That’s Bert at left, relapsing.
Bert and Steve are talking. Bert speaks first.)
I really don’t want to write today.
I didn’t want to last Wednesday, either. So I skipped it.
I feel bad about that.
But I just can’t get myself to write. What’s going on?
You’re a little depressed.
Am I? Why?
You’re in relapse.
Into control addiction, you mean.
How can you tell?
Well, look how tired you are.
Not just tired. Weary. Discouraged.
Why, do you think?
I thought it was because I’m working hard.
No. Hard work makes you tired. But discouragement comes from trying to do the impossible.
Control reality, you mean.
Well, it wouldn’t be the first time.
So remind me. How do I get out of this. What are the steps?
Step one, shift your focus.
From outside to inside, you mean.
That’s right. Detach from external stuff and focus on internal stuff, like what you’re feeling and thinking. Start paying careful attention to yourself.
Because it’s a lot harder to change external stuff than how you react to it.
Got it. Next?
Step two: Notice how much comparing you’re doing.
The reality you want versus the reality you’ve got.
Well, that’s a long list. Last time I noticed, though, you were most unhappy with (1) your current income, (2) your current weight, (3) the number of people who’ve subscribed to your blog, (4) the hot weather, (5) the managed care system, (6) the current Speaker of the House…
Don’t go there.
Okay. But you get my point.
I do. I compare constantly. Remind me why that’s a problem.
Because every comparison points to a reality you’re fighting. And every reality you fight saps your energy. Every bit of resistance — even if it’s tiny, and even if it plays out only in your mind — wears you down a little more.
Resist too many realities at once, you get exhausted. Stay exhausted long enough, you get depressed.
I remember now. Next step?
Step three: Select one of those fights, and surrender.
Pick one of the realities you’re fighting and decide not to fight it anymore. Instead, accept it. Or detach from it. Or ignore it. Doesn’t matter how you describe it, just stop wanting to change this particular thing. Stop giving it energy and attention. Just let it be. For now.
No, do it now. I want to listen.
For now, I accept my lousy income. It’s inadequate, but hey, we’re in a recession. At least my head’s still above water. I’m grateful for that. And my plans for the blog should bring me more money over time. So for now, I accept it.
Well done. Pick another.
For now, I accept my weight. I know I’ll start losing again when I go back to walking every day. But it’s August, and it’s hot, and I’m tired. So to hell with my weight. For now.
Good. How do you feel?
Better. Lighter. A bit less tired.
Good. Pick one more.
Okay. He can remain Speaker. For now.
* * *
We are all like young children who have a bad case of scabies. And we’re old enough to scratch them, but not old enough to know that when you scratch it, it spreads, and it gets worse. This is an analogy for what we all do. We have discomfort — the itch… and then we scratch it. And what happens? We get very temporary symptom relief. And it spreads, and pretty soon we’re scratching all over our whole body… and we’re really suffering.
Click here for the rest of Pema Chodron’s Getting Unstuck, Part 1: Stop Scratching
* * *
I’m ashamed that I’ve tried to be higher than the rest
Brother I am not alone
We’ve all tried to be on top of the world somehow
Cause we have all been losers.
Click here for the rest of Losers by The Belle Brigade. (No idea why they’re in a bathtub. An acoustics thing, maybe.)