Good Morning Sunshine!

Via on Jun 1, 2011

This here is my Weekly Editor’s Letter, which is included in our free Top 10 Blogs of the Week email newsletter. If you love elephant but are overwhelmed by our presence on twitter or facebook, or want an elegant, simple way to stay in touch, subscribe free.~ ed.

Above: Midsummer’s Day, Boulder, Colorado: 1980.

I feel like we’ve all said this three years in a row, but…it’s been a long year.

Less loooong than the last few years, but still painful, humbling, punishing, isolating…if all mostly in an ultimately helpful way.

And so it is that I welcome the return of the sun, and that most celebratory of Buddhist holy-days, Midsummer’s Day—when the light has stretched hot days wide open and cold evenings recede.

~

It’s been a year in which I’ve learned that losing things isn’t bad. That being humbled makes me smarter. That true friends—who tell you what they think, are there for you when no one else is, and, most importantly, will tell you when you have food on your face—are among the most precious assets in this crazy, sad, yet wonderfully ordinary world.

It’s been a year during which I’ve remembered the joys of traveling. Travel reminds us of who we are, stripping us to the essentials: our hearts bared, our minds made open. At 36 years old, I’ve still never been out of the US, with the exception of Halifax and Montreal. Still, these last few months, I have been rocked by Coachella, met fellow living scrapers at 5Point, seen the transformation of NYC into a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community, the result of overfishing in Halifax, and mountaintop removal in Virginia. I’ve seen local, organic and vegan foods available more widely everywhere I’ve gone, and the spread of café culture—we may think nothing’s happening behind those laptops, but in between moments of work and getting coffee, conversations and connections bloom.

Over the last six months, I’ve suffered through the most…epic…breakup of my life. And during that time I’ve depended on just a few things: a few good friends—Jesse, Corey, Rose, Peggy, Bobby, Ryan, Steve, Dave, Dave, Lindsey, Lindsey. Community. Sunshine and exercise (getting out with my dog, Red; yoga with Billy; climbing; my daily commute). Frank, and Dan. Mom. And, most of all, through the gift that is meditation, making friends with my deep, cool loneliness, and coming back from a tortured mind and heart to the present moment, again and again. Because life isn’t naturally stressful, depressed and crazed with craving, aggression and ignorance (the three root neuroses of ego, in the Buddhist tradition). The world is naturally just as it is: magical, in the most ordinary way.

As Lincoln reminded us, this too shall pass. And, as Buddhism reminds us, life’s challenges (to put it politely) teach us something, and can make us gentler warriors.

So that’s my story, in the most general terms. But the magic of the internet is that this is a conversation. Tell your story by commenting here, or emailing us and writing an article about your past year—what you’ve gone through, generally, and what you’ve learned.

~Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

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13 Responses to “Good Morning Sunshine!”

  1. Suze says:

    Good morning! Wonderful post, and here's to becoming gentler warriors!

  2. sara says:

    After reading this I am reminded that we are all subject to some kind of 'suffering' at any given point in life. Though I'm not going through a break up and in fact have a rather charmed home life, I have struggled professionally for the last year in the realm of creating my own success. I have attached myself to successful people with the intent to be everything I thought they were looking for. I have had the realization that I AM all I need to be for ME, though I continue to work towards the embodiment of this belief. What I am aware of is that the lag time between the universe flashing its warning signs "EGO, EGO, EGO" and my stepping back to be compassionate is actually getting shorter… I'm on my way.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    hello from Saskatchewan

    Hi

    I subscribe to the Elephant, newbie actually and love love love it!

    I was reading your conversation “Good morning sunshine” with everyone today and I could not help but think wow that has been a mirror of my life in recent time. So Thank you for sharing, my four rescue canines are the best love and sanity in the world then your friends. But they come and go but the dogs are still there!! And yes these life changing moments do pass but some take a long time and we are never quite the same, different, and hopefully learn and grow and become even a better person but the loss I find still lingers. And yes a humbling but lonely experience.

    Thanks

    Stacy

  4. elephantjournal says:

    another sweet letter:

    Who knows why, when I cannot sleep and dread myself into another long night of restlessness, I go to my inbox and find your piece that references life after your breakup.

    Now I'm faced with the simple truth that my craving is my doing, that my impatience is a choice when I could sit quietly surrounded by my dogs or write a poem instead of fuming about what I desire that I do not have – the phone call that was not returned tonight, the lover who is more involved with her own life than with mine.

    Yesterday I ran errands so I could be present with people I did not know, bringing no expectations other than my appreciation of their effort to sell me groceries or fix my car.

    But waking up in the night with no direction, nothing to do but wait it out until the sun lights the morning is a lonely place where it is hard to sit. The magic is difficult to see in the dark.

    Thanks for writing what you did.

    My reply:
    Thanks, friend.

    Not to be too literal, but I find even a few minutes of meditation helps me sleep clear-headed, with less stressed out dreams! Big thanks for taking the time to write me.

    Yours,

    Waylon

  5. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Angie: I learned about light and that while I can rip time and space, distance still defeats me.

    #
    Matt R: My last year has been about paying dues to the school of hard knocks. Of how to remain positive no matter what happens in life. It has been lonely, stressful, boring at times. In the end it has been about how to live in the moment no matter what.

  6. Eugenia says:

    It’s an awesome story, just what I needed to read I guess. Thanks for having posted it.
    2010 was a nightmare of a year for me. It was May, 2010 when we learnt that my Dad had lung cancer with numerous metastasis in brain doctors giving him 2-6 months, no more. He managed to stay for 7 months, but the last 2 of those where truly horrid.
    If there is positive thing I can find in this experience of mine, it is everything else that used to matter growing so meaningless.
    Else the family had a chance to reunite and to find ourselves a whole, an army having to struggle with one common foe.
    You never know what a real trouble is unless you happen to lose someone dear.
    It’s been 5 months from Dad’s death, but I still feel like being a cosmonaut back to Earth from outer space: I know this planet, but I recognize nothing and no one here.
    I keep saying to myself: Honey, that’s life! You’ve got to move on.
    Alas! Though I know it, it’s an easy thing to say but a hard thing to do.
    But even at this time I have had so many signs which kept me going, reminding me of what you said: the world is full of wonders. It’s a good place to live in unless you wish to leave it.
    Let’s get hopeful it will never get as hard on us as it was in 2010 .
    Sincerely.

  7. KDC says:

    I crafted a rather lengthy response to you about the death of my sister, my daughters horrific perils and some personal issues and through it all learning who really loved and cared for me then determined it was VERY private and I did not wish for some people to see what i had written it could cause undue pain HOWEVER it was cathartic to say the least and I feel at peace!!

    In the last year I have felt every emotion possible, sorrow, guilt, anger, hate, deep intense love, deep intense grief, helplessness on more than one occasion and through it all I learned patience and understanding and that my world is not ending and others have it much worse than I did in spite of losing my sister. I am humbled, smarter, STILL very angry but learning to let go of that with each passing day. I learned who the really good souls are and who the insensitive ones and THAT has reshaped my life.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Andrea Balt Andrea B. says:

    I've been reading Elephant off and on for two years and lately, I seem to be getting hooked, especially after posts like the above (including the comments). So I guess I'm just gonna have to sign up. Sigh :) It so happened that I read this NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/opinion/29franz… today, right before/after reading your editorial and the voice running through it resonated in part with yours, Sir Editor. Needless to say, I enjoyed both. Thank you for ELE.

  9. ChinaRoyale says:

    AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS. DEATH, DIVORCE, DEPRESSION AND TAXES . Fear, Obligation, Guilt, Anger, Resentment. Break-ups, Break-downs, Break-throughs. Your mind churns, churns with Why? Why Me? What happened? When? Where? HOW? —Too much alcohol, too many cigarettes, too many late nights with far too many thoughts. Stop! Your first PANIC ATTACK brings you TO YOUR KNEES- – and maybe, just maybe it may bring you to the MAT!!!
    Life is lived in Epic Proportions. It took 47 years to get here but the last 12 seemed like the final exams for the Masters Degree of Life M. L. Lessons learned? Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water after enlightenment chop wood carry water. #2 It really does feel better to meditate than to medicate (even if it is taking me 6 years to realize this) and #3 I don't worry if I fall off the wagon…any of them even the "spiritual wagon"… I get back on again and again and again again….because the memory of the first time … even that memory passed. AND IT ALL PASSES… WHEN I CHOOSE TO THINK ABOUT ANY OF THOSE HORRIBLE TIMES IN THE PAST DO I BRING THEM INTO MY SPACE NOW. NOW I KNOW WHY THEY SAY WE ONLY REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES…WHY NOT. I lived through all the bad stuff…why would I want to live through it again and again and again. I am still trying to learn this one…Life is not an easy course but it is doable.

  10. debbyc says:

    i've been off my yoga mat since oct. '10–i tore my rotator cuff. first i tried to 'rest' my shoulder. it didn't get better. then i tried rehab/shots. didn't get better. then in april i had surgery. it has been 8 weeks more of pain, inaction and alot of deep breathing. now i start the pain again with 'heavy duty' rehab. . .i'm told i can get back on my mat in october. . .and i gotta tell you i am hoping that my shoulder will stop hurting and i can once again do a downward dog without pain. i am learning that physical pain/bad body/illness takes you to another place entirely. . .hey breakups are emotional. time will heal that. another chance to love/be loved is there–trust me. it's true. but the realm of physical pain makes me realize that 'old' people whose bodies have given up on them, give us alot to learn. i keep breathing and try to send my shoulder healing and love. you'll be fine. you'll see. everyday gives us a new opportunity to live patiently and breath.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    A teacher I like once said “If we really are making all of this up, we might as well make up something we like”
    I can kind of relate to this finally.
    To some degree, this past year I learned to relax and to let go, just a wee little bit.
    There is no controlling this shit is there? At least I haven’t been able to.
    There is no controlling my emotions and neither am I able to choose my thoughts (at least not in the way I’d like to.)
    My body is the way it is, so is my personality. My career is like this, my bank account like this. My skillfulness with intimacy is the way it is.
    I’m not helpless nor all powerful.
    If I wish to wait for or try to expedite awakening- I can. I can spend my time and energy on that. It’s my life. I can live it however I like.
    In fact, I have no choice in the matter.

    ~ Christian O

  12. Ohai Mark says:

    Oh, it's been a tough year, but a fascinating one. I have seen incredible personal growth on my part. I have seen someone who could have been one of the greatest minds of my lifetime collapse and destroy himself in a flame of narcissism and hatred. I have watched people mature, I have watched people stay right where they are, and I have even watched a few people go down on the maturity-o-meter. Today I am watching my whole life as it is fundamentally change. It drowns in the utter impermanence that eight and a half years of relative stability has somewhat suppressed from my conscious awareness. I have seen friends come and go, loved ones die and loved ones come into this Earth, fresh, anew, adorable, and smelling quite unpleasant, just as babies do. I have stories of Thoreau, Ginsberg, Twain, Chopin, Gogol, Kerouac, Salinger, and innumerable other dead souls (pardon the pun, that is, if you get it) arrive in my life. In some cases they departed, leaving but a small trace of themselves in my mind. In other cases, they have stuck around and given me so much more. I have fought bureaucracy from the inside, by going along with it, a mistake on my part, but after all, I do want to go to college. I have triumphantly revisited my hometown of Toronto, Canada under happy circumstances for the first time in God knows how long, and I am happy to say that I am finally saying farewell to the desolate despicable desert that is Southern California. This year has been a year of revolution. A year of kings and aristocrats going to the guillotine as an entirely new me has been formed out of the ashes of the old one.

    Yes, a long year indeed.

  13. jessedziedzic says:

    You couldnt be more on the level..

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