“MAYDAY! MAYDAY! We’re coming in hot! Fuel’s on E, Carlito’s dead, and I think we just sucked a bird through the blades again! This bitch’s coming down!”
Life was a mess to say the least. And you’d never suspect from his current predicament – his reckless abandon and apparent disregard for human life; screaming into the radio handset of a Cessna 172 hurtling towards the thick South American Jungle below* – the growing pains of someone who once could be so mindful and precise.
“The comfort zone’s there for a reason,” the Ego said to The Sucker.
“Yeah, seated between Mediocrity and Death!”
“You’re going to die right now…”
“Will you shut up? I’m trying to land a metal box on a tree!”
His mind raced back quicker than the altimeter – space whizzing past the windows providing the backdrop to the visual theater as it replayed that last phone call he made, and how poorly he had treated her ever since they arrived on the this damn island… That college degree he never achieved all those years ago, knowing full-well how proud it would have made his mother. It would certainly have kept him grounded.
Back further… His first kiss, and how in that moment – with the sun pouring over him through the trees, as he sincerely accepted love for the very first time – life just seemed so enthusiastically, incredibly possible.
And here it all laid, spread out before him: Failures and regret like piercing branches disemboweling the fuselage and the suffocating vines of Mother Earth calling her son home.
“It’s been nice knowing ya,” he said to himself bitterly.
Sometimes life can get crazy.
Everything piles up over time, with us (blissfully and) ignorantly thinking there’ll be more time tomorrow, and somewhere along the line it all starts spiraling out of control. “You’re fucking it up,” the face in the mirror spits back at you self-righteously, always so quick to give you a hard time as if it wasn’t responsible for getting you there in the first place. Sometimes we as “humans”, with all our philosophy and science and sentience, can be pretty fucking stupid.
I wasn’t doing too well. I was freaking out about life. Again. I was doing everything I thought I should be doing but the happiness just wasn’t there. It’s hard to feel trapped within yourself – just you and your thoughts. And the voice is never helpful. The voice usually sounds like that kid who teased you back in school, or your parents, or that ever-present subconscious thought that ultimately you’re not good enough.
Life can get crazy. And bet your ass it will! But when it does, it’s important and helpful to remember that it’s okay to be feeling the way you do. I’ve been connecting with a lot of people lately, both out of my active interest in establishing new and strengthening current relationships, and also entirely out of the happenings of the Universe. And during the course of my relating, I’ve come to find more and more just how incredibly hard everybody is on their self – how much we expect from ourselves, and the limits and deadlines we install by which we grade and measure our existence. We feel so entitled to endure the pains of life our brains tell us we should be feeling.
“I loved him so much, gave everything, and in the end I just wasn’t enough!”
The thing to realise, however, is that giving in to those thoughts and feelings is a choice. It’s making the choice between 1) this bad thing happened to me and I want to feel bad about it, and 2) this bad thing happened to me and no matter my thoughts or feelings about it, it won’t change the past so I may as well try and find happiness in the present.
“I’ve been struggling with this my whole life and it just feels as though I’ll never be happy!”
I don’t know why we gravitate towards self-deprecation and assault. Why we have to be the ones telling our inner voice, “I’m confident! I’m successful! I deserve this!” I don’t know how we can put a man on the moon but not know how to be happy; truly happy.
Eckhart Tolle postulates that the ego’s need for suffering is to create a sense of identity within the individual. It adds drama to “our story” and makes us unique in comparison to the rest of the world. “This is me and this is what I’ve been through!” The irony being that self-identification is maintained towards the promise of happiness, yet is characterised primarily by misery and suffering.
“When I get that promotion, THEN I’ll start living!”
I’m doing really well now. I think the breakdown was necessary. Sometimes it takes life crashing to the floor to force you to look at it realistically. The reality being that life, ultimately, is only ever as hard as we make it on ourselves.
So be kind to yourself today, forever. Listen out for that voice which tells you you aren’t good enough, or that your teacher was right, or that being skinny will make you happy. And then kill it.
Because the voice is lying to you, man! And we are all idiots for believing it. If there’s anything I’ve learned since connecting more, and just being receptive to the stories so many wonderful people have shared with me, it’s this:
You are not alone.
There is a world of beauty out there, filled with misery and heartache. 7 billion humans scared to reach out and touch each other**. Living in fear of rejection, or the wealth gap, or the colour of his skin. But I tell you this: For every single one of you reading this, for any problem you have been through or are going through right now, there is someone else on this ridiculous spinning rock going through the exact same thing.
And regardless of how entitled we feel to experience hurt and heartache, ultimately the only purpose it will ever serve is to make us feel like our lives suck.
Life is hard; give yourself a break. You are, after all, only human. Just like everyone else.