Sometimes, I feel like the Universe is trying to teach me one lesson over and over and over again: You can’t control anything. You can only adapt and let go.
I’m great at adapting. Surrendering and letting go? Not so much. And the adapting part? Too often, it feels like reacting more than evolving.
I’m still learning about Buddhism, but one of the things that I connect with is the idea that we cause so much of our own suffering by not having compassion for ourselves–or others–by holding on to things that really need to pass us by.
I always have felt like letting go was giving up. But it’s not. Letting go is just, really, honoring what is. The things that need to happen still happen whether we hold on or not. The things that go, they’re just not meant for us. It’s easy to understand that, intellectually, but harder in practice.
I was taught to hold on and fight for the things I loved. For what I wanted. I’m good at it. But often, that instinct is what makes things disappear. And holy crap does it cause a lot of suffering.
I’m really tired of suffering.
The latest bout of this lesson has come through my favorite feline friend. Fogg has been in this two week cycle of eating great one day only to spend a few days not eating much or at all. We are currently in a not at all cycle. She had a few bites of dry food a few minutes ago, but considering today is the second anniversary of Cleo’s taking a turn for the worst–and refusing all food–my mind is racing and jumpy. I’m in fix-it mode. Buying things. Making vet appointments. I’m preparing for the doomsday worst case scenario–all because that other cat never got better–and this feels the same way.
It’s different. And intellectually, I know–God, I KNOW–it’s not remotely the same. Fogg is alert. She is still doing ok–though the lack of food is a problem–but it’s not at that dire place. But my brain is processing it as if it is–which causes me to suffer and overreact. And try to control the Universe.
When she was sick before–direly sick and likely going to die without a big intervention–there was a moment when I just accepted it. When I was okay with the life I gave her–where I was at peace with my decisions, and I was just going to trust that whatever needed to happen would. And, shockingly, she came back to me–strong and good–for a while. I was warned then that this would be an issue again–that we would face it again–that this was our life now.
Today, I remembered that, and I tried very hard to just accept it–realizing that accepting it didn’t mean giving up and doing nothing. It meant giving myself space to breathe and allowing myself compassion–the ability to not have to be the one saving her, again and again.
We have an appointment Friday. For now, I’m going to keep on keeping on. And try not to lose my mind. Easier said than done.
I’m going to just love her as much as I can, while I can, ask for support, and hope it’s enough. And if it isn’t, be okay with the things I’ve done.
I don’t feel like myself lately. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Whatever it is, I feel like I’ve been grappling to find stability lately. I know why I’m doing this. It’s my way of controlling the uncontrollable. I don’t know how to feel like myself again or to accept whatever this new version of me is, right now, so I try to make it okay. The result has been much suffering and confusion.
As an introvert, and an only child, and an orphan, I am well-accustomed to being alone. It’s my life. In some ways, it’s my comfort zone. I’m sometimes intimidated by the dance we do to connect to other people. Sometimes, I feel paralyzed by it. But, in the end, it’s all I really want. I don’t need to connect to many people. Hell, one would be enough. And so, lately, despite how stupidly tired I am and how busy I am–I’ve been in hot pursuit of those connections. Almost unconsciously–which has made me go about it in ways that aren’t normal for me. Which probably has made me feel not myself and maybe has gotten in the way of true connections. The connections I’ve found have been interesting and surprising–but not things I’m altogether comfortable with. I feel like I’m in a state of constant negotiation with myself and others. And I don’t like that state of being. At all.
I realize that this state of wanting to connect to others is motivated by bouts of loneliness–exacerbated by the things happening in my life. I’ve never felt fully supported by people. Ever. So, getting even a small taste of that through work has made me hungry for it. I’m just kind of tired of being the strong, brave one. I want to collapse into someone and not feel so damn alone.
Today, though, I realized that this desire is a desire to numb that emotion–that black hole of loneliness. It’s that same thing that I did as a kid. Only I convince myself it’s vulnerability. It’s not. It’s just another way to hide.
I think, when I’m feeling this urge to connect with people–it can be dangerous because it makes me impulsive and that’s no good for anyone–especially me. And this drive has led me to some pretty painful relationships that I knew were bad for me. But I’d decided to not be alone–and it was there. And I really convinced myself it was based in something it wasn’t. But really, it was just me hiding in plain sight. There’s no way to overcome that.
When I feel like this–maybe the thing I need to do is the exact opposite of what I always do. Instead of seeking out things, maybe I need to embrace that loneliness and feel it as deeply as I can. Maybe I need to get really well-acquainted with that part of me that is continually breaking and so afraid she isn’t enough. Maybe, if I gave her the attention and love she needed, she wouldn’t keep running away from herself.
So much work to do. Still.
It never ends.