I wanted to entitle this, ‘Life is a Roller Coaster,’ but that was too long; and the sad truth is that life in general, is more like waiting in a long line for hours and hours just to ride said thrill machine. So, life in not at all like a roller coaster, but rather moments of life have the capability to steal your breath, make your heart pound, and force sounds from your throat that you previously thought yourself incapable of performing. Since this isn’t a ride that any of us have ever previously taken, or rather, none of us remember having taken it; and for sure, none of us have taken it within this current time in history; none of us can predict when the next dip, drop, upside down corkscrew, or plunge into darkest night will take us; and this tends to surprise us over and over. It really shouldn’t at this point. At least, I myself am constantly aware of the surprises, even now in my late forties. I guess what is fun for me is that I am seeing these twists and turns, and yes, there have been a lot of big drops too, as nothing more than something I might experience on a ride. It’s not going to kill me; it’s not going to injure me, (at least most of the time it doesn’t); it’s not going to threaten my survival. It might actually be fun?
If we let it be so. Fun that is. If we don’t fight it, if we give in and let it take us along, and we enjoy the actual journey of the ride; if we don’t hunger for a different ride, or long for the ride to be over. What if we could actually get excited about each twist and drop and upside down as part of the thrill? I know, that is kinda stretching it, but isn’t that Zen at its most adept monkness? I realize that most of us are not on the Zen/Monk path in life, but, what if, what if, what if, more of us were? What if the majority of us were? It’s nothing more than becoming self aware and creating our own personal identities. What if all of us thought more about the ride, and less about the stuff, or the reproduction, or the achievements, or the doctrine, the rules and religion, or even our futures? In my case, what if it wasn’t about finding love at all? What if it was all about me finding me? Shrug….
What if today a crave wasn’t sated? Isn’t it better to feel that crave in the first place? How many of you reading this, ever desire something so intensely you feel hollow for the need inside? I would gamble that not many of you do, crave, or feel hollow because of the lack. We are conditioned to not desire, not hope, not long, not pine for anything or anyone. So my question is; what are we standing in line for? If you’ve ridden a modern coaster, or stood near one; you’ve heard that first ascent as an audible promise of what is to come; Click— Clack, Click—Clack, as you climb ever higher, and it’s a very slow ascent up into the sky. It’s more like an ominous prediction of what is to come. You know full well at that point, you aren’t getting off. You’re securely strapped in and the bar is across your thighs; You’re not going anywhere; You’re seeing this shit through to the end, like it or not; getting sick or not; discomfort or not.
What I’m trying for in my ride through life, is to not worry about the inevitable of the sick and discomfort; and when I get on a coaster, yeah, my heart pounds and my palms often get damp; sometimes the anticipation is enough to make you cry! Sometimes the ride itself makes you throw up your lunch. So what? If I’ve learned anything from trying to experience life, it’s that you cannot avoid the discomfort. It’s a given, and honestly all that crap and pain and emotional turmoil is in the majority. What about the minority of our lives? Can we learn to focus on these small, breath taking moments and discount the other stuff? If we do, it somehow lessens the severity of the shit storm. I’m not sure why it works that way, but it does. The shit still hits the fan, but we aren’t overwhelmed by it, and can take it in stride. Nothing a good hot shower can’t cure, right? Again, I shrug!
I myself have always been a bit of a dare devil; not like some that are nothing less than adrenaline junkies. I’ve not done things that were increasingly dangerous just hoping for that high. Nope, instead I’ve just let myself enjoy the adrenaline when it hits, and used it to its fullest; which means I was never dissuaded by fear to avoid that which others said might be dangerous. It’s the greatest focuser of all, adrenaline that is. It’s what creates lasting memories in these sieve like brains of ours. You know something else that enables us to imprint great memories on our psyches? Desire! Not the fulfillment or the quenching, but the need itself. Most of us want to feel something, anything, please let me feel again; and sadly, most of us become nothing less than drama or turmoil junkies in the hopes of feeling. Some of us go dead and dull, desire-less and passionless. Some of us go all Shakespeare and create one tragedy after another; just to feel, anything. And then some of us head to the amusement park and wait in line for hours for a ride that will last less than three minutes, just to feel.
What if you could feel enough just by letting yourself take this ride called life? Some of you will say that you are doing just that; but I ask you, are you really? Don’t you have your week or weeks in advanced planned out? Isn’t your future mapped out till the day you die? Sure, sure, you have to think ahead a little, like what you’re going to have for dinner, or how you’re going to afford dinner; sure, sure, I know all about that since I’ve personally been dependant on others for my entire survival. Yup, not once have I been responsible for my own survival. Others have always taken care of me, and supported me, and stood by me and helped me. The pool of helpers is small however, and that was just me; I was born with enough faith to somehow know that I didn’t need to worry about where the rent was coming from or how the meal was going to be paid for. Not that I haven’t worried, repeatedly, but it’s always been taken care of, down to the last minute and the last dollar. Through my entire current existence, I’ve lived on the faith that I was going to be taken care of, and if my life seemed difficult or hard, it was because I needed to grow or learn something, and I better figure it out tote quick so that I could resume my fairy tale existence. Which I’ve always done, and my life has been quite ‘easy’ if you were grading on the curve. Every bill has been paid, (well, the important ones), every meal and every unexpected, (I mean really, shouldn’t they be expected at this point?), expense has been met. But I must declare that I have had the faith to look at what needing looking at, and I was willing to learn whatever lessons I needed to learn. I’ve always made sure I wasn’t running in the stick for any duration longer than was abso-fuckin-lootly necessary! I’ve done my part in other words; I’ve done the work without excuses, sidebars, sidetracks or distractions.
I haven’t expected wealth or fame, or even the fulfillment of all my wants. My needs have been met however, and often it is in an even more luxurious way than I could have anticipated. Again, it’s a ride! In other words, the drop off looks much more ominous than it usually is. I actually have never expected to be healed from illness either. I’ve always figured that maladies and thorns and sickness and even poverty, were inevitable. I don’t think that my faith in something more than myself, means I get discompensation from any of the aforementioned. Nope, I’ve actually figured I might be in for a bit rougher ride simply because I’m asking to become more developed, more of something, just more! With a huge amount of consternation, and I really hate saying it, but suffering and lack, really do build character. At least they do if you let them, and you don’t get bitter. I was kinda bitter for awhile there in my late thirties. Now however, I can say, “oh, that’s why!” And even though at the time, I was thinking they gave me something to cry about, (which they did!), it was worth the suffering. I like the new me so much better!
So, when life is feeling a bit out of control, and too much like a roller coaster, try strapping yourself in and enjoying it. Try thinking of it as something that has the ability to surprise you, and steal your breath, and make your heart pound. Try to think of it as worth the waiting and the monotony. It’s mostly about the expectation, and less about the fulfillment. Oh, and please let yourself crave something again. You don’t need to give in to it, just feel how refreshing desire actually is. We are a society of instant gratification, I say try wanting without any hope of getting. Try to enjoy that odd, gravity free and weightless moment just before the drop off. Let yourself scream and express and laugh! And please, don’t judge, shame or condemn others if they are doing just that, they might be on a totally different ride!