I'm quite sure I stood there with my jaw hanging open for a full minute before I dared utter a response. The audacity of the question still astounds me.
Did this person really express that facing the reality of my day to day existence would send them into a catatonic state?
I will attempt to answer this, though, because - audacious as it was - it's a good question. What this person really wants to know is, "How do you make your life work?" which has, underlying it, "How can I make my life work?"
Several core attitudes/practices come to mind, but the first is acceptance. Seeing clearly, seeing what is and calling it exactly what it is. Accepting it. This is a component of healthy living.
This may seem elementary, but I daily encounter people who do not have acceptance in their lives. In fact, the most dysfunctional, mess-making people I've come across have been people who exist in a state of denial. They aren't pretending life is hunky-dory for the sake of appearances, no. That's dysfunctional, for sure, but I'm talking about something far more damaging. I'm talking about believing that it actually IS; that your life, your family, your world is hunky-dory-wonderful-and-perfect. Believing it to the point that any bit of evidence to the contrary is a painful, personal attack. Blame for others and shame for self become reflex reactions, leaving you either lashing out violently or (yes) hiding with your head between your knees in a closet of pain, guilt, and defeat.
Acceptance. Not expecting life to be more this or less that, but living with a mindful awareness of what it actually is.
Replacing expectation with acceptance is, I've come to learn, one practice of healthy living. (more to come)
|To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, |
not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive. ~Henri Nouwen