It may seem a little odd for a blog that is basically about the flow of life and acceptance according to Zen and Tao. But recently, I have been noticing how I am increasingly embracing life exactly as it arises. And, an ever growing desire to experience being here in presence. A simple thing indeed. but so easily overlooked, that wanting to be in and a part of my own life.
Now that might not seem like much of an awareness but let me share a little history.
When I was a preteen my experience with alcohol started and I moved quickly to using other drugs. Being a professional rock musician didn’t help the issue. I was able to make a living and found that using drugs as a lifestyle was accepted by the culture I was living in at the time. I maintained that style of life for a few decades.
I finally became depressed and suicidal, especially when I realized that addiction had destroyed any hopes of having a career as a musician. Substance abusing uses up time. All the bridges were burned and since I was not “famous” there wasn’t going to be a comeback. I took the actions to give up my life three times in suicide attempts.
I was finally hospitalized a few times for depression and struggled for years. Antidepressants, various other mood altering drugs, and shock therapy, were tried with some success but not enough success to continue using them. There is always a trade-off and the downside wasn’t worth those treatments in my personal experience. They may be entirely effective for others.
One month I went down to Grandfather Mt in North Carolina, and climbed one of the peaks. (See the above photo it’s the place this tale originated from!) Sitting there looking at that vast horizon, and life from that singular view, there was a different feeling that I couldn’t remember having forever, probably the last time was as a child.
I wanted my life, I wanted to be living in my own life. I had the insight that unless I wanted to be in the process of living nothing else was ever going to matter.
A voice sang to me that day. It said, “This is it.”
There is not going to be another opportunity for me, as an aware being, to have this once in the universe experience called life. It’s what I refer to as a sacred experience, life is exactly that, sacred. I cried because something shifted and a very deep move to another perspective manifested itself. I believe that I finally realized that my life is a one time gift, and to use it, embrace it, and experience it as far as I am able.
I would love to tell a story about how my life changed and I became fulfilled and happy. But that would only be a story and there are enough stories out there. I continue to struggle sometimes with deep depression and melancholy, but never to the depths I had known in the past. I have an internal sense of freedom that I embrace. I experience things as they are, happy, sad, crazy making, and sometimes hilarious. I call experiencing life the “Bittersweet.”
Engaging my life fully as I can comes from being present in attention and the gratitude I have for the opportunity to do this, by this I mean experience all of this life right now. Not a life wanting the universe to be any different than it is, but being with everything that comes knowing that I am constantly saying hello and then goodbye to everything.
Thank you if you are reading this blog. It felt important to get this down.
Embracing life as it is,