Comfortable with chaos

There are no exceptions, we all face periods of disquiet. When I was in my early twenties, I had no clue that anxiety would ultimately become something I generally had to face in life. I imagined real adulthood came with superior self-esteem and unshakable confidence. My conversations would be worldly and broad in scope.

Even though I was reasonably comfortable in my skin when I was in my twenties, I had my share of doubt about who I was, where I wanted to go, and the things I wanted for my life. Even if I thought I had it all figured out, at some point life would put me in my place.

The older we get, we tend to seek deeper meaning, even if we aren’t completely connected to it. Eventually, uncertainty will find us grappling with life’s bigger questions. My own life has demonstrated that in order for us to discover ourselves, we have to find our way through a maze of wilderness.

We will live through getting hurt by someone we believe would be our forever, to the friend that will inevitably betray us or the one that in time outgrows us. Life has a way of making us feel insecure, confused, and a suspicious nature kicks in. Consciously or unconsciously, we doubt whether we can find our way out of a labyrinth of darkness.

Particularly at the end of the third decade of my life, I sensed a great deal of ambiguity. I began to notice the lights and shadows; the capricious nature of living. This came from a number of angles. I hadn’t experienced my twenty-first birthday when I began to feel the first inkling of rough terrain, obstacles, and deep disappointment. I see this in hindsight. But so much wasn’t happening and everything else was.

I thought a lot about this when a friend asked me, “How does one reinvent themselves?” This friend is originally from Saint-Barthélemy, and we met while I was living in Connecticut. Because her first language is French I would attempt to speak French with her to enhance my fluency.

Just weeks before I moved from Connecticut to New York, she met someone. Her decisions were swift, and to some extent reckless.  She was short of twenty-seven at the time. She’d only known the guy a few months. She moved to London because she was “very in love.” We kept up via e-mails that, after a while, grew infrequent. Recently, we started texting a few times a week. Her texts were often random in nature, and at odd hours. She sounded both depressed and hopeless.

Her marriage having fallen apart, she was back in the States with her daughter. Confused, she posed questions like, What do I need to do? Where do I start? I suggested that this was a good opportunity to reacquaint herself to American culture, but those words fell on deaf ears.

She had so many thoughts–most negative–bouncing around her head. “I’m drowning in chaos,” she’d said a few times. “I’m drowning .  .  .”

The word chaos struck me when I heard it. But later, as I reflected on my friend’s urgency to find a cure for her despair, it occurred to me that even in some of my insane and troubling times, I have managed to find some level of comfort in the midst of ongoing chaos. I also learned that the chaos is more in our minds and less in our lives. It’s a hard sell so I dare not expect anyone to buy that line when traumatic events are chasing us down.

Whatever our belief system, it’s a given that life will catch us off guard. What typically follows is the test. Many of our tests appear when we’ve met a dead-end or hit a brick wall. It’s important, when this occurs, to rethink life and the way we filter through stressful circumstances. Too self-involved, it’s unrealistic to assume we can assess what is really going on. So many of us react to it rather than to learn from what is happening. Perhaps where we’re trying to go requires a different way of seeing and believing.

It could be that we need to trust. Life challenges us to grow, to evolve. In order for that to happen we have to face stuff we don’t like. Inescapably, Life will place obstacles in our path so we have little choice but to focus elsewhere. I read many years ago that when God is trying to get your attention, he might start out using a feather. But if that proves inefficacious, ultimately He throws bricks.

It’s not a simple thing to ascertain–when Life demands that we go deeper. However, a spiritually mindful practice, or engaging in a purposeful path, can lead us there. I, myself have developed an instinct to get through this process. I can perceive certain roadblocks and hits and misses. I now have the tools to lead me out of manic distraction. For any life-engaging or ambitious person, the hardest thing to do is do nothing.

Yet, if we let go and allow the Universe to work its magic, the chaos–the noise–will gently recede.

 

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Trusting unfair

Years ago I read a book by Julia Cameron, and at the end of each chapter the author presented the reader with a question and outlined an exercise. At the end of one chapter, the author posed a question to the reader: Who would you take to war with you? This inquiry demands deep reflection.

Cameron was engaging the reader with a thought-provoking question in which the reader needed to seriously consider who would not only be trustworthy, but deeply mature, dependable, and capable under the most extreme circumstances. A friend I spoke to this morning is one of those “take to war” people.

Alone and six months pregnant, she moved to New York after college. As strong and as independent as I am, I could never have chosen that path. In my early twenties I was one-dimensional and closer to selfish than I’d care to even own out loud. My friend, who has been painting since she was in sixth grade, trusted with her heart and soul that New York was the place for her to make it as an artist.

She landed a job as a receptionist for a major record label and later moved up to being an executive assistant to a VP. I think they were calling them “secretaries” back then. Since I’ve known her, I cannot recall her ever expressing even a scintilla of doubt, a negative attitude about life or struggle, or how hard it is to make it as an artist.

If I need a pick-me-up, she’s the first person I consider because she never, ever sees anything as “unfair.” Her advice is typically supportive, but most of all she appears to manage her life by seeing each experience as a mosaic–life reflecting art.

A few months prior to my leaving New York, she had an art exhibit. Beautiful, imaginative, prolific artistry which I couldn’t afford was strategically hung or leaned against exposed-brick walls; each portraying a story about New York. She spent months preparing for the show. Sipping wine and listening to Marvin Gaye music, the mood in the gallery was generously upbeat. When people left they were Ooh-and-Aahing.

Irrespective of the repeated compliments and overflow of people, not one observer purchased my friend’s work. Her boyfriend of 15 years would lead people off the bustling sidewalks and no one turned him down. Yet not one painting was sold. Amazingly, my friend laughed and chatted with people mingling and silently judging her tireless efforts. I sensed she  was genuinely optimistic and happy to have her work displayed in a Lower Manhattan gallery.

While my friend is first and foremost an artist, and she has persistently followed what she believes to be her signature expression of love, she has earned her livelihood from work that doesn’t fulfill her. She and her actor-boyfriend can barely make their $3,700 rent each month.

When I resided in New York, they were living on the Upper Westside. A truly charming walk-up with large windows and room for my friend to paint. But they had to give up a two-bedroom my friend had been living in since 1989. Now, they live an hour outside of Manhattan because the city is no longer remotely affordable to the average person.

This friend has been through so much. From losing her once-reasonably priced Manhattan pied-à-terre, to being laid off and unemployed for over two years at the height of the downturn. To make matters worse, she began to face one medical issue after another. Prescription costs were beyond what she could afford. Her actor boyfriend has had bit parts but not enough to sustain the lifestyle they once had. He’s been working as an actor for decades, but acting jobs are no longer reliable.

His attempts to get 9-5 work that offers a livable wage and benefits has become utterly futile. He’s in his late 40s; no employer is interested in him because he’s spent far too much time working as an actor. He does part-time work as a barista at a swanky coffee bar in TriBeCa, and the occasional “mid-life” character roles. It’s not enough to make ends meet.

There’s something to be said about believing in our artistic expressions, which we trust will someday earn our keep. I am always in awe of someone like my friend, and her boyfriend. It takes sincere faith to walk in the dark. The cost of living is amazingly high now, and earning a living through creative expression has always been difficult to achieve. But neither has ever stopped, or complained about it. Not in front of me.

My friend, and her boyfriend, started out decades ago trusting the process. Even when outside influences taunted them, they persevered. An artist’s rite of passage is to struggle, and struggle and sacrifice go hand-in-hand for the creative. Although one shouldn’t have to struggle a lifetime, and sacrifice, in time, is supposed to bear fruit. All religious and spiritual texts hint at this, if not proclaim it outright.

I would have seen a lifetime of struggle as unfair years ago, but it’s the way things are now. What is left for someone like my friend and her boyfriend but to trust the unseen, the quiet possibility, the assiduous hopefully. What was once their conviction has now become their fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Will you watch my stuff . . .

Sitting in a coffee bar a while back, I was struck by someone standing over me and asking, “Will you watch my stuff . . . I’m running to the men’s.”

So I cringed when just days ago, I sat in the Pasadena Library at a crowded table and someone across from me removed a bud from his ear and stated, “Watch my stuff, I’ll be right back!” Each one of us at the library table looked up, most likely out of politeness, to see who the man was asking to “watch his stuff.” While curious eyes bounced around the table, the man with one bud in his ear walked away.

The person at the table he actually directed “watch my stuff” to shrugged. Nothing about this woman’s body language indicated she would or wouldn’t, although from my observation she was honest-to-god apathetic. There were six of us at the table. If I were the type to ask a total stranger to watch my stuff, I’d have directed the request to no one in particular and said something like, “Hey, is anyone comfortable watching my stuff for a few?”

The young blonde gathered her books, Mac and tumbler and got the hell away from our table. Deep, deep down, I wanted to jump up and follow her. She was my kind of girl! She dared not take responsibility for a stranger’s belongings. And I cringe whenever someone says to me in that passive way that strangers do: Can you/Will you/Do me a favor . . . watch my stuff, I’ll be right back, thanksomuch!

When the woman swiftly departed our table, all eyes followed her until she reached another area of the animated room. Her rather peeved departure from the table gave me the impression she refused to get involved with that guy or his stuff! While in some circles “watch-my-stuff” is just a sneaky way of trying to pick someone up, that didn’t appear to be the case here.

Several people at the table looked perplexed by the young woman’s abrupt departure, as though her reaction was out of context to what was happening. Jumping up out of her seat and gathering her belongings in such a huff, according to the expressions of my table buddies, was an overreaction.

I’m not altogether sure that I believe she owed the man a, “No, I will not watch your stuff.” However, it would have been audacious of her had she spoken up for her right not to be responsible for a total stranger’s belongings. Instead, her behavior came across as contemptuous, which might be what my Pasadena Library table buddies reacted to.

I was disappointed by how she handled the situation. She dodged a confrontation, but that didn’t mean she stood her ground. Instead, she avoided dealing with the spot she’d been boxed into. Perhaps she wasn’t good at expressing herself. Potentially, too much was going on in her life to deal with petty things like watch my stuff.

Even while I’m a person that holds out hope that the world will become kinder, more present, and wholeheartedly engaged with each other; more like the Danish, who live a lifestyle known as Hygge (pronounced hue-guh!), it’s beginning to feel like hope against hope. It would be sublime–although not necessarily a perfect world–if we could be just a bit more genuine. More hygge.

When I was sitting with a few people talking over wine, I thought it would be good to hear what they thought about “watch my stuff,” so I told them about the incident at the Pasadena Library. I was taken aback just a tad because everyone reacted as though the young woman was rude, inconsiderate, and too uptight!

“Come on!” someone blurted out. “What was her problem?”

“What a bitch!” another said. “She could’ve lied. Said ‘yeah, I’ll watch your stuff.’ It didn’t mean she had to.”

Someone I’d met for the first time that evening offered, “Everyone does it. It’s not a commitment. Besides, no one’s really expecting you to be accountable for their stuff. It’s . . . it’s just–hey, keep-an-eye-out (if you can ) . . . ”

“Okay,” I butted in. “If no one really expects you to be accountable for their stuff,  why bother to ask someone to ‘watch your stuff’?”

“When I sit in Coffee Bean and someone asks me to ‘watch their stuff’, I nod with a sure, yeah. But I don’t really watch their stuff.”

“Right, right. Watch-my-stuff is a thing,” someone clarified. “Soon’s they walk away, I’m back to my own thing. I don’t care about their laptop!”

“Anyway, some of us get distracted . . . We even forget about a stranger’s  stuff.”

“So why not just say I don’t want to watch your stuff?” I was curious to know.

A friend said, “You–and that chick at the library–take this watch-my-stuff thing way too seriously!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must be love

It was one of those days. I had been quite busy for a few weeks and suddenly, on a warm Sunday, I faced a blank calendar. Because it had been nearly a month since I last washed my car, I decided there was no excuse. Today was the day!

While at the car wash, I received a text from a friend asking me to meet her at this café on Pico in Beverly Hills Adjacent.

When I arrived at the café, my friend who invited me was sitting with two other women sipping beverages in the café’s signature ceramic cups. I knew two women at the table. The third, in a pair of large-framed sunglasses, was someone I had heard about but we’d never met. We were introduced.

Swiftly, I became aware of the conversation at the table. It was in reference to the third woman; the one with the large-framed shades. Earlier that morning, she had broken up with her boyfriend. Hearing the details made me feel somewhat awkward, because the information was rather personal.

I didn’t know her; she didn’t know me. And despite her friendship with the other two at the table, the details she was revealing were explicit. It takes an elevated level of discernment to get it: oversharing with a stranger is faux pas.

Roughly in her late thirties, and despite her strong persona and being unapologetically uncensored, at some point she began to cry. It wasn’t a public café kind of cry. Her cry wasn’t soft, quiet. It was nose-running, tears-gliding-down-her-cheeks-and-dangling-at-the-edge-of-her-chin crying. The other two at the table reached for napkins, dabbing her cheeks and consoling her. Eventually, her raw emotions led to unrestrained sobbing.

It was short of 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon. The place wasn’t packed, but there were other customers in the café seated nearby. My friend said to her roommate, “We should go. You’re really upset.”

We paid our check, left a tip and walked out of the café and to my friend’s SUV. I said my good-byes, feeling out of the loop, not sure why I’d even been invited. Yet my friend urged me to come along. Her roommate–the one who’d just broken up with her boyfriend and sobbed in the café–needed “some love and support,” my friend said.

Next thing I knew we were on Pacific Coast Highway and on our way to Pacific Palisades. The woman who had broken up with her boyfriend was seated in the front passenger’s seat. She said, “Turn that up,” to my friend who was driving. The volume to the music grew louder through the speakers.

It didn’t take 10 seconds before we were all singing “Must Be Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. We each knew the lyrics. We sang loud. The song shifted the mood. The somber energy we’d been exposed to earlier swiftly drifted.

We owned the song like we’d had an experience that made the lyrics so relatable. All four of us in the car knew every single word to “Must Be Love on the Brain”–singing it with heart and soul. We were acutely in tuned with Rihanna’s voice, her sultry energy. Each of us knew precisely when Rihanna  would sing in a high-pitched voice . . . on the brain. We were having a carpool Karaoke moment.

When the song ended we laughed while repeating Ohmygod! It was a present-moment experience.  It took a few to recover, to finally stop laughing and saying Ohmygod! My friend pulled off PCH and stopped the car. The laughter began to die down. Someone held up a hand as if to initiate a high-five.  We all high-fived, still laughing. We even had tears in our eyes.

My friend’s roommate, who had just broken off a three-year relationship, with tears resting in the corners of her eyes, a wide grin on her face, said, “You guys are so damn amazing!” With her eyes pressed shut, her palms resting against her chest, she said in a surprisingly demure voice, “Thank you, Rihanna!”

Hours later, while I still had no clue why I had been invited, I surrendered to  the reason for my need to be there. At times–and it occurs more often than we have the aptitude  to recognize–our presence creates a moment in time that reconstructs the present moment for everyone else we are sharing the limited span of time with.

It’s alchemy. The universe has absolute power, and brings  certain souls together to create a celestial encounter. We are changed in that window of time, whether we are attuned to it or not.

My spirit, in that instant, resonated with the other spirits that were divinely invited to be there. Our collective presence generated a bonding that could not have occurred in any other setting, and with other living souls.

First boyfriend

Last minute, I was invited to join a few women at La Brea Bakery. We’d volunteered together at an event a few months ago. The last to join, the table was congested with coffee cups and cellphones. I listened for a brief time before engaging in a conversation that appeared strangely somber for the occasion.

Eventually I would learn why one of the women, Julete, was visibly upset. The one who extended me the invite, Julete had passionately pursued acting before going back to school for her master’s. We met at an event in which she had coordinated and I had volunteered. While a crew was starting to unfold tables and chairs, we shared our Hollywood horror stories over the last of a random bottle of champagne.

Just as my coffee arrived, someone at the table said that Julete had learned earlier that her first boyfriend from her hometown was killed in a car accident. At shy of 16, he was the young man she believed she’d marry. A woman seated across from me said, “We were talking about old flings, and then Julete told us that her first boyfriend died two days ago.”

In a nonchalant voice, a woman seated to my right said, “So, Bonita. What was your first boyfriend’s name, and have you ever Googled him?”

Before I could reply, another woman asked, “Do you ever think about him?”

When relationships begin to fade away in my life–and relationships that wither happen quietly–I let go. I will cling for dear life to a relationship, but when it becomes clear to me that the relationship has reached a kind of slow death, it’s over for me and I gracefully accept that what we shared had lasted as long as we both wanted and needed each other. There are rare occasions when I might wonder how so-and-so is doing, but “wonder” doesn’t rise to the level of my wanting to reach out to that person.

Oddly, several days subsequent to the coffee at La Brea Bakery, the conversation about “first boyfriends” came back to me. Something I don’t feel the urge to do is to search the Internet of people from my past. But I typed my first boyfriend’s full name in a search engine. Based on my own name (which for many years was pretty darn unique), there could be a plethora of Philips with the exact last name.

Through a Website, Legacy.com, I discovered that Philip passed away in 2003. Had I not been invited to that coffee, I would most likely go through the remainder of my life not knowing that my first boyfriend had passed away over a decade ago. He was so young.

I process life with the belief that experiences we endure–no matter how detached we are to them–aren’t the equivalent to a stray bullet. In other words, each experience is connected to the next. Each has its distinct intent. Likewise, I trust that many things which happen to us and appear as coincidences are things of a spiritual nature.

So, the invitation to La Brea Bakery to sit with women who happened to be discussing flings and first boyfriends wasn’t by chance. The universe planted disconnected souls at a particular time in order to experience a felicitous epiphany.   Epiphanies, as I’ve discovered, often pop up out-of-the-blue or at an inconvenient time.

For many years I’ve made futile attempts to make sense of mystery. But as it should be, I evolved. I have come to a place where I accept the true beauty of the mysteries that add meaning and purpose to the very heartbeat of my life. Our lives often fall short of revealing answers to complex questions. As is the case in some Zen teachings, it’s like “the sound of one hand clapping.”

Through the Legacy post, there was no information about whether Philip experienced a cruel death, or had it been sudden, like Julete’s first boyfriend. The reminiscence of Philip is vague, really. Yet, subliminally, I have sought the qualities that drew me to him in men that have traveled in and out of my life over several decades–from the professional athlete to the always unemployed college dropout who was “born-again,” but dealt cocaine in a house in the Hollywood Hills.

At first blush, we are drawn to outward appearances, so Philip’s looks drew me in. Likewise, the way he walked, his natural gift for being smart and clever–the attributes that made him so appealing to my innocence as a teen-ager.

We grew a part within a year. One summer, he was in L.A. for a friend’s wedding. We met for a quick bite to eat before he left. He’d maintained his unique charm, with a laugh that was infectious, and he was still good-looking. Philip had a gifted equilibrium: he was endearing, and naturally smart. You had to like Philip.

When Julete and I were walking to our cars after leaving La Brea Bakery, she said solemnly, “He was the one, Bonita.” I don’t believe that to be the case. Still, my sincerest hope is that while they were with each other, Julete experienced fervent intimacy. It is almost certain he had a hand in shaping her womanhood, which is perhaps why his death touched her so profoundly.

 

 

 

 

My word

About a week ago I watched an episode of Suits, season 6. A character said to Harvey Spector, a main character on the program, “The world knows, when I give my word it is rock solid!” The character wasn’t saying to Spector: “You know my word is rock solid.” The character was saying to Spector, “The world knows my word is rock solid.” I jotted down that quote, anticipating a day would come when I might want to borrow it. There was a certain level of depth to those words that resonated with me.

It’s a breathtaking concept that someone’s word can be absolutely, positively rock solid! It wasn’t so much that the character’s inner circle knew his word was good as gold. It was that the entire planet knew it. This meant his word–his reputation–was as reliable as a Swiss watch. It was as dependable as Monday succeeding Sunday. The statement the character was making was this: His word was as unmistakable as the word of God. Rock bloody solid!

So, when a certain someone said to me yesterday, “I won’t cancel. You have my word!,” the quote from Suits rushed through my head. Lo and behold, three hours later I received a text from this “someone” who wrote, “got 2 cancel.” No apology. Just, got 2 cancel.

Because I know this person is 98.5% unreliable, I wasn’t upset, disappointed, and vindictive doesn’t run through my blood. I had hoped that when this someone said you have my word, this certain someone genuinely meant it. And despite any reasons for this person cancelling, it’s indicative of this person’s true to form persona.

Like the character in Suits, when I give my word it is rock solid! I can’t ever recall backing out of an arrangement with someone even if it meant that there was the potential of losing out on something better. If a prospective employer called any one of my former employers for a reference, there might be some things they could say about me that aren’t especially flattering (e.g., tends to be characteristically late), but they would never, ever be able to claim that ‘Bonita is unreliable’ with a straight face. They would never be able to say ‘Bonita is someone we couldn’t depend on’ (or trust). My word is linked to my character, and I believe character is like karma.

How we present ourselves–with friends, colleagues–is our mission statement to the world. If we’re fickle, untrustworthy, selfish, inconsiderate–these are unfavorable traits that brand us. We walk in the world exposing these characteristics whether we’re aware of it or not. When someone has decided you aren’t dependable, “impeccable with your word,” (which is one of the now popular Four Agreements), or as good as your last lame excuse, this is the way people believe in you. This is the person you have decided to be.

There are some things we pick up on at an impressionable age. Perhaps our parents, those that reared us, or those we were influenced by, which initiated how we view the world and how it works (for or against us). We’re not all blessed to be raised under the most favorable set of circumstances; still, our basic nature is rooted in the quality of how we were brought up.

For those who gave us structure or naught were merely operating from what they were taught. These attributes, or the lack thereof, were demonstrated to us by those having shaped us. As a child, we are unable to discern what exactly is right or wrong. We are left to trust the adults exhibiting conduct in our presence. Yet, as an adults we have a choice. We can decide how we want to represent ourselves in business, among friends, and in society in general.

Any person with adequate intelligence understands that, if you need to cancel or your plans change, its common courtesy to alert any person you’ve made arrangements to meet. When we choose not to reach out to someone to inform them that we aren’t able to keep our commitment, in essence, we are saying to that person you are low priority. My word–anyone’s word–is a public signature, a personal identity. And it follows us wherever we go.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncomfortable

Last weekend it was 96° in L.A. At least in my part of the city. The San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys were in triple digits. It was hot. I was miserable. At some point, a sense of frustration began to intensify.

I reached for my cell. Scrolling through contacts, I saw no one to call. Not under the circumstances. If I dared complain about anything to one certain friend, she’d attempt to out-story me with her ongoing displeasure with her various life issues.

Earlier, I’d left two messages on the voicemails of two friends and hadn’t heard back from either one of them; therefore, I knew not to reach out to them (again). So I felt stuck, uncomfortable. And I had this self-pitying feeling that no one needed me in their life on that particular day.

Undoubtedly, every single person experiences a form of isolation periodically. When we get in a moment of feeling disoriented, or a rising sensation of being misdirected by life starts to kick in . . . Such feelings can make us feel irrelevant. Disconnected.

Just a few days before the heat wave, I was talking with someone about being a traditionally published author in the 21st century. I was candid with this person, and said despite having two novels published, I was experiencing a nagging awareness of being a professional failure.

The person interviewing me said, “Seriously!” with this voice that suggested she was–well, taken aback! But this feeling accompanies me just about everywhere I go. I can no longer shake it. While I don’t make it a habit of juxtaposing myself to others, this inkling–that gnawing over professional failure–could be related more to society’s idea of success and failure and not my own ideas on success and failure.

Thus, I am observing my professional life through society’s perception of success/failure. Ergo, experiencing non-fulfillment as a published author. Most likely the conversation I’d had about feeling like a professional failure stayed with me and remained beneath the surface of my conscious mind. And, well, with the heat and other stuff bouncing around my head, I felt extremely uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable is exceptionally hard to move through. Even pulling out the big guns (one’s spiritual armor) doesn’t quite cut it.

Uncomfortable can be initiated by deep-rooted feelings which have been underground for years. This includes unworthy, unloved, not good enough. In addition, uncomfortable can also be a sign the universe is nudging you to make a change. One of the toughest psychological places to sit through is personal discomfort.

A few days ago, when I felt an uncomfortableness I’d not felt in some time, I didn’t even make an attempt to reach for my go-tos: journaling, and meditation. I knew, based upon how I felt and what was running through my head, those weren’t going to cut it. I needed someone to complain to. Luckily I’m not a social media butterfly, so I didn’t do what so many people would do to rid themselves of feeling very alone in a very strange and imposing universe.

Using social media to feel better about yourself is a band-aide making futile attempts to stop the flow of blood oozing from a fatal gunshot wound. When you’re in a state of irrelevance, social media will only make you feel smaller, or you’ll communicate from the I-feel-like-a-loser place; however unknowingly. Although I hear it enough: social media offers the lonely a safe haven, and they don’t feel so alone.

The Internet is another form of drug. Another dependency; another obstacle in the way of not facing real life issues. Any form of addictive behavior–which includes endless time online–enables us the opportunity to sit through an uncomfortable feeling; to confront it. Trying to avoid whatever low place we’re at in a fleeting period of time keeps healing at bay.

So, eventually I came to the place that would lead me out of my madness. This choice has never led me astray. And it does work. However, first there’s the issue of finding a way to let go; and second, trust that this too shall pass. Once you’ve managed to accept these ideas, the heavy-lifting is left to whatever you trust or believe in (outside of yourself). Just. Let. Go.

Sitting in uncomfortable is something no one I know well can do for long. At some point the need to be placated will win out, so they will reach for the remote, food, have sex–anything so not to feel uncomfortable. Even if they’re a Bible-quoting, God-fearing person, they will run, work-out, or shop online before they sit in uncomfortable.

This is what I’ve learned–and what I eventually practiced during the heat wave–how amazingly clear you get once you sit to the bitter end in uncomfortable. Until uncomfortable becomes comfort. Genuine comfort doesn’t require appendages–a cigarette, a joint, a glass of wine! But uncomfortable is a moment. An experience that passes if you yield to its presence, stop shadowboxing and simply go through it. As is the case with all things, the uncomfortable shall pass.