Last night I read a chapter in a book about divorce called "Crazy Time - Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life" by Abigail Trafford. The chapter was about the first two years after the separation and how insane people get. I read it and part of me felt "Oh, yes! That's exactly it!"
Here is an excerpt: "This is Crazy Time. It starts when you separate and usually lasts about two years. It's a time when your emotions take on a life of their own and you swing back and forth between wild euphoria and violent anger, ambivalence and deep depression, extreme timidity and rash actions. You are not yourself. Who are you? At times you don't want to know. You think about going on a sex binge and fucking everything that moves. Or you lie very still in bed, your muscles tense, your breathing shallow, your imaginings as dark and lonely and the night.
There seems to be no end to this wild swinging back and forth. You can't believe how bad your life is, how terrible you feel, how overwhelming daily tasks become, how frightened you are about money, your health, your sanity. You can't believe that life is worse now than when you broke up. You thought you were at the end of your rope then."
I read the chapter and part of me felt relieved that this craziness I've been feeling is completely appropriate and another part of me can't stand that I, who have had so much support and help, is no better than anyone else going through this.
So after letting myself feel all the horrible feelings last night and this morning, when I could barely get out of bed to walk the dogs, I took out Pema Chodron this morning and I read about maitri, from "The Places that Scare You"...
Why do we meditate? This is a question we'd be wise to ask. Why would we even bother to spend time alone with ourselves?
First of all, it is helpful to understand that meditation is not just about feeling good. To think that is why we meditate is to set ourselves up for failure. We'll assume we are doing it wrong almost every time we sit down: even the most settled meditator experiences psychological and physical pain. Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is called maitri, or unconditional friendliness, a simple direct relationship with the way we are."
I met a lovely man at Friends In Deed who has become a good friend. He walks the dogs with me late at night and we hang out together. He went through his own painful losses this past year, so we share a language of grief and compassion. If there is maitri between people, we have it.
Someday I will look back at this time with great appreciation for the lessons I've learned. Right now, it's just hard.
And - I'm not in Haiti or the Congo. I've got a roof over my head and money in the bank. I'm not starving or afraid that someone is going to kill me. So I have to practice maitri and have compassion for myself and for the situation I am in today.
"I accept, I accept."