In the past several years, every other odd month, a reader will email with a question: “Are you always so cheerful? Are you always happy?”
I will have to painstakingly explain that No, I am not a Pollyanna, although my personality is prone to optimism.
OK, sometimes it’s prone to gushing, over-enthusiasm and downright joy. And giggles. Lots of giggles.
Something about this Life amuses the heck out of me. While many look at the ominous black clouds approaching on the horizon I’m sure the sun shines all the time behind those clouds. (Some of us are born that way. Don’t ask why.)
Others of us are born with a more pessimistic outlook. (Yes, yes, you pessimists call it realism. We optimists roll our eyes.)
Before the Universe allows people to marry it demands that one partner be more optimistic and the other more pessimistic. That’s the true definition of realism. We balance each other out. One of us bitches about, say, the weather and the other sings musicals. What can I say?
The nitty-gritty truth of the matter is that–are you ready for this?–we optimists also bitch. We bitch mightily. We sneer, we sniff, we decry, we judge, we get in pissing matches. Even though we ADORE sunny skies, we’re really humans just like the pessimists. Our personality’s go-to mode is simply different.
We don’t always think that the garbage men are the “friendliest people in the Universe”. We don’t always think sales people rock. We don’t always like the guy who gives us the finger when he spins off in a road rage.
Want some more examples, do you?
We do not always like when thoughts start writing this blog in the middle of the night when we’re trying to sleep. Oh, no, no, no. We do NOT like this, the eternal blogging voice when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.
We do not always like mean people who scoff at our precious ideas. We do not always like war and hunger and stupid humans doing stupid things. We think certain political parties should be banned from the earth. We don’t always like tornadoes and hurricanes and forest fires and earthquakes, either. We do not like the way death pulls away our loved ones from our arms.
We could bitch from the middle of the night until tomorrow, we could. We could tell you all that’s wrong with the world and our eternal struggle to make it right. We could be the opposite of Pollyanna. We could be angry bitter souls decrying a rotting world that seemingly attacks and destroys us.
(Wow, Kathy, did you actually type those last paragraphs?)
You know what I think is beyond optimism and pessimism? Beyond broadly smiling and bitching at the world’s antics?
Learning to witness and allow what is. Learning to face whatever the Universe offers us and allow it to exist.
So much of our suffering–well, I’ll make it personal–my suffering–occurs when I resist what is arising. Let’s say I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep because of that darn internal blogger inappropriately ready to blog.
The resistance starts as inner bitching. I want to sleep. I do not want to think. Then the body tightens and emotions rise. Frustration, sadness, anger, despair. Please let me sleep, I hate this, please let me sleep! Perhaps you try to stop thinking. That doesn’t work. Your feelings knot and swirl. It can truly be a bloody inner war.
Yet there is another option. Allowing what is to be. Allowing that the Universe (substitute God or Great Spirit or Allah if you please) is allowing this next moment to arise. We don’t have to like the next moment. We don’t even have to be in agreement with it. (In fact, we often aren’t.) We simply surrender to the rising moment.
From that surrender, from the lack of inner division, the perfect response so much more often arises. We know what to do. We’re relaxed. We’re not perpetuating war. We’re not lost in a sea of endless bitching. We flow on Life’s currents navigating our canoe.
All because we accepted what arose. We accepted the weather, the road rage fellow with the finger, the devastation, the garbage, the loss of job, the death of a loved one, the middle-of-the-night disruption.
Is it easy? Is it as simple as I’ve described? Heck no. It often takes a lifetime of surrendering, surrendering, surrendering to the next rising moment that often doesn’t look anything like we want.
It isn’t a blind turning toward optimism or away from pessimism. It’s a deep looking at what arises. And a deep love that allows the next imperfect/perfect moment to arise.
What’s the value of bitching? It points us to where we must look deeper. Where we’re resisting the flow of life. Where we’re creating internal war. We think that the bitching is solving something, but the energy release caused by bitching is very temporary.
I’ve done lots of bitching in this lifetime. Haven’t we all? But this lesson of moving beyond bitching to see my own resistances has been the biggest teaching of all.
(There, you middle of the night thoughts! Are you satisfied? Will you shut up? Did I write down everything you dictated? Jeeez….can we get some sleep now?)
What are your thoughts about bitching? Are you a pessimist or optimist? How do you come to inner peace?