Yesterday I hiked 2000 feet up Manitou Springs Incline to almost 9000 feet, and ran down. Twice. A personal triumph of my recovery.
Tomorrow I go in for a bone marrow biopsy.
How can things be so rapidly, intensely, good and bad; how can I possibly take it all in and not be thrown off the ride?
My life feels like a roller coaster of extremes. So many ups and downs it’s nauseating trying to make sense of. How can our best days and worst days be so inextricably connected? How can we possibly feel so much? When our lives don’t make sense, and our capacity is stretched so far, it can be dizzying, crazy-making, and human.
To be honest, some days I want to just get off of the ride. I want to exit the roller coaster car to the right, and go get some funnel cake. Sticky, powdered-sugar fingers. Sweetness. Slow enjoyment of the moment. A deep breath, a sigh, the slow mundane every day… But wait: Times up, fasten seatbelt, lower the bar for a false sense of safety.
Feeling like I’m in control on the roller coaster is a false thing… yet I want it. I fantasize about it. For example, I think about things such as if life made sense then if a good thing happened to me, it’s because I’m a good person. And if I keep being “good,” then only good things will happen. Translation: Do good deeds in the world for myself and others, and, the voice in my head says, I’d have fewer biopsies, and spend more time eating funnel cake… but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The ups and downs don't make sense, or add up. And in addition, I don’t see that roller coaster being replaced by spinning tea cups anytime soon. And, truthfully, I’m pretty glad about that. My life has been intense as far back as I can remember. I learn and grow from the tightly woven ups and downs. I can handle it, and I would never trade tea cups for coasters… so how do I ride the coaster, be in the intensity, breath in the confusing moments, and know when to raise my hands up and let go?
On this seemingly out of control free fall of the coaster, suspended upside down with this tiny little seatbelt digging into my hip bone, can I accept it and ride it through? Can I be aware I’m going for a ride, and remember that I have the skills, foundation, and support necessary to come through the other side?
Sometimes we can’t get off the roller coaster. We can’t slow down the momentum and intensity of life. But we can recognize and accept that we're in intense times,, breathe with this moment to reveal it for the rickety coaster it is, and fully feel the ups and the downs.
We can't have highs without lows, and sometimes they happen almost at the same time. What's one high and one low of your past week? Take a breath, and remember the experience of both of those moments. Now bring them together and notice if they can be in relationship. For a moment, just feel, the joy and the ickiness. There's room for it all, and it's all part of the human experience.