What tangled webs we weave. First in the mind, then in our own lives.
I suppose this is the true meaning of Karma or something.
I continue on in my current position. For those first-time readers, it’s been a rough ride. I’ve been trying to plot and plan my escape from my current job over the course of the last 4-5 months or so (with minimal financial and relational impact with my guy)… And I have a rough “end period” in mind – Some time either at the end of August or September – but this is open based on what circumstances arise once I provide my notice. I am prepared for whatever happens to happen – longer, shorter, whatever. And trying to hold out on giving my notice until the end of June… We’ll see about this. The force to leave is strong, I say.
Some days it’s bearable – I may even dare say moments can be enjoyable (*gasp*), but perhaps the plan of the escape has made those moments possible.
However, other moments (i.e. most days), it’s still wrought with suffering – of which I am learning I am largely creating in my mind. (“All suffering is caused by the mind” as the Buddhist teachings go.) This both alleviates and frustrates me. Alleviation because thank god, it’s my doing – and something I might be able to pull myself out of. Frustration because – how the fuck do you train your mind to stop suffering?
I am still working hard to let go and live in the present moment (which ironically, is something you can’t “work hard” to do I am told). I am interrogating my thoughts regularly and trying to meditate more in order to come to peace with my current plight. I win some, I lose some, and sometimes utter despair overtakes me spiraling out and completely making my emotions and thoughts its bitch. Such is life. I know now that my thoughts are what is creating this suffering in the first place. If I could just turn those pesky things off… or at least stop believing them so whimsically.
But such is life. And so I sit, not in the enjoyment of my job, not in enthusiasm, but in acceptance. Acceptance that it’s my choice that I am still serving this company in this capacity. Acceptance that I choose to give it a few more months before beginning the next phases of my life. Acceptance that today, I must complete these things for this job.
But while I can accept, I still greatly struggle to engage. And with that, priorities and responsibilities continue to pile on. I just keep adding them to the pile, not allowing myself to look too much at the pile and cause overwhelm, stress and an immediate violent, careless departure of my current circumstances (Something like, “Fuck ya’ll! I’m out!” comes to mind).
The days drag on. Sometimes, I leave the day in good spirits, and others, quite worn down. But this is the process. And for the struggle I am grateful. For the stresses, I am grateful. For the challenges and depletion to my energy levels, I am grateful. For by these experiences, I am presented with opportunities to focus on the now. I see the suffering in those moments and that’s my cue… Whoops – you’ve lost the now, Ash. Let’s get you back to the present – let’s get you back home. So I continue to find the only solace I can in the right now, and not some future imagined state of bliss. That “now” can simply be the utter awareness that the thoughts I am having are causing my suffering. Because without those thoughts of frustration, I am literally just sitting at home at my desk in front of my computer. The sun is shining outside my window. My pup is scratching my leg asking for a moment of connection (*swoon*). Without these thoughts, I am at rest. The reality is, I am fine. All is well. All is as it should be because it is what it is.
So, when the thoughts flood in – I hate this. I can’t answer one more damn phone call. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t write another fucking email about complaints received. I am learning to stop. I realize for a moment that I am thinking this, causing myself suffering, and then just let the sadness, stress, hopelessness and frustration flood in with understanding to its transient nature (this too shall pass – all these fucking emotions eventually pass). I take a deep breath and realize that this is what I am accepting now. When I let the sadness in, when I let the hopelessness and frustration in, but bring myself back to the present, it creates a little space around the suffering. The suffering gets a little less. It’s bearable.
Sure, it’s not exciting. Sure, it’s not thrilling, but these moments of testing are welcome by me. I see them, I let them in, I let them grope, pressure and oppress me, and I say, “Ok, you’re welcome here, thank you. I have accepted this. I don’t know how long I will continue to accept this, but for this moment, right now, I accept this.” And their voices get just a little softer. They lose their intensity. And I can proceed on in the acceptance of the moment that is now, doing that which is only required at that precise moment in time. Only now.
I click the reply button. Blank page. I begin to type “I am so sorry to hear we failed in our brand standards once again…”
And with that, a sliver of peace. Moment of suffering has passed. That moment has gone. And I find myself in the next. Acceptance and subsequent action…
Too many days of this type of acceptance eventually will force a change, though. I know this. But for now? I look forward to that day, but for this day, this moment, I accept.
“Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”
– Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough