Let me say, because it is the truth to say it, that I am under a lot of stress. I can’t really explain why because it is not my story to tell. I can only say that someone I love and care about (not Brian) is suffering and I am having some sleepless nights over it.
The thing about stress is you can’t really escape it. You can’t hide from it because it lives inside of you. You can drink it away temporarily, many do. You can run for miles to try to dull the squeeze of it inside your chest (that is what I used to do). There are many ways to cope, I am sure, but this is not the place to form a list of them.
This time, I have tried to face the stress head on, to meet the discomfort, concern and the anxiety at the door, to fling the door wide open before stress even knocks. I am trying to do the brave thing, to ask the hard questions. But I am filled with doubt. Truthfully, I feel unequipped to help.
I am reading a lot about Buddhism, not because of this, but it comes at a good time. Impermanence is supposed to make me feel better. Impermanence means that nothing is forever, that this will one day be nothing, that everything and everyone I know will one day be nothing. I am trying to do the Buddha-thing: to let the hard times teach and shape me. But this is difficult and uncomfortable and I am not wholly convinced that I am succeeding in even the smallest way.
A few days ago Brian and I went to Acadia National Park for a mini-vacation.
There was no WIFI, no cell phone reception. I tried to put some distance between myself and the stress. I didn’t succeed, really, but I did find some peace in the beauty of the park and even in the mosquitos and their biting distraction.
Each night when the sky went pink and etherial, I would scramble onto the rocky shore of the Atlantic Ocean and ask for help. Please, I’d say, I don’t know what to do. Send me wisdom. Send me guidance. Send me strength.
And each morning when I woke up having slipped into the soft dawn of a new day, I would lie in my tent and stare up through the slotted branches of the trees. I would breathe my own warm breath into the cool dew of early morning. And I would wonder, in that unfolding hour of clarity, if I don’t already have all that I’ve been asking for.