Curiosity as the Antidote

I’ve been going through some emotional stuff recently. Stuff that’s made me sad. And cry. And made my heart hurt.

It sucks. 

And yet, I’m okay with the fact that it’s happening. I’m not jumping for joy that it’s happening. But I understand that it’s part of the human experience… and so, it’s okay. Everything’s always okay, really. Because it has to be. Because it is. Because everything is what it is, no more no less.

There is nothing especially tragic about my situation, and I don’t bring it up for the sake of pity. I bring it up because it reflects a common experience we all have. The experience of deep suffering. And I believe that the way through it involves acceptance, curiosity, and compassion around those feelings 1,000% more than it involves resistance to those feelings, or convincing ourselves that we’re broken. 

Amidst one of my cry-fests about what I was going through, I decided to write down some feelings, or more so my stream of consciousness. It was after reading it back that I recognized how differently I was approaching this pain today than I would have years ago. Instead of pity, fear, and hopelessness taking over, I was instead filled with awe and openness. And I want to share what I wrote with y’all. Please forgive the fact that it reeks of a poem someone wrote during their 11th grade English class. (And I’m not going to edit what I wrote because it matters to me that you see what poured out of me as I sat in my bed crying, sitting with the pain, and writing it down. I don’t want to try to make it seem prettier, smarter, or more impressive.)

Life is beautiful. The pain, the shared humanity, the awe. This isn’t optimism or delusion for the sake of masking our despair. It’s real beauty. And by tapping into the connection with the human experience, we become fearless. Fragile yet, but fearless still. Pain hurts. But it connects. Cultivate awe, see the beauty. And not because you’re trying to say it’s good or pleasant. But because you see how your humanness is universal – bigger than.

(This is the part where I try really hard to not cringe when reading it back, and instead be okay that it makes me feel a little vulnerable.)

So why am I so okay with my experience? So inspired and awe-stricken by it rather than defeated by it? It’s certainly not because I’m special or smarter than anyone. It’s merely because I’ve taken my pain and connected it to the greater human experience versus the vacuum of my experience. It’s because I’ve made the choice to embrace my experience and become fiercely curious about it. It’s a choice any other person can make once they realize that it’s an option available to them. Making this choice doesn’t absolve you of pain. But what it can do is reduce the amount of suffering around that pain.

It’s strange and crazy and weird and amazing and interesting that people have so many feelings in their lifetime. So many experiences. So much joy and suffering. So much enthusiasm and boredom. So much strength and fear. Just so much stuff that goes on with us. And that’s pretty cool. Like, for real. It can be outrageously shitty feeling sometimes, but it’s through these experiences that we get to feel connected to fellow man – to the human experience as a whole.