The Bitter End, A Sweet Beginning

Yin-yang-yummyAnd in the minute the ending came, my life began.

I’d like to believe that, and the million or so other clichés I’ve heard that are supposed to make me feel better about the bitter end. I can’t. It simply is not true.

The truth is that I can’t remember the beginning, and I’ll likely not realize the end. All I have is the in between, the life I’ve created, the stories that have been born along the way. I’ve learned to appreciate each strand, each single moment in the thread of my story, and I’ve learned to not sweat the big stuff. I’ve learned to live more fully than I ever have before.

Perhaps that is why we sometimes see life as a series of endings and beginnings. Perhaps it is easier to pretend that the pain of yesterday can’t exist here in the new beginning of today. Perhaps we have become so adept at lying to ourselves that we don’t mind telling just one more lie to get through the cold spells.

I’ve decided to think a little differently right now. I’ve decided to honor the happiness I dwell in now by realizing the million tears that such happiness has been built upon. I’ve decided to dwell in the house that experience has built by remembering the back-breaking work that went into building it. I’ve decided to relish the warmth of this summer day by honoring the cold winter days that got me here.

I’ve decided to love it all.

Of course there needs to be a caveat to all of this, a disclaimer if you will. Realizing the sadness and tears does not mean I cry. Just the opposite, as I sit having rarely smiled so broadly in my life. Realizing the sadness makes that smile brighter, or so it seems. I can revel in the joy of this moment not by being sad, but by remembering the experience I’ve had of sadness much in the way a thirsty man relishes each and every drop of cool water as it makes its way to his stomach.

We, as humans being, often walk a fine line. I envision it as that line where Yin and Yang meet, where darkness surrenders to the light, where a smile creeps through tears. Sometimes we are in the Yin, and sometimes we are in the Yang, but I sense we are rarely far from their horizon when we are in tune with who we really are. I feel we may straddle that line as we walk this life journey, rarely aware of it as we focus only on where each footfall may land. It’s when we stop walking, stop moving and sit still, that we realize our ass was designed to perfectly straddle the line we rarely see.

I’m fortunate because I’ve not only discovered that line for myself, but I’ve found each step reminds me of its presence. For each bitter end there is a sweet beginning, and for each sweet beginning there is a bitter end. Sometimes the sweetness is mild, and sometimes the bitterness is easy to swallow, but the realities of our existence is always stretched from the Alpha to the Omega with each of us rarely seeing the line where each meets. I’d like to say that line is where the magic happens, but it’s not. The magic happens all around, not just in one tiny sliver of the whole. Instead, I see that line as where the magic is realized, where the magic is focused like a laser that easily cuts through the bullshit we’ve created around it. It’s where we can discover the magic of Yin and Yang, pain and joy, fear and love. It’s where we realize it’s all the same even as it’s different, where it is all real even as it is unbridled fantasy.

That discovery made me smile.  Hell, it made me laugh out loud, for real. It’s also comforting to know I can play there any time I choose. Here, there, is all the same. There is no duality even as I experience it. There is no separateness even as I create it.

Whether you are at the bitter end of something, or the sweet beginning of it, enjoy. I try to quickly find the center of things, the happy medium, the twilight. I’ve learned that I am happiest there, always free to bask in the light or sleep in the dark. There is a reason we find the sunrise so beautiful and remain in awe of the sun setting while rarely finding the stretch between them very inspiring. The real joy, the real liberating moment for me came when I realized that the sun is always rising and always setting, and that I am always living and always dying, and that I am free to choose which one I focus on. I’ve also come to enjoy those moments when my ass straddles the line where both meet, when I’m sitting in active stillness, painfully enjoying the silent noise of my own mind at playful work.

And now that realization that makes it all become benign. There is really no line beyond our need to draw it. It’s really a blur, a place where circles are drawn. I remember being on an airplane once during a sunrise and seeing this for myself. I could see where night and day still existed in their separate selves, but I really couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. There were little bits of indistinguishable light mixed in with little bits of indistinguishable darkness. They existed there, as one, without fanfare. In my observation, there are no true beginnings or endings. It’s all just one, blurry line where on one foot sits night and on the other sits day with life happening in between.

This all seems confusing, I know. At the very least it seems contradictory. I can’t help it and I fought it for a long time before I simply surrendered to the truth as I experience it. It may be true that when one door closes another opens, but I’ve found living happens in the hallway between the doors, and in shutting the door behind us we can’t simply pretend the room behind us doesn’t exist, or that we haven’t walked through it. Instead, I’ll enjoy the corridor before I walk through another, and I’ll love the door as being both a part of the hallway as well as the room.

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