Ramble 70 “It Is (Part 1)”Posted: October 7, 2013
I had a show in North Africa years ago when my music career was a decision or two away from fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the Internet was not a haven for the grinding artist back in 2005. The people in the audience that could possibly research me today; had very little knowledge of me other than Myspace and the fact that I was on Virgin Records. The guy responsible for booking the show was named Josh, and he was an eclectic dude that actually moved out to Morocco from NY for a few months. He learned the language, hit up the Mosque, and adapted to using a hole in the ground as a lavatory.
I noticed a tattoo on his right forearm that read “It Is.” I was hoping it wasn’t “Itis” since that would be a little racist but funny.
I wasn’t going to be the one to ask about it but as we rode on the bus to the venue, I was glad someone inquired about the tat. The answer was basically what I expected: Any occurrence, good or bad, grandiose or minuscule, just is. Sure you can get excited, yes you may react, at some points your emotion leads you to feel anger, sadness, resentment, pain, and unforeseen circumstances may alter your life forever. But acceptance is one of those difficult concepts to grasp that puts life’s ongoings in perspective. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t seen that tattoo, or read some books on Buddhism, or felt like a Zen master some days when my reaction or attitude seemed passive to normal humans…but this is me. I am a habitual “accepter.”
I’m not great at it but practice makes perfect. I used to find myself expecting people to reciprocate, act a certain way, or do what I would do in certain situations. And even more than that, I am on the other side of someone else’s expectations and desires. How many times do you say to someone, “I would do it for you, why wouldn’t you do it for me?”
Or how about this one? “How could you do that to me?” And these are just interpersonal relationships. We look at other humans whether they are related to us, if we label them friends, or we would like to join them in some spiritual union, we kind of want them to think like we do. Or we expect them to act a certain way because this is what we know. Love looks a certain way to you doesn’t it? But when you apply “it is” sometimes your camera view pans out, you take a deep breath and realize that most folks perform actions that feel right to them. Sure they know they may hurt someone else, of course they rationalize what’s right or wrong but for the most part, the selfish human looks to satisfy his or herself first.
So where does that leave you? You didn’t expect an accident, a problem at work, a traffic ticket, a rent raise, an expensive bill, a health issue, a relative disagreement, a loved one disappointing you, a relationship hurdle, or a day where you wake up and realize that the dream you once had is fading, the path you are on is not what you wished for and life looks like happiness peaks its head out on weekends and vacations then vanishes. How can you just accept any of this as just being what it is? Is acceptance the contraposition of making moves? Where is the reward in acknowledging an occurrence as a part of life?
The pain of loss feels like it will last forever. But how many of us try to get over it without really taking a look at it? Examining the pain doesn’t make it go away but embracing it can allow you to separate yourself from it and not own it. It’s not easy to apply the clichés like “time heals all wounds,” and “pain is just weakness leaving the body,” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” In all seriousness though, these sayings make sense.
I had a loved one pass away and I felt like I would never get over it…until I thought about why it hurt so much.
It hurt because I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say to them. It was because I wanted to share new experiences with them, and I missed their words, and their voice, but most of all I didn’t enjoy the time they lived as much as I could have. And the truth is I can never change any of that.
I spoke to a friend of mine who remained with his wife after she cheated and I asked him if he ever thinks about what she did. He said yes. And it makes him wonder why, and what she was thinking, and if she’ll ever do it again. And I asked if he forgave her? He replied, “I’m not sure, I think she regrets it but at that time she felt like it was what she needed. Today, she recognizes that I am all she needs and we are in a better place. I guess I just accept that pain when it hits me. And I own it because it’s mine. I don’t own her because we got married. And if she was to cheat again or leave I would be hurt, but I do not fear that pain nor do I expect it.”
That was a lot to comprehend for me. The ego-driven jerk in most of us would want to fight the dude, leave her, hate her forever, or whatever comes with jealousy and anger. But acceptance adds a deeper aspect to what goes on. It allows you to take an extra flight up and view the situation from a point that isn’t Heavenly but is beyond the third closest planet to the sun.
More on this topic to come…