In the throes of my deepest codependence long ago, I just knew that if I acted a certain way or said the right thing I could fix the relationship that was going wrong, the anxiety buzzing within me, depression's weight in my gut. I could say just the right affirmation, follow the dictates of this great self-help book and I would have a perfect life.
Here is what Diane Mariechild (in Open Mind -- Womens' Daily Inspirations for Becoming Mindful) has to say about that:
"It is easy to delude ourselves by thinking that we can make things totally convenient and comfortable and eliminate all pain. This unrealistic thinking is disconnected from the truth of physical life...another way of disguising the ego's need for control with positive, upbeat language."
What she is pointing toward is the Buddhist concept, equanimity.
"She who loves roses must be patient and
not cry out when she is pierced by thorns." (Olga Broumas)
We who love life must be patient when life disappoints us, hurts us, betrays us. (I believe in "crying out" sometimes, so cannot accept that limitation on our approach to life. Sometimes a quick whine or a good cry is what I need in order to move on.)
We who love life must not allow our ego to delude us into believing we have control.
And though we do not have control, we do have choice: we can choose to be aware of the ego's machinations, of our need to have things our own way; we can choose to accept life's situations and circumstances and joys and difficulties without layering onto them the suffering of anger, frustration, expectation, and neediness.
Realizing that we have this choice is our power in life, not over life. Exercising this choice is the beginning of wisdom.
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Carol D. Marsh
- With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90 days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.