“There’s no cure for hot and cold.” -Trungpa Rinpoche
I’m someone who gets seriously twitchy when I hear people talk about how they have 564 unread emails in their inbox or a sink full of three-day old dishes. I feel the need to take care of these trivial things the second that they come up, and having them waiting in the wings—unattended—leaves me entirely too anxious.
Although this OCD urge can be annoying, it makes me feel better knowing it’s taken care of “just in case” something else should come up. I feel it’s one way I can (kind of ) control the unpredictable nature of things.
For the most part, these behaviors are harmless. But what about the things that I—or you—do that sometimes create the uncomfortable things that we try to escape?
Anything done to excess becomes a way to numb out discomfort. While for some it might be drinking, shopping, etc., it’s no secret that for me those behaviors are exercise, routine and isolation.
When I get uncomfortable with something, my instinct isn’t to sit back and evaluate why I want to escape, but rather to simply escape. Quickly. I associate these routines with relief, but the problem is it’s never enough. Once that high is gone, I’m dissatisfied again and it becomes harder to sit with the most fleeting feelings of discomfort.
In other words, it’s a temporary fix for a permanent predicament—that everything’s always in flux.
And although we all come from different situations with varying levels of stress and responsibility, what we struggle against in our lives can be acknowledged as ordinary experience. People and situations are unpredictable and so is everything else.
Everybody feels the pain of not getting what they want or getting what they don’t want, and most of the time it’s not because we suck and just can’t get things right. It’s life, and we’re not the only ones who can’t keep it all together. It’s just that certain people have adopted flexibility instead of frustration.
It might not seem like it through some of my rants, but I’m getting better at this.
While I walk a very fine line between letting go of attachment and complete depressive disinterest, I’ve found that releasing myself from attachment to certain things has actually been freeing.
I don’t need much to be content, and when I take myself or others too seriously—and justify being annoyed with everything to the point that it makes me unhappy—it limits me to a narrow world of likes and dislikes and boredom. And trust me, I’ve lived there too long.
Changing behaviors that have become instinctual and comfortable — even addictive — feels completely counterintuitive to contentment. I still have those things that I do to stay “safe” and escape and I still lose my shit when my routine gets thrown out of whack.
But another version of reality will always come up and when my ideas about who I am and who others are is fixed and cemented, it keeps me from accepting this change. It creates the frustration I try to escape and the cycle of self-abuse continues.
So no, and there’s no cure for hot and cold.
But we can sit with things a bit instead of rushing to change them. We can accept flexibility instead of frustration. We can be open to what each day bring—unless that day brings a sink full of three-day old dishes.
You can bet that those suckers are clean.
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