“What goes up must come down”
Life has its ups and downs. You get a pay rise, your kid gets picked for a rep team and your mum gets cancer. Without the troughs you can never appreciate the rarefied air of the peaks. I used to ride the waves of emotion. I was an unwitting junkie. High on life the next minute crashing down. Now I ride midships. I sense the waves but I’m not caught in them as I was when I rode at the bow.
At times you have control, or think you have control, but mostly we are pushed and pulled by forces beyond our meager comprehension. Like with mum. She thinks eating only vegetables is more extreme than being cut open by a surgeon’s knife all for a 1 in 3 survival chance. Because i love her I want to ride in on a white horse snatch control and stuff her full of leafy greens, garlic and berries that have been shown to retard cancer cell growth by 70%, but it’s not my body and it’s not my life. She’s on her journey and it’s hers alone. While we might like to interject in situations and wrestle our will across things its altogether fruitless. Better is to support, love, care and help. Inform gently and infrequently. People don’t like being told what to do and we can all understand why that is true.
If you’ve ever thought about death and dieing (and everybody should because fear of death is the main thing that stops us from really living) you may have arrived at a conclusion that our western death narrative serves us poorly. Death is transition not annihilation like we are told. Death is simply the outgrowth of a worn out spacesuit. We shed our meatsuit like the caterpillar and metamorphosize back into our natural state no longer able to play a role in this dream of life.
While we dream the here and now we should enjoy it. The good, the bad, the lateness, the disappointment, the frustration, the anger, the achievement and the euphoria. It’s all wondrous and it’s all here on display for us. At this time of the year there is pressure, stress, tragedy and drama. Move to the middle of the boat where the ride is the calmest. Step back behind your eyes and relax. Not being able to get your kid the last Lego Minecraft set is not all that big a deal. Love the ones you love, don’t bicker and fight. Dance where others fret and sweat. The dream can be a beautiful pageant if you let it be so.
Have a very Merry Christmas. Cherish those you love. Give the gift of your attention, compassion and good humour.