“Do not look around thee to discover other men’s ruling principles, but look straight to this, to what nature leads thee, both the universal nature through the things which happen to thee, and thy own nature through the acts which must be done by thee.” – Marcus Aurelius
I was supposed to work on the book the other day. Instead I went to the beach with the dogs. The sky was overcast, and I wore my boyfriend’s hoodie and my black leggings and tried to remind myself to be present in each moment, to not feel the heavy burden I’d placed upon my chest, to let the guilt of not writing wash away. After the beach, I fed the dogs burger patties in the back of my car and put vodka in my smoothie from Jamba Juice and dyed my hair. I didn’t write at all.
That may seem silly, to be worried about taking a day off, but I’m still learning to love myself despite how much I accomplish on a given day. The love inside of me right now couldn’t inflate a small balloon. I also know not everyone is able to just take the day off and go to the beach. I’m privileged in that regard and grateful for the opportunity.
I’ve had a few bad days lately. Most of the times I feel like I’m on an upward trajectory in my recovery but I know that I’m missing pieces of important understanding. Core fundamental concepts that I have yet to grasp. I can’t force gnosis. All I can do is continue to think, and read, and find flaws in my understanding of myself and other human beings, and be ever vigilant in how my thoughts and actions affect other people.
Someone who’d known me for a long time said that I’d changed a lot, that I was a nicer person. It seems simple to me. I don’t want the circumference of my being to hurt people unnecessarily anymore. I don’t call people names or throw things anymore, because those actions are only designed to cause pain. That wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be, so I stopped. It was simple.
It gets more complicated when I’m stuck in the throes of flashbacks and pain, feeling like a child who only wants love, while ignoring the havoc that can wreck. A lot of bad people just want love too. It’s easy to forget that intent doesn’t translate into good action.
Well, some improvement at least. It used to take me weeks to recover. Now, it’s usually only a few days. I used to sob and cry in complete and utter despair for days at a time, lost in a solipsistic hellhole that I didn’t have the will or strength to crawl out of. Now I try to pull myself together. I try to find the source of my loneliness and annihilate it. I have felt so weak for so long, but there are threads inside of me knitting together, building something stronger piece by piece. I just hope it’s enough.
Strength is purposeful action. It’s built in small moments: In watching a movie by yourself and drinking a beer, taking the dogs to the beach, getting a coffee, writing a short story. And those small moments create big ones: determining what’s important to you, and finding your own happiness. Sometimes that means prioritizing enjoying life instead of writing a book, or taking some time off to take care of yourself.
I read Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations” at the dog park the other day, which is where the quote at the beginning of this post came from. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to strengthen their understanding of their own purpose and life. It reminded me that life is short, that all I have is the present moment, and that we must cut through all the bullshit and do only what is necessary for our purpose. That all people are built for each other, and reason must guide us above everything else.Related posts
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