March 23, 2010

An Ounce and a Ton

I’ve been carrying around a very heavy weight for sometime now. October 8th to be exact. Yes, that is the day my second daughter, Skyelar, was born, and while it should have been a day that brought nothing but happiness, I can also remember it as the day I was first forced to pick up this heavy load. That was the day I sent out our first job application, and since that I day I have been saddled by the weight of an anxiety and stress that has crippled my creativity, tainted all my days, and made me spend an unhealthy amount of my energy on a future I was helpless to control.

It is easy to speak about non-attachment and middle road Zen philosophies. It is easy to say you believe that it will all work out. It is easy for people, friends, and family to tell you not to worry, but the problem with worry is that it burrows into your very fiber. Like a tumor it grows and infests all the joy in your life. Worry, anxiety, stress, and angst increase in weight and size to the point where it is nearly impossible to carry anything else. Add to your pack rejection and denial, and you are left unable to move. That is where I have been since October. A motionless heavy statue.

The most difficult part about jettisoning oneself of this dead weight is that the harder you try not to worry and take it easy, the heavier the fear becomes. When you are single and alone, uncertainty can often be confused with adventure, but at thirty-six, married with two kids, insecurity is a very different creature. Suddenly the loss of the possessions you so casually denounce, becomes a tornado of emotions you never thought you would deal with.

The difficult part of watching everything hang in limbo is that you realize that your life is not just a set of randomly made decisions, but a carefully crafted plan. Suddenly, you have no control over the plan. You are powerless. This powerlessness makes the plan that you had crafted moot. If one cannot move a plan forward it dies.

But enough talk of weight. Let us now speak of freedom. Buoyancy. Flight. Once the doubt is gone, once we regain acceptance and validation, the darkness fades and we can breathe. I literally felt the blood begin to flow again through my veins, and my creativity awaken. Everything in life, suddenly feels right and easy to manage. The doubt seems an immature neurosis. A sophomoric paranoia.

I am not sure where I am headed now, or how I will get there, but I do know that an ounce of security is enough to balance out a ton of doubt. As I shed more and more of the weight, I am rising higher and higher. The view from up here is phenomenal. The question now is will I remember how to get back up here, if I am faced with intolerant ambiguity again?

We never remember what it feels like to be healthy when we are sick. We never stop to appreciate the perfect flow of life as it moves through our memories. We only seem to notice life when it is dammed or flooded.

I am here to say that as I fly over the river that is my life, I am once again aware of its perfect curves and contours. I am once again appreciative of its simple perfection and grace. All I can do at this point is hope that, if I should face other obstacles, I will remember this moment. Perhaps, I can save this post as a reminder. It can mirror the advice I was given, but refused to believe or heed:

You must have faith in the universe and trust that good things happen to good people. You must believe that no matter what happens it is the right thing and the need to control life is the one thing that causes us to suffer most. Funny how these simple tenets sting so much when we are powerless, but feel so simple when we have found the path again.

The night is soft. The music is cool. My two girls and wife are asleep, and the words are flowing again. Let’s see where they will take us…But really our suffering is all relative. Isn't it?


  1. Anonymous12:52 AM

    When you are single and alone, uncertainty can often be confused with adventure, but at thirty-six, married with two kids, insecurity is a very different creature

    best, ari.

  2. I am tickled you have found a job and have the weight off of your shoulders. To be honest, if I were in your position I would be just as stressed out about having the change. I don't do change well. However, I don't have faith in the universe. I do have faith in God which gives me peace.

    Can't wait to learn from you at your new school.

  3. Love your writing and would like to follow your blog, but can't see the gadget. Next best would be subscribe in Google Reader but for some reason all attempts fail. Do I hafta do it by getting extra emails in my inbox? I will if I must, but first I humbly request you install the Followers gadget.