Bristling with impatience, we constantly ask ourselves:
How long is this going to take?
And without fail, the answer is always the same. Longer than we’d like.
The lesson, then, is to stop trying to gain a clear perspective before it’s time. To stop refusing to tolerate the way we progress. And to stop being in such a hurry to move on.
Let the pearl sink, as my therapist used to say. Allow experiences to profoundly penetrate you. Take time to absorb and assimilate life’s wisdom. And just know that if clarity is not available to you today, you can trust it to come later.
I’m reminded of a profound conversation between a comedian and a doctor. The physician consoles his patient during a heartbreak by saying the following.
Misery is wasted on the miserable. You think spending time with her, kissing her, having fun with her, you think that’s what it was all about? That was love? No, this is love. Missing her because she’s gone. Wanting to die. You’re so lucky. You’re like a walking poem. Would you rather be some kind of a fantasy? Some kind of theme park ride? Is that what you want? Don’t you see? This is the good part. This is what you’ve been digging for all this time. Now you finally have it in your hand, this sweet nugget of love, sweet, sad love, and you want to throw it away. You’ve got it all wrong. The bad part is coming, so enjoy the heartbreak while you can.
This is a modern version of the classic zen koan, a pupil in such a hurry learns slowly. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t try to outrun the pain. To do emotional jujitsu on ourselves, sidestepping whatever inner conflict bubbles up so we can move on before any of the punches land.
It’s more worthwhile to let everything register. To sit with the mental waves as they come crashing in, trusting that we’re at the threshold of something important, and we should pay attention and keep going and run the extra mile just to find out how the story ends.
That’s the benefit of misery. It gives us window into our values.
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Will you meet the raging tides with radical grace?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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