to you. Peace to the chaos that we both create and notice in the world.