I am not a buddhist, although I first stumbled across ‘The Power of Now’ when I was 13 and it must have left an impression because I’ve never forgotten that moment since. I remember finally understanding how the monks in the world war were able to set themselves alight all the while sitting still in meditation and unfortunately I used some of the principles to focus on self-harm without flinching (that’s just where I was at back then). As some of you might know, I’m religious but when there is wisdom to be found, there is wisdom to be found, and I’m all about that wisdom! (is it overkill yet?)
For me, I feel like the buddhist ideologies hold a lot of what I really need and am lacking in my life. I have come to develop a certain ‘life/world view’ during my time in recovery and it is serving me well, helping me to remember what my principles are, what life is really about, and reminding me to go the right way. Make the right decisions.
One of the ways it has influenced me is; I see the world as a classroom. All of my lessons in recovery, are lessons in life. Unravelling patterns, old behavioural urges, thought processes, habits, impulses and reactions and choosing to do something new, has taught me this:
The same situations, or some variation of them, will play out again and again, until we learn to face them and see them for what they really are: lessons. There is something here and it needs your attention.
And until you man/woman up and do this, it will keep hurting, and keep hurting, and you will find the same scenes playing and playing. For me, thankfully, I’ve broken a lot of the shackles of BPD, learnt a lot of lessons, but the biggest theme in my life is still there and from the sound of things it’s because it’s one of the most powerful forces of all: attachment.
I have spent so much of my life, seeking outward, hoping for a person to fix it all. I have fessed up about it on this site so much. It’s an unhealthy obsession, unhealthy only in the way I let it get in the way of my own life. I sabotage myself, in trying to get what I want, thinking it’s what I need, it’s not what I need, it’s a drive, and it’s lieing to me. I have worked so hard for almost 20 months now in getting better and becoming better, in learning to live life well, be the best person I can be, and I have truly caught up to the world in so many ways.
Yet, here I have spent a week distracting myself from why someone I haven’t even met yet (because he forgot about our date – there’s always a first for everything hey, apparently an emergency, did apologise) hasn’t contacted me but can watch my whatsapp statuses. Do I message? Don’t I message? Do I wait, don’t I wait? Do I say hi / bye? I’ve been trying not to obsess but did obsess enough to seek out online articles about ‘why hasn’t he called?’ I don’t need an article (no offence article writers I still need you in my desperate times) I know why he hasn’t called. He doesn’t care. Here I am caring. Here I am getting attached to the illusion of being attached and fulfilled. Am I really placing that much importance on another person? Am I really giving someone who isn’t even talking to me such a reign on my emotions and my life?
In this state I am reacting, and at the mercy of another. To get a message = happy, to not get a message = sad/anxious/lonely. It is too much power for anyone, a responsibility that all will fail and will leave you feeling totally at their mercy. On the one hand, I am striving, training, working, recovering, living and on the other, I’m still seeking, still yearning, still letting whether one person sends a damn message or not dictate whether I should be happy, whether this will be ‘it’ what makes it for me, what makes me better.
It’s not going to make me better. There I’ve said it. If relationships were going to make anyone better, marriage would have fixed everything, all I did was crumble then too. If relationships made it better, those who are in relationships wouldn’t still have to go to therapy and treatments and work on themselves. They would just be. On some other level, my brain is still deluded. Still hoping, to replay what happened so long ago, to try to fix it this time. I can’t fix my childhood and no one can fix what happened. There is only acceptance. Acceptance and self compassion. I need to soothe myself and give up a dream of the right guy fixing my whole life, I have been trying hard to take steps to make my life better everyday, but at the same time, this fantasy has been alongside it all. I am realising now that the two simply cannot co-exist, as the obsession can easily unravel all hopes I have of creating stability, and it has done, so many times over.
I have spent sleepless nights replaying my years especially those during university and look back wondering why didn’t I stay single after that ex? Or that one? or after that? I could have performed so much better, in so many different ways, had I given myself a chance. But I dream, I dream about love, as we all do, to want to love is to be human, but to let the desire consume you and become your purpose for living – it will destroy you.
Buddhism also talks about change a lot. About being comfortable with change, befriending change and understanding that nothing in life is permanent, everything is moving – moment by moment. People are not meant to bear the burdens of another’s soul. Your attachment wounds are your own to heal. Until you learn that it doesn’t come from outside, you will seek out attachment, break it, seek out attachment, break, seek out attachment, break again….and on and on and on.
I would like to think the lesson – here, tonight, is being learnt. I have been trying to learn this one for a while now but I welcome change, I welcome my change in response, in thought, in mood in the very deep corners of my heart and in the old logic of my brain. I am learning my lesson.
There is also an emphasis on letting go. Something a clingy, needy, abandonment fearing, wounded heart can really struggle with. Has struggled with. I want to cling, to not be alone, to feel alive, to feel safe, to be regulated by lovers, by people, by circumstances. But letting go is how it was always meant to be. If things are always changing, it stands to reason that we are also meant to let some things go. I am learning to respect time and the nature of life, the natural order of things. When things are meant to happen they happen, in their own time, in the way it was always meant to be.
I apologise for sounding so zen-like, but truly, seeing the world and life in this way has helped me so much that I wanted to share it with you too. Even in writing this I feel like I have released a lot of tension, admitting to my own self that there was something holding me back, accepting the pain and the need for change. I feel a little shame and guilt for it having taken me this long, for having behaved that way when I know on a logical level what the ‘healthy/right’ response is and should be in these situations. But, we are made up of so much more than logic, and now, I am forgiving myself. I truly hope this will inspire me to keep moving forward and see things in a new way. No one is worth my life, my joy, my recovery.