Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Alternative is Unbearable
I got some bad news today. My close, close friend's beloved dog was diagnosed with a rare and large stomach tumor. I know that she is devastated. We had a text chat about it and she touched on how, basically, it must seem ridiculous to be so broken up over a dog when there is so much worse pain in the world. I didn't have to think but more than a second to respond. "Doesn't matter what it is that brings out your love. Just as long as your world has love." Her response was "I think sometimes that's a curse."
Perhaps that is true. But deep in my soul I know this and told her so, "The alternative is unbearable." I know people who don't have love in their lives. They don't have the joy of the human touch - for that matter they don't have joy, period, ever. I don't know how they get up everyday. I truly believe they walk around with an unbearable ache in their heart. They numb themselves with drugs and alcohol and most importantly, they do not love themselves.
The older I get, the clearer I see. (HA! If only my eyes saw clearer!) I honestly don't think we are here in this life to find happiness. We have all been taught that we will be happy when we: find our soul-mate, make money, work at something we love. Or, we will be happy and fulfilled when we have a house, have a child, do service. Yet I know people who have and do all of the above and are still not happy, and I know of people who have little or none of the above and are frequently joyful.
I honestly think that life never smooths out - ever! I don't know anyone - anyone - who is not struggling with some obstacle in their life that they cannot control. Most are dealing with multiple obstacles. Some are bigger than others. Battling cancer/sickness, losing a loved one, fighting an addiction, saving their child, losing a job, caring for a parent, struggling with depression...some are not so big, water in the basement, car breaking down, child has a stomach ache, not enough $$$ for bills this week, a fight with your spouse.
No - it's not about finding happiness. I am fully convinced this journey from birth to death is about finding those moments between all the obstacles. And every single moment of joy that you catch revolves around love - loving and being loved - most importantly, loving yourself. Joy is your birthright. It's what makes life worth living. Once you taste it, you will want more and more of it.
I believe this to be true:
Joy is not the result of what you do. Rather, you can find your soul-mate, make money, work at something you love, have a house, have a child, or do service with or without joy. Joy is a state of being that enters your heart when you are open to learning and taking loving care of yourself.
Joy, like love and truth, is a gift of Spirit. Joy, love and truth enter your being when your heart is open. Joy is the feeling of exuberance and oneness that envelopes you once you have opened to feeling your pain, learning from it, and moving through it.
Joy cannot enter your heart when you are protected against your pain. When you protect against your pain, you close your heart to avoid the pain, and joy cannot enter a closed heart. Thus, joy is the result of doing your inner work to learn to keep your heart open.
So I say this to my friend who's struggling with this awful news. I know you are hurting. I know you have experienced way worse and come through it. Most importantly, I know how much love you have - for your family and friends, for your beloved pets, for the tiny and the not so tiny moments in your life. You, my friend have an open heart. You will come out the other side with your heart still open. You will continue to catch joy because I know how much you love and are loved. And most importantly, what was it you just told me, not 2 days ago? This too shall pass? XXX