7 years

A happy mindful Monday!

Something I was reading the other day mentioned in passing that the Buddha spent 7 years coming to the state of nirvana.

Some part of my brain knew that. But I saw that information in a whole new light this time.

I had such a big mental exhale when I read it this time. It took the actual Buddha 7 years of doing nothing else but pursuing enlightenment to get there. Pursuing enlightenment was his full-time job and only diversion, and it still took 7 years.

And here we all are kicking ourselves in the (mental) asses all the time for not becoming perfectly centered just by reading a review of some new book about meditation.

No, seriously. Some people (*raises hand*) feel like just a general awareness that they could help themselves be less anxious means they just ought to be less anxious.

Meanwhile, our garbage “quarterly-earnings” values insist that if a thing is not working in the short term, no investment is merited in the long term.

So. You’ve put in practically no effort and still nothing has happened? Or maybe you’ve rushed headlong at it for upwards of a month and still issues of a lifetime persist?

You were not meant to be cured of your anxiety by the end of a three-day seminar. Nor at the end of an 18-minute guided meditation, nor after three easy payments of 99.95. (Or let’s be real, 1099.95.) I’m just going to keep saying it: pursuing enlightenment was literally the only thing Buddha did and it still took seven years.

One of the things I try to stress is that you have to love yourself now so you can love who you’ll be, and you know what? We collectively need to forgive ourselves right now for not having it all together the second we think we can.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got 30 years of religion and family judgments and the heteropatriarchy and poverty and our country’s horrifying slide to the right on top of anxiety and depression and substance-abuse recovery duking it out in my brain every day for attention, and it is okay that I am where I am right now.

Where am I now is breaking out in uncontrollable panic sweat at least once every workday. Where I am is still trying to get myself to do the work of mindfulness, and not just be the kind of guy who’s mindful of mindfulness.

I run this website trying to combat mental health issues, and I combat mine every day. And that…is…AWESOME!

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(It’s almost as awesome as the way the guy in this stock photo feels about that butterfly. Or his face. Or how his face feels about the butterfly? It’s almost as awesome as that 😂 😂)

We’re all Buffy the Anxiety/Depression Slayer. That’s the way I like to think of it. Sure, some days it feels like the vamps are never going to stop coming, and you’re not even sure you’re making a difference. Heck, a couple of the vamps are even kind of cute.

But there’s really no option. Into your life a slayer has been born. Some days you might want to quit, but that’s just not how it works. Giles won’t let you. Pick any Giles you want. (I personally recommend the love you secretly have for yourself.)

Aaaaand [SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT], it took Buffy seven seasons, too.

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I know, right?

It might take more than seven seasons. It might take your whole life long. But Buffy didn’t get to tap out. Because the fight was worth it, and there was no one else to meet the challenge.

By the way, you should really watch Buffy 😂 😂😂

Give yourself seven years, then seven more. Those instant results you’re kicking yourself for not getting? You’re not getting them because they were never real.

Forgive yourself! And love yourself now so you can love who you’ll become later.

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