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Wriggling on the Pin

I don't know what I even want to say today, except Ouch, and Thank You.

There's a phrase I use to describe the feeling of being deep into the work I have to do, the unavoidability of discomfort: wriggling on the pin. Stuck-ness. It's reminiscent of late pregnancy, or labor, when you know the only way forward is forward, and you're the only one who can do it.

It sucks sometimes. It just sucks. But it's good work, and I'm grateful for it. In the quiet moments I feel overwhelming peace and have a clear sense that I am on the right path, MY path, and I'm grateful for it. But it's hard, damn hard.

It sucks when I've cried myself to sleep out of anger and frustration and loneliness that feels like a relief, like a dam breaking, because I've been holding it together so well for weeks and weeks and weeks on end, but I'm grateful for the release.

It sucks when someone says something insensitive and dismissive of how hard this work is. "First World Problems" "You're overthinking" (as if I could be something or do something differently), but I'm grateful for friends to listen.

But I'll say this: the work I do, the way I do it? My overthinking and analysis? It's VASTLY harder than the alternates, which are either 1) numbing the pain in order not to feel it and hope that it works out better next time, 2) blaming everyone else for how I got here, or 3) blaming myself and giving up all hope of personal change, saying "it's just who I am."

The beginning of change is a commitment to reality, and seeing truth, and that takes examination.

It sucks when I have, for the millionth time in one day, picked up and set down anger, fear, frustration, regret, or self-judgement, and NOT grasped on to something sweet to fill the space. Because that's what people do in this culture: they eat or shop or drink or drug or date to have something to fill that lonely place. I've pretty much summed up all the coping mechanisms of the world right there, looking for something outside of yourself to fix what's difficult inside.

As my brilliant father-in-law said, "Remember not to seek the Dharma anywhere outside yourself."

Don't get me wrong, I've done my fair share of coping and avoidance, but, blessedly, I've gotten to the point in this life, my life, where I want to not do that anymore. I don't want to keep doing the same stuff and hope that it works out.

Because hope is not a strategy

I'm grateful for the wisdom to understand there are no get out of jail free cards for this. The only way through the growth is breaking open from the inside and shedding the old skin, and that stuff hurts, and it takes time.

So I'm working it. On my own.

It's like running an emotional ultramarathon trail race that I don't know the length of, through a country I don't know. I don't know where and when the finish line will come, but I have to be grateful for the race, feet and legs to run it, and enough supplies along the way.

(I have the feeling that the end won't come, ironically, until I'm finally acclimated to the race).

I was lying on the table at my body worker's the other day, and I told him I was feeling angry and he said, "Why are you angry?" and I said, "Actually, I'm not angry, I'm uncomfortable, and I'd rather be doing something comfortable, but I know what I'm doing is going to pay off, I just don't know when."

Do you want to live a life that is full, and rich, and deep with meaning, even if being that way causes you pain? I do. Some days, I think how nice it would be to just go for the numbness, to cast about for something sweet and entertaining to distract me from the hard work, but I just can't embrace it.

I understand it, but I just can't do it.

So I have to work with what I have. And wriggle on the pin for a bit more.