Fantasy vs Reality (with a sprinkling of Radical Acceptance)
There are three blogs I want to write. Two I have started – in my notebook, that for once is not in my possession. It is around the corner from my current location, at my parent’s house. I am at the island house and the sun, unexpectedly, is out. So, I’ll start with the third blog.
The spiritual books have taught me that we spend a majority of our time in the past or future. Self reflection and awareness have taught me I am guilty of this. I have read the books. Taken mediation courses (over and over through out the past decade). Attended numerous Sangha nights. All to serve as repetitive reminders to exist in the present. Be here. Now. Yet, my mind and writings wander. And in these wanderings lie dangerous happenings – I change a person or situation. It is more than looking at the person or situation through rose colored glasses, I transport myself into a world that is rose colored. And I believe that version.
As far as I am aware, the area in which this has been most detrimental has been in the realm of relationships. I convince myself the object of my affection is actually the object of my affection. And when the object is no longer there, I mourn the loss of what never actually existed. I have gotten better at seeing a person for who they are vs the fantasy of who I wish they were. It is not always easy to exist in reality, but it definitely makes it easier to let go and move on. Radical acceptance. Complete and total acceptance of reality. But to get to radical acceptance, one must see reality. See a person or a situation for how they/it actually are/is. Not the fantasy you have built up over time. To get to radical acceptance, you must break down the fantasy you have been spinning. And it’s not always easy to know what is reality and what is fantasy.
I just paused for a moment to figure out where to go from there. I zoned out, staring at the trees and water in front of me. Listening to the birds chirp. I keep going back to meditation or reading various spiritual books that all, ultimately, say the same thing because I know the peace and clarity to come when you can let go of past and future and exist in this moment. I am able to let go of the fantasy and see reality, because I know: in this moment I am content. And when I know I am content, I do not need to cling to the fantasy. And that is when I can start the work of radical acceptance.
I write daily. I have stayed true to this practice for the past seven years. Prior to that I have over a decade of substantial writing. Part of this writing is documentation. Since a young age I had this notion of reading through my life on my deathbed, in a hope of being able to piece together what happened and why. Having a blueprint of my life. I don’t know why exactly I have wanted this or thought being able to read over the day to day events of my life would help me see the whole picture more clearly. I do know, whenever I come back to NY, I spend large chunks of time reading through my old journals. I love my writings. I am reconnected with the Whitney of the past and am blown away by her wisdom. I have moments of insight and clarity documented for my future self. Those moments were the moments in which I existed in the present. I also have many, many writings coming from a place of deep pain and sorrow. These, too, I appreciate reading because they remind me of the great strength within me. How much I have had to endure and how I have continued to make it through. Stronger, wiser and more appreciative.
I am also struck with a longing for my “carefree” youth when I read through these journals. It strikes me that at 23 or 24 I write at length about how “old” I am. I laugh at those writings now, of course. But I have always felt older than I am. And I have always longed for the past. It has become quite clear that I need to reconcile my fear of aging with the reality that I am. And it is okay. I romanticize the past and idealize the future. Both leave me in a negative emotional place. I may no longer be young, but I most certainly am not old. I am exactly where I should be in my life – because this is where I am. And I am content. And exceedingly excited about all that still lies before me. Certainly some doors are closed, but there are still many open and I (finally) know the road I want to be on and am working my way down it.
I have lived a very exciting and fun life. A life of deep emotion and experience. In many ways the fantasies I have created cannot come close to some of the realities I have lived. I think this is an important point to meditate on. Fantasies tend to be one sided with a level of perfection that is not attainable. My journey that I have documented so well serves as a lesson for me that you do need the bad along with the good, as that is where so much of the growth and learning happens. I have been knocked down more times than I can count, but it has made me an incredibly resilient person who knows how to get myself back up. This is necessary for my work. It has all brought me here – and, looking around, here is pretty darn good.