Friday, October 17, 2008

We're All in this Together

The Divine in me acknowledges and greets the Divine in you.

In the movie As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson tells his companions, who are sharing stories about their deeply painful life experiences, that "some [people] have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car….What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." It's true that comparing your pain and suffering to the supposed health and happiness of others is a sure recipe for envy, resentment, isolationism, and depression.

But really, no one's life is all "good times, noodle salad." Everyone's got something. That's right, everyone has got something. We ALL have our challenges. The wealthy, gorgeous celebrities – the supposed "beautiful people" – have their drug addictions and divorces. The smiling lady across the street is putting on a good show as she copes with her alcoholic mother or her abusive husband or her massive credit card debt. Everyone's got something.

If you saw me in the grocery store today, or in my yoga class, you'd think I was a vivacious, healthy, attractive woman, and if you were having one of your bad days, you might even be jealous of me and annoyed by my perkiness. Well, don't be. I spent all last night awake in severe pain and anguish. Don't let my smile fool you – I'm smiling to remember the sweetness of life, to try to lift my spirits. Everyone's got something, and I've got something I'm dealing with too, just like you.

Don't waste your energy going down the self-destructive path to envy and resentment. You have your challenges, yes, and so does everyone else. Maybe your friend is having a good day or week or year, but we all have our crosses to bear. They say the strongest among us carry the heaviest crosses, so really, proportionately, we're all equally challenged. Maybe next week, or next year, your happy-go-lucky friend will be the one needing your help and support. Don't waste your time comparing. Just be who you are, where you're at, and trust the process of life.

Sorry to say, it is also a mistake to get too cocky during the good times. If you're fortunate enough to be having an easy time of things lately, enjoy it, appreciate it, even revel in it. But know that life is filled with both ups and downs, and what goes up must come down. Just don't imagine yourself as categorically different from those who are currently less fortunate than you. Everyone has both good times and hard times, and everyone is human.

We are all in this together. Instead of withdrawing into an isolationist fantasy of "poor me" or "lucky me" – look around. Really look around. See the commonalities, our common human experiences. We are all raising families or part of a family. We are all doing work of some kind – either for pay or in school or at home – and trying to do our best at it. We are all trying to live as ethically as possible, within our varying definitions of what that means. From atheists to monks to zealots, we're all following our internal moral code as best we can. We are all coping with a society that is out of sync with our natural rhythms, highly stressful, and physically and emotionally toxic.

We are all in relationship with each other. We are all imperfect. We are all evolving and learning, each at our own pace. We are all beautiful. We are all struggling with challenges – some with financial stresses, some with addictions, some with illnesses or injuries, some with family dramas, some with emotional traumas – something for everyone. Everyone's got something. If you're doing well, help out someone who isn't. If you're not doing well, reach out to someone who is. All together, no "something" is too tough to manage. All together, we can handle anything.


heather said...

Dear Anita,
I just read your blog entries, and I'm so impressed. It's great you're writing about all this. I appreciate the last post; right now i'm struggling, too, but there are certainly times when i feel very blessed/lucky, and you're right, appearances can be deceptive. I've been struggling with a lot of insomnia recently (despite my new CPAP machine) and ended up with a bad ear infection, and have been prescribed Cipro to take after the Amoxicillin I'm taking now. BUT, I think I will NOT take it but consult with other physicians first, depending on who I can see, how soon (a challenge). In any case, I'm sending healing, pain-free strength and energy your way. You have so much grace...
love, heather

Carol Jones said...

Anita, your post is soinspiring, thank you for the message that can inspire human being with love and hope.