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Not sure if I read this somewhere, or if it is my own understanding of how things work, but I am quite convinced that when it comes to changing something, you are not ready until you are ready.
I have seen this in myself.
For quite a while, I battled binge-drinking, spiced up with numbing myself away from reality, only to realise that each trip away from reality meant in fact returning to a reality that was even worse than the one I attempted to get away from.
From the “knowing” point of view, I knew I should stop, yet I was unable to stop as I found later on in the book (Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions) by Russell Brand—I wasn’t ready to give up the little comfort I was getting from alcohol. I was using it as a crutch to get through the day.
Giving up an addictive substance is hard because we got used to it being a solution to how to get through a day. In reality, that has very little to offer and scares us. And as it was also presented in the book, every addict deserves a little praise for finding a coping mechanism that allowed them to survive.
Now of course, life shouldn’t only be about survival. It should be a unique experience, but it is hard to decide what that experience means for us as we are constantly bombarded with all attractive sides of life, and we might forget that it isn’t a tool to make us happy, but rather a cleverly designed trap to get us to buy stuff and effectively contribute to someone else’s fulfilment of their desires. Even if somehow along the way we get glimpses of happiness too.
But what can one do should they decide to break free from this circle of numbing and create a life that is more satisfying?
Well, I am not writing this to give specific advice but rather to tell my story and let you, the reader decide what (if anything) you want to take from it.
This one isn’t mine, but it is my favourite alternative to the cliché-sounding advice of “fake it until you make it.”
It reads: “Face it until you make it.”
I’m not sure which is easier as both sound like quite a lot of work, and I suspect I’m not the only one struggling to put hard work into things when we all know deep down that anything we do, achieve, own, or declare any kind of belonging to will eventually be taken away. And in my case, this relatively dark-looking vision of what will be is a major factor in “not doing things.”
It’s not laziness or my inability to recognise that there’s value in the journey, but as I tend to put it to my family members, my deepest wish is to arrive at a place of peace. And if I am honest with myself, that isn’t going to happen in this life.
We all surely recognise that we are not a pinnacle of power, and even those who believe that they control things around them are no match for the power that rules us all.
I remember how I felt reading the Greek story about poor Sisyphus, destined to suffer from never breaking the circle of his stone rolling back down to where he painfully pushed it in the first place.
This was my view on pursuing almost anything in this life. Eventually, all stones will roll back, and you can start again.
I guess I wasn’t ready to fully surrender to the idea that this in fact could be what makes life so precious. Find, lose, find, and lose again. Constant dancing between hello and goodbye.
Though our minds are probably not really fully capable of wrapping themselves around the concept of infinite causality and energy transformation. Perhaps, this is why so many choose some kind of faith that unburdens them from this difficult concept. They sort of look forward to the promise of Heaven where one can finally be/rest in peace even if they failed to find deep satisfaction in life on this earth.
I would like to add, I personally actually believe in such a place, but I see it as a state of consciousness, not really available for the human brain. Without sounding overly grandiose or spiritual, I believe one can only enter this place via soul. I think all things seek this state, and it’s perfectly captured in the quote by Saint Augustin: “Our heart is restless until it rests in You.”
And with this constant movement of all that is, it is inevitable that we learn to let things go. Nothing can stop things from going away, and even though I am mostly referring to people in this statement, it applies to our vitality, health, and resources.
And more often than not, we’re never really ready to let go. We learned to get attached to people and things, and as most teachers would agree, unlearning something is much harder than learning.
It is much harder to learn to live without someone we loved than it was to enjoy our time with them and get accustomed to their presence.
In this sense, we are never ready to let go of anything, until we are ready. It’s a slow process, and it is probably designed to prepare us to lose our own idea of “self.”
I am aware of the need to not get attached to anything permanently, without accepting that it’s only for a while. Though it’s hard to do so due to the lack of knowledge when it is time to let go.
Relationships, as food, have their expiry/best before date.
I guess, often, there are signs pointing out that people are approaching the level of uselessness in our lives, or we might notice that we start to rely on someone less, and eventually, the inevitable happens—we part our ways.
So perhaps, all that we really need to know is that we used our time wisely, and we can confidently say in each moment of departure: “Thank you for everything and goodbye.”