Thursday, 14 September 2017

"full catastrophe of life"

in the name of Allah, the most compassionate,  the most merciful.

I think the phrase "Full Catastrophe of Life" comes from Zorba the Greek.   That's as far back as I can trace it, though I was willing to credit it to Schopenhauer.    I confess, I first heard it in a John Mellencamp song, and I know Jon Kabat-Zinn used it for a book title.  He said he had something like 2000 other titles on a list, and he really tried not to use such a drastic moniker for his book, but it kept coming back.

I guess that's what life does.  It keeps coming back at us in all of its beauty and brutality. 

Over the past week, I've seen an uptick in that Full Catastrophe.  A number of friends are dealing with unimaginable heartache, heartbreak, and grief.  It seemed to come from all corners over the past few days.  The really hard stuff, the life-altering, test your limits stuff. 

For most of us, especially with access to so many friends on social media, these fragile chapters can be a pretty common occurrence.  At any given moment, someone we care about is suffering.  At any given moment, we wonder what we can do. In those times of perceived helplessness, we're reminded of the Full Catastrophe, the preciousness and painfulness of our collective existence.

I'll confess, this isn't one of my more well thought out blog posts.  I don't have a thematic endgame or pithy philosophy to share here.  I just felt compelled to write this morning because it's how I make sense of things.  I can't swear it's working. 

What I have come back to as I have held space for these myriad friends in meditation is a rather trite but true mantra that we so often hear people say in times of tragedy.  That is, tell people you love them.  Show up for them.  Listen deeply and love hard. 

That's it, really.   Love hard. 

That's all I've got.

But then, that's all any of us have...and it's within our power to do it.  I hope to do it more openly, fearlessly, and compassionately in the days and years ahead.  I know I've wasted a lot of time not doing it nearly enough.   Half-heartedly, guardedly, always keeping a veil of protection for myself instead of being vulnerable enough to truly share the heartbreak fully.

Here's to changing that. 

Here's to living the Full Catastrophe. 

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