The Zen of Mud Wallowing

There is a saying I grew up with: el hombre propone y Dios dispone (man proposes, the Lord decides) and this seems to be a recurring theme in my life as of late. The weeks following Easter offer several long weekends to either travel or be visited. Since I don’t work on Fridays, this means an extra long weekend for me to write, catch up on some much needed sleep, or on the rare occasion, be hostess to out-of-town visitors. There used to be a time in my life when entertainment at home with lavish five-course dinners was a regular occurrence, but those days are long gone and buried. Not only do I not have the time nor the budget to put together such events, but the hats I wore then are not part of my present. So when I do host anyone, rest assured that it is a person who means a lot to me.

Competing with other peoples jobs and social obligations is not easy, especially for those with very heavy burdens of responsibility. I always feel honoured when I am included in someone’s busy schedule for private reasons, and the days building up to the meeting are a source of joy and motivation. But when last minute cancellations become part of the game, disappointment is beyond words, with ghosts of the past haunting me with their howls of rejection, whispering in my ear that once again I am nobody’s priority.

So how does one keep their sanity in the face of disappointment without falling into that black hole of depression? I have worked extremely hard the last 18 months in therapy to claw my way back up from the abyss I fell into last year and am not willing to be pushed back in with the simplest of provocations. The universe has a way of sending me answers in the most peculiar ways sometimes, and for this question the reply came with the water buffalos I pass every morning on the way to work:

Learn to wallow in the mud and understand it.

The goal is not to learn how not to get dirty (or angry about getting dirty), but staying cool, calm, and at peace with the world. Stay in the mud if you must, but after a while it will start to feel slimy and unpleasant and you will realise that there is no point in wallowing much longer. Time to haul your sorry ass out.

Yes, disappointment is a luxury I indulge in, but have learned to do so briefly and then walk away from it. There is so much more to live for and many more ways to handle the situation gracefully. This weekend is a classic example of this. I had very different plans laid out, but this morning I received a phone call that turned everything upside down. So here I am, on a train and blogging away happily while the setting sun blesses me with gorgeous colours in the sky.

Flexibility is not about elasticity, but the ability to overcome the stiffness.

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