When the numbers stop counting and there is nothing else in your mind to add or subtract; when there is only the acceptance that this is life; and whether in battle or peace, we realize that life is life; then we understand that there is no more us or them. There are no more quarrels or reasons to go back and forth. The sum of it all is simple to say the least. I am me. You are you. They are they. We are we and us is us.
We can set aside our pronoun troubles for a moment. We can stop pointing fingers. The pot can call the kettle black or not. Either way, none of this matters.
When the complications of our interpersonal math cease to exist; when the need to please, to interact, or counteract the neighboring bodies around us subsides and all else is clear; when we see clearly then we can understand that everything else is nothing more than a distraction. This is the dilemma.
Besides, what is an opinion anyway?
Isn’t it just a thought or an understanding?
Is our opinion something that stems from our belief system, which has been trained with experience, prejudice and bias? Either way, it’s all in our head, right?
When we let go of our inaccuracies; when we allow ourselves the right to give away our irrational ideas; when we let go of the past; when we let go of our regrets, resentments, blame, shame, guilts or faults; and when we let go of our connections and surrender our defenses, which are actually defenseless; and when we let go of our ideas, based on fears, vanity, and ego, this is when we find freedom.
When there is no more left; when the body can’t carry anymore weight; when the mind collapses and the straw that broke the camel’s back has finally pulled its trick; or when the legs can’t carry us anymore; the pain, the stress, the anxiety, and the need to be rid of all the above outweighs the concerns; this is when change can take place.
I once told you something that I wrote down in one of my very first diaries.
The first words were written for me (by me). I wrote, “My redemption has nothing to do with your response.”
Later on in that journal, I wrote “The depth of my commitment equals the span of my success,” which means whatever I do, wherever I go, no matter what hills are in front of me; I don’t care if it’s mountains or there is a great divide, the only thing that will get me through, over or across is my commitment to continue.
I know this.
This means I have to endure. This means I have to find my focus and disregard all the distractions that come at me at thousands of miles an hour. This means life is going to happen no matter what my plans are. Sometimes my plans will come through. Sometimes they won’t. All I can do is act accordingly.
The world is not here for us. We are just the inhabitants that happen to live here on this big moving stone that spins around the sun. This is it.
It’s really that simple.
When we choose to let go of what people say; when we let go of the insults and see them for what they are, which is actually meaningless; when we let go of our ego and we realize that our mind can either be our friend or an enemy; and when we choose the first instead of the latter; when we set aside the worrisome concerns about “How we look” and instead, we operate as we are without wearing a mask or pretending to be someone else; then we can be free. Then we can be as we are. Then we can live life without being hinged to something that keeps us swinging back and forth. We can walk away from these unwanted movements. Or, more to the point, we can step away from these back and forth arguments.
I remember a poem by Jim Carroll.
This is one of my favorites:
Little kids shoot marbles where branches of the sun break into graceful shafts of light.
I just want to be pure . . .
Me too, Jim.
I have been out here for a while now. I am a traveler. I am an explorer. I’m a hopeful searcher, hitchhiking my way through a thousand ideas at a time. I have the sand. I have dreams. On most days, I have the passion, which burns bright enough to light my way.
Some days, I’m that little kid, looking to shoot marbles. Some days, I am scared. Some days, I am unmoved, unconcerned and unbothered.
Other days are less than simple. Other days come with their complexities. Other days come with distractions. I have found my share of pitfalls. I’ve been stuck before. I’ve fallen more than once.
In fact, some of my falls were devastating. It took a long time for me to stand back up again. Ah, but at least I stood. At least I fought back. At least I didn’t go down and stay down. Right?
It’s true, The depth of my commitment equals the span of my success.
All that stands between me and this is time and distance.
All I need is the willingness to withstand and when there is nothing left; when there are no more excuses; when I’ve exhausted everything and left nothing undone; at least I can say that I did everything. At least I can say that I took a crack at it.
Another thing I wrote in the beginning of my journals is “Pain don’t hurt.”
I started this journey a long time ago. I had nothing. I had no one to turn to. I had a mind filled with inaccuracies. I had a list of disappointments and my very first tattoo, which is etched on my back.
People asked if it hurt.
They told me it looked like it hurt.
I told them, “Pain don’t hurt.”
I thought about my state of mind. I thought about my failures. I thought about my anger. I thought about the life behind me and my fears that awaited for the life ahead of me.
I was alone for the first time in my life. I was unsupervised and unattended. There was no one but me and my regrets.
I thought about the definition of pain and physical discomfort. I thought about the distressing feelings.
Then I thought about the mental and emotional hardships and the wish I had to be stoic, to be unaffected and unbothered. I thought about this and I came to one conclusion: Pain might not always hurt but heartache is a killer.
When there is nothing left to hold onto and the logic brain takes over for emotional thinking, life can take on a whole new direction. It all begins with a decision.
When there is no more reason to hold onto our past, we can let go of the pain.
The question is simple: When does “When” become “Now?”
The answer: As soon as you choose.