[s]he who aspires to paradise

Yesterday I was feeling insecure. The details matter little, but I laid awake a bit last night and felt that old, old – OLDE – Impending Sense of Doom. I used to live with it all the time. I would smash it flat with all kinds of Ego exercises. I had enough of these exercises to write thousands of words describing them (but I won’t, right now). These activities worked until they didn’t. And then I suffered a lot.

Today I do occasionally hurt, and sometimes I don’t know why. Usually I can get to the bottom of it, but other times – like yesterday – I don’t understand why I suffer. I have learned to be patient. I won’t always feel this way, I can remind myself. Sometimes I can set the self-critical thoughts aside. Other times they run rampant and punish me a bit.

Today I received an email from someone who wrote some very nice things, telling me that reading my words made quite a difference in her life. This was wonderful to hear, and I look forward to writing her back and getting to know her better. And tonight after a meeting a woman told me she thought I was “awesome”… and that after listening to me over the last few months she thought I was “the kindest person [she’d] met”. She told me when she hears me speak, that she – and at this juncture she let loose a deep sigh of contentment. “Because I’m not kind,” she said.

I have to be very, very kind to myself. I have to exercise this as rigorously as someone who has to take medicine daily – or die. Not surprisingly, kindness towards others flows from kindness to myself.

I will have to practice this until the day I die. It is a practice, not a feeling, nor a permanent attribute. I will never be perfect at the practice of kindness. But I hope to practice it every day.

Tonight while out with a friend, I saw someone from my Recovery community, a lovely young man I care for a great deal. He was buying a tall can and I know a bit about what that means for him. Another relapse of increasing depths. More self-harm. I worry about the extent of self-harm this particular person may commit. I love this man and I care about him. And yet I’m powerless to do anything except tell him, I miss you.

I hope to see him again.

Please make sure to tell people if you love them, or appreciate them, or admire them. Bold words, spoken in truth and love, are never wasted.