Many words of wisdom have reached my ears, and unfortunately many have become lost in the fog that is my memory. One phrase, however, has faithfully popped back in my mind during times of increased stress and trouble.
Claire, sometimes when you’re stuck in the muck, you just gotta sit in it.
I still remember my reaction when I heard those words.
That can’t be right.
That doesn’t make sense…does it? Just sitting there?
How will I get out?!
And then, a sense of overwhelming peace and reassurance.
Wow, it’s so true. THANK YOU.
I didn’t know who I was thanking, and I still don’t. I do know, however, that meditating on this concept has brought me an exuberant (yes, exuberant) amount of confidence and inner peace.
Whether we want to believe it or not, we can’t possibly control every situation in our life. The amount of control we do have is based solely on our actions and reactions to what we experience. For instance, I may not be able to control the fact that our car is now completely useless. I can, however, control how I choose to see the situation.
Honestly, the situation has been pretty stressful to me. The whole reason we (my partner Raven and I) came back to Vermont was to pay off the car so we could travel without financial obligations. We’ve been having an unusually hard time finding means to make money, and not for lack of trying – I’ve diligently scoured craigslist, asked everyone I know (and don’t know) for any job opportunities they may know of, written a new resume, applied for jobs…you name it. Still, it didn’t matter. Weeks after weeks of searching to find pretty much nothing.
Then, three days ago, the entire car pretty much stopped working. The transmission went kaput, the alternator fell out, the belt wore down, the brakes were about to fail, and the supposedly “new” battery was about dead. The car went from working to useless in a matter of hours.
We were angry, we were scared, we were stressed, we were confused. There was plenty of yelling and crying to go around.
My first thought when encountering a breakdown (car, life, or otherwise) like this is almost always the same:
How can I get out of this situation?
I kind of see the situation as a puzzle to figure out, or a challenge to complete. Get things “back to normal”, and you’ll win.
The answer was never clear.
Then, I realized that I was asking the wrong question entirely. The situation didn’t happen simply for me to try to escape it – like the good times, the bad times also exist for me to experience. Struggling in the muck will only further entrap me, bogging me down as I sink deeper into filth. But if I can just let it be and simply sit, focusing on my own inner peace instead of the outside stressors, it’ll be much easier to see the way out. Also, just throwing it out there – mud is not a bad or negative substance. It pulls the toxins out of our bodies, and even supports certain forms of life.
As Thich Naht Hahn said:
How has “the muck” enriched your life?