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The Origin of Motion

“What would you be doing if you weren’t eating,” she asks.
“Crying,” and I begin to sob, burying my face in a tissue between my palms.
I’m 25, sitting on my therapist’s office sofa, occasionally hearing a streetcar clang past on Market Street.
I’ve just told her that throughout the new self-exploration writing I’d been
doing as part of an effort to heal, I’d been eating. A lot.
This story occurs to me tonight, as Pema Chodron’s When
Things Fall Apart
lays open in front of me,
and I spoon melting heaps of an ice cream-and-brownie sundae into my mouth.
I’ve been crying a lot this week. It began before my brother
came out to visit, began in the form of anger. Which I think is good. It isn’t just anger at
my getting cancer, or at the jobs I’ve taken that make me feel small, or at the
drug- and alcohol-addled past that caused me to find myself in tragic
situations and that much further behind on achieving rites-of-young-adult-passage. It isn’t just anger that my mom was chronically depressed, or that
my dad was alternately rageful and neglectful, or that I thenceforth find myself unable to maintain an intimate relationship, or a truthful and esteemable vision of myself.
It is anger at all of it. Anger at what feels like
injustice, cruelty, and callousness. Anger at what feels like abandonment, and
misuse, and a vicious turn of the wheel of fate to the left instead of the
right.
Anger that smothers the entirety of my internal landscape like
a permanent solar eclipse.
I discovered this anger as I contemplated all this “Let it
in” mentality everyone’s been telling me lately. I watched in meditation as I
screamed myself hoarse against this insistent “Let it in” mantra that’s being shoved
at me from all angles, feeling closed in by it, pressured by it, suffocated by
this hippie, Buddhist, Berkeley bullshit. “Let it in.” Ha. No.Fucking.Way.
Don’t you know how __(insert: angry, hurt, abandoned, untrusting)__ I am??
Don’t you know how __(insert: hurtful, cruel,
apocalyptically vicious)__ You/Life/G-d/Love has been??
Let it in, my ass.
I was amazed at the vehemence of my refusal. My defenses. And it made a
boatload of sense to me why I’ve pushed back so hard against all the “Love is
the answer” teachings, even as I’ve purported them myself. I cannot let it in. There’s no room for Love — there’s already a bus in the
station, and it’s called resentment, hurt, rage; deep, calcified rage.
So, I actually have a different task in front of me: before
“letting it in,” I need to let it go.
I need to sit with letting it go, and not try to make it different or better. I have come to believe that my ideas don’t work. That my story is old, and tired, and false. I have come to believe that there might be better ideas, if I can sit in the discomfort of waiting for them to coalesce. 
And so, this week, that looks like crying, a bowlful of ice
cream, and an understanding that experiencing the grief (what’s left when rage
subsides) as I am, is a good thing. It’s there. It’s always been there. And
it’ll be there until I let myself feel it. And release it.
I’ve said it before, and I will again: I have always been
afraid that if I allow myself to experience emotions like these, like these power chords of sadness or anger, that they would overwhelm me. That they would
never stop. That these emotions would be like a tidal wave, and simply drown me,
and I would never recover.
A friend told me, around the same time as my above therapy
experience, that the wells of grief and anger are finite. That eventually, they
will tap out. That there is only one infinite and true well, and that well is
of G-d. So, let myself start, even if I’m scared; let myself put my rage and my
grief on paper, or soaked into another box of tissues. It will end, and I haven’t drowned yet.
And so, I start again, at a deeper layer, I believe,
experiencing these emotions all over again.
The only way through is through. And if I ever want to get
to the “Let it in” stage, which (despite my vehement eye-rolling and gut-tensing resistance, defiance, and avoidance) I really do want, then I have to
begin to let it go. To let go. 

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2 thoughts on “The Origin of Motion

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