Is That All There Is?

Supposedly I’m on the doorstep of a spiritual awakening, which comes as the result of working a spiritual program, but I don’t want to get my hopes up, and I’m beginning to lose hope in what a spiritual awakening really is. The reality is that I imploded my life only to find that Santa Claus does not exist, and every day my frustration reaches deeper levels, to the point of my wondering if I should check myself into a mental hospital, seek medication, or just… I don’t even know. Suicide and drinking are no longer options, whereas over five years ago they were my only options, from my point of view at that time.

How is this all there is? How is THIS it? How? Clearly I have to stay where I am for now, and this place sucks. I don’t know where to go from here. Most days I’m tired. Motivation escapes me, even for that which I know will make me feel better, like exercise, therapy, yoga.

One of my co-workers, an older woman in her fifties, comes to work every day with a cheerful attitude, and although I don’t work closely with her, she always says hello, addressing me by name, which makes me feel special. I often wonder why she works in a grocery store, and how she can be happy. She’s intelligent, and a foodie, with knowledge about different cheeses and how they pair with dried fruits, jams, meats, and wines. My experiment with pairing with wines failed miserably, and I don’t need to know more, but this woman inspires me with her positive attitude. Presumably she’s poor and unmarried, and at her age she’s certain to have experienced loss, yet she remembers my name and finds time to say hello and ask co-workers about their lives. I aspire to be like her, and I realize that maybe that’s all there is to it. Just be nice to others, don’t try to ruin their day just because I’m unhappy, and when possible do what I can to put a smile on someone else’s face.

I’ve been working on my sobriety long enough to know that helping others necessitates sobriety and serenity. When my sponsee calls me crying I’m grateful to listen. Yet my ego still whispers, Is that all there is? What about me? Where’s my Nobel Prize? When do I find love, a rewarding–or at least tolerable–career, and a place that feels like home? Why does it seem everyone else has at least one of these things but not me? If it’s possible for others, why not me? Am I incapable of love?

How many prayers do I need to pray, how many Buddhist dharma talks do I need to hear, how many tears to cry, how many husbands to marry, how many people to help, how many self-help books to read, how many amends to make before I find peace and love and serenity?

If it’s because I’m resentful at my father and haven’t made amends yet, then fly me to Georgia tonight. Maybe it’s because I don’t meditate enough. As much as I connect with Buddhism, I just don’t see how sitting still and paying attention to my racing, judgmental, crazy mind will help me, and I’ve tried it before.

If helping others is the solution, then why am I not a better person after getting help from others? Lucky, yes. Grateful, yes. But happier, more content, or more peaceful? No. I am still me, and in some ways I feel more self-centered and more selfish after getting help from others because I feel like a taker. I “help” others to help me; my help isn’t really helping them so much as it’s helping me.

I want to believe that life gets better, that I’ll be in a better place six months or a year from now, but I don’t really know that. The thing is, life could get much worse. One of my loved ones could die, I could become homeless, I could lose my job, and my dog actually will die at some point in the next few months or so. I want to believe that everything I left was all for something, and that I’ll have a better house, better husband, more money, a better career after all of these spiritual growing pains are finished beating me down, but I don’t really know that. It’s possible I’ll live in a trailer with no husband and a grocery store job for the rest of my life, and maybe that won’t be so bad, because it’s not about all these external things, which clearly didn’t make me happy before.

The problem is I am the one who stands in my own way. Of course I can do whatever I want to do but what am I willing to do?

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