Our on-demand lives
Life is so on-demand. Everything we want is instantly at our fingertips. When we have a question, we Google it. When we want to shop, we go online and order it. Whatever it is, it’s usually a few clicks and Prime shipping days away from being in our hands. We can even get our food delivered prepared and ready to eat in a matter of minutes. Instant gratification. Now. Now. Now.
Most things we desire are waiting for us to consume… or are just a click away. Most things…stuff. Possessions. Items. New stuff. Fancy stuff. Plastic stuff. Factory stuff.
In this world of instant gratification, those of us on a spiritual journey must ask, “is there more to life than stuff? Can peace and happiness really come from buying stuff?”
Is everything instant? Can we get love on demand? Well, that depends on who you ask… but can we order up lifetime companionship or meaningful friendships? Can we order peace of mind with a side of joy? Have we lost a connection to what really matters and are we trying to fill that void with stuff?
For me, this on-demand life started to get to me and I lost my way a bit. I began to put extreme unrealistic expectations on myself. I planned and micromanaged all aspects of my life, trying to emulate other people’s highlight reel of success on social media. I demanded too much of myself and wanted instant results. I would push and push and push. And worry and worry and worry. I often beat myself up and took no time to celebrate the victories along the way. I just wanted more and I wanted it now.
When my mom got diagnosed with lung and liver cancer in September 2015, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride but had no idea what was to come. I had no idea how much resistance I actually had.
After her death in May this year, a dam of resistance that I built up blew apart. Slowly, over the course of her illness, the water seeped through the cracks as I watched her wither. The pressure became too much after her death and KAPOW—I found myself broken wide open… exposed. Shattered. Then only a few months later, I started telling myself the story that “I shouldn’t be feeling this” and “I should be over this by now.”
I made no space for the confusion I was feeling and resisted everything. I was in the midst of the most intense healing crisis of my life.
In our spiritual work, we must let feelings come, witness with non-attachment, let it be and let it pass. We don’t dwell; we take the time to feel and move on.
But for some reason, I wouldn’t allow it all to be there. I didn’t want it to be messy. I wanted it to be contained, neat and predictable. I also wanted it to be on a timeline—my timeline. I wanted grief to end instantly. Check a box; done with that. Next. I didn’t want to take the time to feel. I didn’t want to be uncomfortable anymore. I didn’t want to be raw or fall apart. And that took me even deeper into the darkness of suffering and pain.
The crack of light came through one day when I realized that there had to be space for it all. Space for all of how I was feeling. Not just some; all.
It’s OK to have bad days—it’s ok to be messy
I have to constantly remind myself that there is no right or wrong with grief or spiritual work. It takes time. Surrendering my timeline relieved that pressure I put on myself. Surrendering to what was—in each uncomfortable moment—also softened me.
I had to let myself have bad days. I had to let it be okay that I felt so much, so deeply. I had to feel whatever was there; whatever was up and ready to move out. When I started to notice that I was resisting what I felt or judging it as “bad,” I was then able to soften around that and accept it. This acceptance let me feel. Feeling let it pass.
Feeling the intensity of these emotions let the gaping hole in my heart fill with compassion, forgiveness and understanding.
I’ve always been amazed that I can turn my darkness, my pain and suffering into light, ease and joy. We all can do this, by understanding that there are lessons and opportunities in even the darkest of times and toughest of situations.
The death of my mom cracked open those empty spaces where I stuffed down the darkest of it all. It exposed to the light the shit that I knew was there, but couldn’t give my attention to yet. I had to spend thousands of hours on this spiritual journey, unraveling layer after layer before I got down to the biggest demon of them all. It wasn’t ready to move out until now. I wasn’t strong enough until now. And it wasn’t until I was at my weakest that I found out that I was the strongest.
I watched my mom die on an inhale and worked through the subsequent terror. I spent months working with fear of dying, fear of losing control and fear of going crazy. I was a witness to it all. And now… I understand peace, I understand safety and I understand life in a way I never had before.
As I’ve healed, I’ve come to understand that things of meaning—truly important things in life—aren’t available instantly. And the things worth having are worth working for.
As always, I’m grateful for the awareness of the demons that were buried. It’s important to note that they were always there. I could feel them, but they were quieter then. Now they’re awake, pretty pissed off and ready to be released. They are old. They no longer serve me. And they have my attention. They’ve got compassionate attention from me, without expectations of time, right or wrong or now, now, now now.
Healing the soul is not an on-demand thing. Cyndi Roberts
Experiences in life come to teach us. They come to open us up to our higher good and heal us once and for all.
Witnessing resistance to what is and allowing it all to be there is part of the path. Even though you won’t see a commercial for it, can’t buy it on Amazon, or don’t see it on the news, doesn’t mean it isn’t of value. What’s truly important grows with compassion, time and care. We’re doing just fine. We will get through. Everything is already alright, even though we may feel like the dawn will never come. It will.