Warming up and cooling down

From a literal perspective, we’re moving through a really short Indian Summer right now. It was warm today and will be warm tomorrow, but then we’ll be back to the cold again.

Figuratively, I’ve been moving through my own little weather front. Sometimes I’m so slow to figure what’s been going on inside my own head and heart. It’s almost maddening to realize something isn’t right, but not be able to explain to anyone else – much less myself – what’s happening. After all, I should know myself, right?

It came to a head last night, and that opened a door for me. I’ve been feeling increasingly uncomfortable in my own skin over the past week. Some of my discomfort may just be hormonal, but I’ve also been lonely, too.

I’ve written about my loneliness before.  It’s what leads me to feel jumpy and itchy and crazed. It has burrowed deep under my skin, and trying to avoid it has led me down many wrong paths:  like relationships with guys that went nowhere, and a marriage that ultimately failed. It led me to an increasingly disturbing relationship this summer that I finally found the courage to break off, yet still has lingering effects.

Last night I reached a peak of some sort. At first I thought of my restlessness as evidence I needed a goal or a plan of some sort, but just before I fell into a restless sleep I realized it was being lonely in a “hot” way. Then it all came together in my mind.

This morning I searched out and found my “Buddhist book“ (When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron). I haven’t opened this book in months. Once I passed through my crisis phase in the spring and I started dating someone, I set it aside. I shouldn’t have.

I need to practice the precepts of this book daily, just like an alcoholic must practice her 12 steps. Stuff happens and you have no control over it. Life is groundless. Life is lonely. All we can do is abandon hope, accept these fundamental truths and keep moving. On the surface this may sound like a negative approach, but it’s really not. Because what it leads to is compassion (for both yourself and others) and peace. When we stop trying to wrestle the universe into something it’s not, we find relief from our suffering.

This morning I paged the book open to the chapter called Six Kinds of Loneliness and I read. I’ve kept the book with me throughout the day and keep re-reading bits from this one chapter over and over.

So I guess I do now have a goal or a plan: to be more still and just sit in my cool loneliness.