2008: A Look at a Year of Suffering-and-Healing

At the end of 2007, I was stoked about 2008. Gleefully, I said: “2008 is going to be my year!” I had many exciting plans for 2008, and in a short time I had set them in motion.

As it turned out, 2008 was the most challenging year of my life. I won’t get into the reasons why. As a result of 2008, though, I’m bringing in the New Year with no one to kiss at midnight.

At the beginning of 2008, I was in a very good place—and a very bad one at the same time. I was very confident and optimistic about the plans I had made. Things were going well, and I felt like I was on top of the world. This is the bad part: From my lofty (mental/emotional) position, I felt that I could look down on the rest of the world, separate from its ills, pains, and tragedies. I almost felt superhuman.

My intentions were good, but my thinking was foolish. I didn’t yet understand that there is no insulation from the ups and downs of life as long as we are still in it. Life will continue to throw us curveballs and present challenges, even though we have overcome many of our problems and solved some of the riddles of Life.

As they say, pride cometh before the fall. This is because the Universe loves us.

Because of the events that happened in my life in 2008, many of my wrong ideas about life and my part in it were destroyed. That’s not a bad thing, but it hurts. If we aren’t able to let go of the hurt—if we cling to the wrong ideas we had cherished for so long—we stay in the pain and our life begins (or continues) a downward spiral toward depression, ill health, and early death.

This is the “normal” way of human functioning, unfortunately.

I was determined not to follow this downward spiral that I recognized in so many people, so I learned. I studied. I got introspective and dug into myself. And I suffered, consciously and willingly. 2008 has made me an expert (if there is such a thing) on pain, suffering, and healing. My recent writings are evidence of my search for understanding and relief. I’ve made a lot of progress.

I’d be proud of myself, if I hadn’t become so humble from the experience.

In 2007, I thought I had killed my ego. As it turns out, I had killed only a significant part of it, and another part rose up in its place. 2008 was the year I killed that part.

So, I suppose 2008 really was my year, in a way. I didn’t accomplish a lot of the plans I had made, but Life knows better than I do. It didn’t want me to go out into the world, prematurely, with a half-baked idea of what life is all about. It wanted me to endure a bit more, to share in certain sufferings that I had never shared before, so that I had a better understanding of other people’s pain—and greater Love, compassion, faith, strength, humility, and patience because of it.

Life wanted me to lose so that I could gain from my loss. I think it also wanted to prepare me for more challenges to come. More importantly, I think it wanted me to see that it’s not all about me. It’s about me, and you, and him, and her, and us, and them—the Whole Ball of Wax.

An important lesson, with a heavy price.

(written in 2008)

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