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Where is the edge?

Where is the edge between joy and sorrow?

Life often looks and feels very concrete but it is not. In a moment -- a moment! -- concreteness can turn to the surreal. Whether it's as benign as a caustic insult or as unnerving as a critical medical diagnosis, things can be going along fine and then, suddenly, they aren't. Equally, an overwhelming feeling of doom or sadness may seem unassailable when something, unexpectedly, changes everything. A door opens. A light shines.

Take the first thought: You've been working hard, following the rules of good health, smart work, excellent role models, managing your life successfully, and it seems okay; everything is under control and then -- whoosh! Volcanic eruption. It is everything and anything. It's your car. It's your job. It's your marriage or your friend or your health. Doesn't matter. And it can be as big as a sudden death and as small as a stubbed toe. Everything is going along fine until it isn't. What's good suddenly turns bad.

Or take the second: No matter what you've been trying, nothing is working. You are laid off. You friend betrays you. A tree falls on your car. A mosquito bite turns into an infection. Sometimes it's a slow burn that bursts into a full-blown conflagration. Or it's the slow burn that just smolders. Whatever it is, it keeps getting worse; one thing on top of another; you're sinking lower and lower -- and then, angels!! A word, a song, a message, a helping hand appears and you know things are beginning to turn. What's bad suddenly turns good.

So, where is the edge? The edge is not close or far away. It's not something you are approaching or getting to. The edge is always right where you are.

This is neither good nor bad. It just is.

What's important to grasp here are two thoughts.

  1. We tend to believe that things are as they are now. We think now is always. So when things are good, we think they'll stay that way. Same for when things are bad -- we think they'll stay that way. Neither one of these things are ever true.

  2. Whenever you despair (or get too big for your britches), go back to #1.

Have a wonderful week of compassion for yourself and for others, and for appreciating happiness as it happens.

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