I write a pair of these every year. I learned last year that a large source of my suffering comes from the the disconnect between what reality was and what I expect it to be. Because I kept expecting my reality to be something else, somewhere else, I think apart from the suffering itself, I had missed the opportunities that were present to me.
Towards the end of last year, I began to accept where I was. Through that acceptance, I could finally see the silver lining in my clouds. How much I have I missed because my vision was too narrow?
I opened this year with another migraine episode. This time, I meditated and breathed into that pain and thanked my body for feeling that pain.
I was sick most of last year, and being sick gives us time. Time to do nothing but heal. The body doesn’t want to do anything else. I experienced utter powerlessness and desolation. But there is sort of inner power to be derived from just being able to endure and witness.
I started to learn to be okay with being sick, to not have any form of measurable output to determine my sense of self-worth. I learned to stop flinching each time someone asked me what I do. What have I been up to? Nothing. Just keeping myself alive, I guess.
Only hindsight can give me the benefit of understanding that through my sickness I acquired a strange form of resilience. Previously I raged, cried, fell into deep depression.
One day, I simply gave up. I gave up trying to be productive and accountable. I accepted my new-found status as a sick person. So I started doing things that sick people can do. I read a lot. I stared into a dark abyss. I asked myself if I could learn to be with this unbearable emptiness of not doing anything. I started meditating so I could get friendly with this void.
A friend asked me where I was going, and I said: I wish to get to a point where even if I get thrown into solitary confinement, I can still find it in myself to be thankful for being alive.
Is it possible? That someone who is as chronically suicidal as me can find it in myself to be thankful for being alive when there is nothing left on offer?
Maybe I am chronically suicidal precisely because I keep searching for specific sets of offerings. I wanted my life to be less of a struggle, I wanted to be happier, I wanted people to stop being so goddamned selfish, I want us to stop killing each other, I want us to care about the weak and oppressed.
I basically wanted to live in a different world, and refused to accept any less.
But I think, I think, I am starting to see, when everything is so black and white, so absolute, I don’t see the beauty, the aliveness, the offerings that creep in in-between. When I keep expecting myself to be happy and healthy I don’t notice my own spectrum of emotions and bits of aliveness, no matter how tiny they are.
The beauty of this world, this universe, isn’t that it is perfect and utopian. It comes from the incessant irrepressible desire to be alive, to exist in relation to everything else, despite how terrible it is half the time.
This year, I want to stop searching for the highs, the experiences that make my heart skip beats. It had finally occurred to me that I have been on infinite dopamine loops. I kept trying to find the next thing.
I want to learn how to be still with stillness, that aliveness is not about adrenaline surges but the witnessing of each passing moment. I want to stop searching and learn to be here, and now.