Friday, October 10, 2008


I think the reason so many IF bloggers write about their past so much, how they grew up and their old dreams because it's a way of making sense out of their expectations for the future. Where am I going now? That's what we all want to know.

I went to my Buddhist study group last night and we talked about a particular gosho(letter) passage that we have been studying for the past several months - it's called the the Ultimate Heritage of the Law of Life and Death. Nichiren Daishonin is answering a question from a follower, a former Tendai priest, about the meaning of life and death. When we deeply comprehend the greater self within that is the part of the life and death rhythm of the universe, then we will be free from the fear of death. In the chant - nam myo ho renge kyo - myo represents the limitless potential of life and ho represents death. Death, not the end of everything sense, but in the transitional sense. There's a lot more to this but it's more like life is a crest in a wave and as it descends (death), the wave is submerged back into the ocean. I told a senior member that I was really struggling to understand this with my whole life because I had lost my beloved pet and was still struggling with a deep sense of loss. If I understand that he was still here somewhere, part of everything, then why did I feel this way? He told me that grief was natural, that it was okay to be sad, that it took time, but by continuing chanting for my dog, that I could still do something for him, take care of him and that would give me comfort. Well, that's true. Sampson would greet members at my door and sit among us when we chanted. He would often sit beside me when I chanted and I still feel his presence.

And then I understood why I had become so depressed. I had become like that "fall leaf skittering across the sidewalk losing its bits." Loss. Grief. Struggling to find another dream. My career was at a standstill (though I had started directing and writing), motherhood remains elusive, I spent months losing weight and rekindling my relationship with my husband. I wasn't angry at him anymore. My life consisted of walking the dog, the odd audition and visiting my mother and for a while, it was enough. I was happy. Until I wasn't anymore. I had no direction. What had I achieved after making it through the roughest 5 years of my life? Equanimity? So fucking what? Then the damn dog died. In many ways, it feels like I'm starting my life over. And I didn't want to start over. I wasn't 25, I was 45. (Yeah, yeah 45 is the new 35...) I've got the grey hairs and the slightly sagging tits to prove it. And I was pissed. And true to my nature, I swallowed the rage. Mid life crisis. The life I thought I'd have was gone. Dead, so to speak. Chalk full of wisdom, living the high life on the vapours of my credit card. That sounds like a country song. The point that this is the lament of the middle class, someone who can afford this navel gazing, is not lost on me. I'm sure my mother may have had the same complaints, but she was too busy working in a mind numbing factory job. On second thought, she was quite bitter about it as I recall. So was my father.

In any event, I feel relieved to understand this. I applied for an event liaison job at a theatre and I will continue to search out more reasonably meaningful work. I've got an appointment with an agent this afternoon. It's quite possible that I will be leaving my present agent in the near future. I absolutely dread doing it, it's like breaking up with someone who just doesn't do it for you anymore. Blech. I hate change.


Guera! said...

You make me think about my past alot and how it affects my present and future. I haven't the guts to write about it too much...especially the painful parts that probably have had the greatest impact on who I am and who I am not today. If we were neighbors I imagine long talks where I do a lot of listening and pondering. That's what keeps me coming back to your blog.

Deathstar said...

I wish we were neighbours too friend.

Natika said...

Kind of off subject but I was curious if you have seen the Kellie Coffey video "I would die for that"? I just saw it and wow! Kleenex please! If you haven't Google. I thought of you and of course me.

OHN said...

Change is the hardest thing we go through. I know I get into a set pattern, a comfort zone really, and when that becomes not enough, it is upsetting, yet the thought of actually changing is even more upsetting. I really don't think there is any simple answer as life truly is a journey.

luna said...

acknowledging grief (and depression) as a valid and normal response to a traumatic loss is so affirming. I'm glad you could have that epiphany.

wishing you well with the new job prospects.

btw, my hub says he feels our pup by him every morning as he meditates. I feel her in a different sense, as I go about my own rituals, though I admit I wish it was more often...

Wordgirl said...

I find so much wisdom and comfort in your words -- I learn so much here...that's the hardest part for me to accept -- change. I understand intellectually that nothing is permanent, that it is all in a state of flux -- and there are fleeting moments when I find peace with it -- but so often I am railing against it.

I think too about the circumstances of my life that allow for this processing and how different it easily could have been.

Thank you for this post, and for being here,



Pamela T. said...

Nailed it! That's what you've done here on a few levels. I've been spending lots of time in my head trying to make sense of my expectations, too. Couple that with the usual mid-life musing about where I'm going now and why and I'm surprised I have time to do anything but think.

I'm adding a link from this post to my latest. We're clearly on the same wave length.

loribeth said...

I have a hard time dealing with change too -- always have. And I also hear ya on the midlife crisis thing. I too often feel that dh & I spend entirely too much time navel gazing. I'm sure if we had kids, we wouldn't have as much time for it -- at least, not as much as we do now. ; ) Sounds like your study group helped you feel better -- I'm glad.