I stepped out of the game last week. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and defeated. It felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.
I needed a break. I needed to hit the reset button. I needed a walk in nature, a chat with a friend, and a glass of wine.
I also needed to get still and sit with my suffering.
I was angry with the world last week. I was sad that people lost their lives in a random shooting in Thousand Oaks. I was overwhelmed by my students who were in various forms of crisis. I was horrified that homes and communities were on fire all over my state.
And inside my anger was fear. I was afraid for my own mental health, my own safety, my own family. I was afraid of what the world is becoming. I was afraid of change and loss.
I felt small, mortal, finite, and powerless. I felt uneasy and restless. I felt trapped like an animal and wanted to run away from this dark place. I felt empty.
As I sunk into deeper suffering, I listened for my inner voice. I tried to remain open, awake, present, and still – without anxiety. My inner voice is quiet and elusive, but it brings me closer to understanding, to love, and to peace.
When it spoke, my inner voice reminded me that we are in a game. We are all in the game together, but it’s just a game. We are all in the game having a human experience.
In the game, we experience wins and losses. We are transcending levels as we move through each challenge. We are given new tools, new powers, and new partners to defeat the evil forces. And, we get to play, create, build, and enjoy it.
There is a lot going on in the game, and there always has been. We can choose to sit it out in the corner, stay on the bench, and shut it down. Or, we can choose to play it, engage in it, move through it, and live it.
We cannot hold on to anything in this mortal world. When we do not understand this, we continue to suffer. Our first step to understanding is to stop running away from our suffering. We must give ourselves permission to sit with our suffering, and stop distracting ourselves from it. In the stillness, our inner voice will speak to us.
Our inner voice wants to connect with us. It knows that everything passes and nothing is permanent. It knows our true purpose. It wants us to play the game and enjoy it. It wants us to transcend the levels. It wants us to take risks and learn from our mistakes.
It also wants us to feel all the emotions that are part of the game. And when we understand that painful emotions are part of the game, we do not need to suffer from these emotions. Instead, we can accept them and live to play again another day.
Game on, my friend.