It is officially one week back in America now, and it seems there are all sorts of problems. My car is busted. The mechanic told me before I left that fixing it would be like
“performing open heart surgery on a 98-year old man.”
No plans in sight to get a new one because I’m broke. (Though I am kicking around the idea of a gas-powered bike, electric skateboard, or electric scooter!).
Being broke is temporary, but it’s still a pain in the ass. Speaking of pains-in-the-asses, my glute muscle, hamstring, and hip on the left side are wicked painful right now. The 7-hour work-related car ride on Tuesday did not help. Speaking of work, I am super busy for someone who is “cutting back” from the practice of law. I had a hearing Tuesday, I have another hearing today, and I have a board certification test next week.
Trying to find time to study amidst all the chaos has not been easy, especially while dealing with jet lag from the ten-and-a-half hour time difference and getting a sinusy-thing as soon as I arrived home.
The jet lag has messed with my sleep schedule. Right now I go to bed at 7 o’clock pm and wake up at 3am because my inner clock is all off. Not to mention that our home is in the midst of a renovation project that’s not quite done (its pretty awesome though, thanks love!) so I’m feeling the crunch of lots of life’s problems. Some of my friends have a ton of problems too, worse ones than me.
More than my own mundane headaches, which really arent that bad, I’ve noticed that many of the people I am encountering day-to-day are bogged down in life’s problems. And they are suffering as a result.
I’ve also noticed that I didn’t see the same level of suffering in India. It is really eye-opening. In India, the people also have huge problems. Many of them live their live’s wrought with painful problems; yet the people don’t seem to suffer the same as we do here; the problems don’t seep down into their cores and conceal their happiness the way we let our problems get to us here.
There is a quote I love from the I Ching:
Rain, after all is only rain; it is not bad weather. So also, pain is only pain; unless we resist it, then it becomes torment.
There is an old man who hangs out by the coconut stand near the yoga shala where I practice in India who has two shriveled up little legs. He gets around using only his upper body with the aid of two blocks with handles. People toss him coins and he sits there most of the day, with the largest grin on his face. He seems happy just to be alive, though I am pretty sure he does not know where his next meal is coming from.
Why is he so freaking happy? His life is full of pain; yet he is happy at his core. He is peaceful and content deep down. I have theories for why this is, but I’m not up for a soapbox lecture today. I don’t tell this story to try to make us feel guilty for thinking our problems are bad, i.e., “I guess I should shut up about my shitty boss when Kelli says the poor, starving, shriveled-legged man in India is happy.”
The point isn’t that we should feel bad about our pain or feel guilty that we are sad. The point is just to notice the dichotomy and start to wonder why?
I think humor maybe our ticket out of the hell hole. This morning while sitting in the car before work, my mind raced with all the things on my plate, and the sense of sadness I am feeling at all the suffering I am encountering. I tried to center myself. Alanis Morrisette’s, “Thank you, India” came on the radio. My first thought was, “Alanis is so dumb, her voice is weird and that ‘Ironic’ song made no sense – none of her examples in the song were actually ironic.”
I sank into the moment and start listening to the lyrics. “Thank you India. Thank you consequence, thank you thank you silence.” By the end, I was in tears, thinking how deep the song is, and whispering to myself, “thank you, Alanis.”
I had to laugh at my ludicrousness. One minute hating Alanis, the next minute surrendering and connecting with her deeper essence – and actually feeling the interconnectedness of the Universe through her song, which manifested on my radio at precisely the right second – perhaps to teach me something?
I’m going with that. That this whole up-and-down roller coaster ride of life is a learning experience, contrived by the Universe to help us become who we really are.