Last Thursday, I came home after a therapy session knowing that something old had awoken, something dark and shifty and vague, and I knew that its massive bulk would surface soon, but all I wanted to do was eat dinner, watch Call the Midwife, and read myself to sleep with an easy, fun Jennifer Crusie novel. Don’t get into this before bed, I thought.
I slept fitfully, knowing I’d have to confront this thing the next day, knowing I’d have all day at home alone to let it rise and beach itself, stinking of depths and slime.
I woke tired and heavy at 6 a.m. and spent the whole day crying, journaling, crying. It kept coming up and coming up, like waves of nausea. It brought with it some actual nausea, too, my body trying to pull reaction from my gut, trying to get it out, get it out, get it out and wash it up on the sand for a closer look. Allow it, I thought—but my rationality was slipping fast, and allowance began to feel like powerlessness, like I had lost control and couldn’t find my way back. It was awful.
I’ve cried before, I’ve felt hopeless before, but I can’t remember that I ever let it go so far; usually, I stop myself, afraid of getting lost and afraid of that inner critic telling me to shake it off and stop being pathetic. This time I surrendered (that’s a nice word that doesn’t quite capture the violence of the process—but on some level, surrender is what was happening). I even, as shameful as it felt, called my therapist and asked if we could meet again. Two days in a row?? Who does that? You’re going to waste money because you’re too weak to fix this yourself?
What was all of this about? It’s not important. I’ll just say that a 2-minute phone conversation with my boyfriend as he was driving home from work cleared it all up. Two minutes, people. Two minutes. To sum up: 4 hours of pre-crying, a bad night’s sleep, 12 hours of crying, pages of journaling, a throbbing headache, a bunch of money on extra therapy, [INSERT: 2-minute conversation with boyfriend], another day and a half of recovery from headache, exhaustion, and an undoubtedly shredded aura.
You suffer until you realize you don’t have to suffer.
Buddhists say that, A Course in Miracles says that, my boyfriend says that, I say that, my therapist would certainly agree with that. But by golly, there’s nothing to make you feel more like a failure than seeing the truth and knowing it’s the truth but not being able to reach it.
I told my sister about the ordeal. “Yep, that’s how we are,” she said.
And that is also true, but again, only partially comforting. It might be how I act sometimes, but it’s not who I am. That suffering mess is all ego; it’s all part of the illusion. But again, that’s truth without comfort, truth without love.
Why am I writing about this? Why am I revealing some of my worst? I guess I’m hoping/betting that I’m not alone. When I was in the middle of my crying day, I felt so completely isolated (I’m such a mess! Something is wrong about me! I’m beyond help! I’m the only person like this in the entire world! etc.). It’s a pretty rotten place to be. It would have been nice to read something like this, to know that I'm not off the charts in terms of being human.
Case in point: after the last time I had a slight overreaction to something in our relationship, my boyfriend showed me this meme. Maybe I should have felt angry that he would make light of my feelings. But this simple, silly, fake diary excerpt made me feel so much better. You’re not alone, it said. So this blog post is for anyone out there who might have similar breakdowns from time to time. It’s okay. It’s not ideal, but it’s part of the process. Honor the process if you can. But even if you can’t, don’t worry. We’ll all eventually, even if it takes several more lifetimes, grow into enlightenment.
Speak truth in love, we’re told. So here’s my attempt: yes, it’s my ego that creates and perpetuates such messes, that wreaks such havoc. Ego causes the pathetic suffering mess, and ego wants me to use words like “pathetic suffering mess” to describe myself afterward. The truth is that I don’t have to suffer if I don’t want to, but the truth in love is that it’s okay to suffer if that’s all I know how to do sometimes—if I am choosing to suffer, it is only because I do not yet trust love or understand it. And that’s okay, too. Because life is about experience, and wherever we are is exactly where we need to be.
 The voice of the ego. More on the ego/soul/spirit trio later, if I feel like it.
 Well, not all of it, but if we stick with the beached sea animal metaphor, I can say that the creature lost enough weight that I could easily pick it up and toss it back into the sea, knowing it won’t go as deep this time or seem quite so frightening the next time it visits.
 More on auras later, perhaps. As of recently, I like talking about auras.
 More on A Course in Miracles later. Maybe. Expect nothing.
 When I say “love” here, I don’t mean romantic or relationship love. I mean the all-abiding love that is in and around and of me, all the time—the love that IS me and IS you and is the only real thing in this world.