A Strange Mantra

There have been so many thoughts and feelings going through me lately. I am feeling buffeted by the recent violence, both domestic and abroad. I’m feeling a certain futility in allowing myself to follow any dreams lately.  The task seems almost herculean at this point. How much easier would it be to just give up and become numb like so many others? If it’s true that life is fleeting, and we are transient, then what’s the point? Why bother trying?

So last night, as I meditated, I felt that truth, the transience and frailty of human life, and I asked again, “Why bother trying? Why attempt to be happy? What right do I have to chase rainbows and to pursue dreams and to have ambition when there is so much suffering and unhappiness?” The answer I got back was “Why not?”.  If life is fragile and tenuous, only a brief moment on the scale of the universe, then what point is there in not trying to live a life of fulfillment? And I couldn’t answer the “why not”.

Unbidden, with a growing urgency, I started repeating internally “May I be strong. May I be grateful. If I must bend, may I bend without breaking.”  Over and over and over, until it transformed into simply “May I be enough”, and that continued repeating until I almost cried.

Then I got myself together and painted for a couple of hours, working on a portfolio piece that has been unfinished since 2007. I’m finishing it for an interview I have next week. And when I finished, I realized that I had been enough, at least for last night.

From now on, when I start to ask myself “why”, I’m going to start responding “why not”, and if I don’t have a really good response for that, then I’m just going to shut the negativity towards myself off.

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