Today is January 1, 2018. And I quit.
Lest you think this is a depressing, terminal story, don’t despair — it is absolutely not.
For the last really-long-time, I’ve been fighting — hard. Fighting illness, scarcity, loneliness, weakness, uncertainty, the weather, pain, darkness, logistics.
And all it’s gotten me is more of the same. Sure, I may have inspired a few people by the things I did manage to accomplish, but as I did those things, more even bigger obstacles came along and threw me off the track I *thought I should be on.
And yet, I kept fighting, thinking that the peace and success I imagined would only come with continued fighting and working beyond what felt manageable to me. In my mind, every single day, I would be thinking hard about how I could fix this or change that, make do with or without this or that, get here or get there.
And the more I scrambled in my head, the more I couldn’t sleep, the more paralyzed I became. The fear became overwhelming as the losses and traumas piled up. Eventually, my body started to scream at me to stop.
Just in the last year, a Great Love deserted me on the day my father died; a long-time, trusted friend was arrested for trying to break into my locked bedroom and threatening me with a rifle; I had a heart-attack scare that the paramedics determined to be stress-related; I had a mental breakdown from quitting a medicine my doctor had prescribed; I became estranged from half my entire family, was diagnosed with PTSD, and did I mention my beloved father died?
Just in the last year. Actually, all in the first four months of the last year.
All that time, I was scrambling. Due to my financial and health circumstances, during all those events, I was physically moving my whole household of belongings out of storage, where they had been for over three years, into an apartment nearby and going through them, selling or giving away over 75% of all my stuff. And my van was in the shop for a whole month during the crisis. I even had to sell my bed to get it fixed. And I had to move. Again. That makes about ten moves in the last two years.
So why couldn’t I fix this? From the outside, I appeared to be a healthy, intelligent, talented and caring person. Inside, I was battling demons, haunted by the past, facing physical pain each day that often left me in tears, growing weaker and weaker physically. It felt like quicksand — the more I struggled, the deeper I got sucked into an unknown depth of gripping muck.
While I’ve been fighting, however, I’ve also been doing some things each day that felt like reaching out to the edge of the pit for a branch, a hand, a rope — anything. Meditation. Prayer. Reading everything I could find about spiritual growth and connection.
In doing so, I’ve had some major epiphanies. I’ve begun to see beyond the constraints of my own challenges, to see the bigger picture, to see how my life is part of a giant tapestry.
Today, I thought I’d share with you a few of these things.
Death is not the end.
When we have fear, no matter what the object of our fear appears to be, it is death we truly fear. It isn’t always the death of our bodies, it may be the death of our egos that uses this fear to keep us busy struggling.
We may think that if we keep fighting things like pesticides and sugar, for example, we will live longer. That may or may not be true. When it is our Time To Go, our bodies will simply cease to exist. Of course, it’s best to take the best care of our bodies that we can in order to have a better quality of life while we are here.
We may think if we keep fighting to find financial success, we will be happy. That may or may not be true, but our egos will keep creating problems to solve in order to sustain its importance to us. Financial security can solve a lot of problems, but in and of itself, wealth will not bring us happiness.
What we want to understand, however, is that it is our Souls, our hearts, our eternal Lights that will remain after those bodies and wealth and egos cease to be. No matter what your religious beliefs, you must understand that we all came from the same place, we will all return to that pre-existence and the only thing that remains is Love. Which brings me to the most important epiphany…
All that remains, all that matters is Love.
The reason I’m quitting the struggle is because I now understand better that the only thing that will ever matter in this or any other lifetime is Love. Have I loved others? Have I been loved? Have I left anything behind that makes others feel loved?
The things I’ve been struggling to make happen in my life are simple, but not easy: replace my van; have a place to live of my own; re-gain my strength and find ways to end this 30+ years of suffering with fibromyalgia, or at least be more comfortable. Every day, I wake up facing these monumental challenges, and each of them depends on the other to become manifest: I need to feel strong enough to haul gear to gig more (or work) to make the money to replace the van so I can go someplace where I can be outside to get well enough to be strong enough and make enough money to have a place to live, and on and on.
This vicious cycle runs through my head every single day, and has for several years, as I’ve gotten sicker. And when added to the land mines I’ve stepped on along the way, it has taken a toll.
I’m tired. I don’t know how much more I can take.
But I do not have a cell in my body that would allow me to completely give up. This life I’ve been given is not mine to forfeit. It was a gift. I will follow it through until it is done.
Meanwhile I quit. I will now spread out calmly across the surface of the quicksand and float, gazing up at the sky, the sunshine, the stars, the vastness from whence I came, and trust.
My intention now is to follow only Love. I will only do that which feels joyful, healthy and peaceful each day. I will create. I will express gratitude. I will eat as well as I can afford to. I will move as much as my hurting, fatigued body will allow, and I will Love. I will reach out when I can, and in whatever way I can, and I will give what I can.
I will forgive everything of everyone, including myself. I will mend whatever fences I can get others to approach. I will judge no one, including myself.
My lofty goals are still in my mind, but I quit struggling. I will now trust that all is well. I will now trust that I am where I’m supposed to be, that my life is as it is meant to be. I will trust that the means to create the funding needed to lift myself out of this quicksand will present itself to me.
Most importantly, I will accept Love when it comes. I will not be fearful, I will not base my willingness to accept love on my past experiences, upon evidence my ego provides that love cannot be trusted. I will change the past in my mind and remember only the kindness of others, not the aggression or pain that was caused.
I will engage with those with whom I align and let others pass by and know that it’s ok. I will befriend those who accept me as I am and need my encouragement, love and compassion, and those who can offer me the care, support and companionship I await. I will trust that these connections already exist and only await my arrival and recognition.
Nobody likes a quitter, I know, but I quit smoking, I can quit suffering, too.
And today, I quit.
Much love to all in 2018.