We create an addictive life by not using our discipline, strength, and faith. Our addictions manifest as fear, procrastination, and doubt. We must learn to choose mastery. I am a young man from Hope, Arkansas. I have never seen anyone live their life through their dreams; I have never seen anyone choose mastery. However, like Joan Didion I’ve seen people leave this earth spontaneously.
I know death intimately, both physical and spiritual, and I know the feeling of incompleteness. My grandmother is dealing with pain from all those years of turmoil. After all those years of sin, anger, and resentment she ran to the church for safety, but its to late. I watched my uncle never leave his youth, and eventually wind up in jail. I’ve watched my father die from being unable to deal with his sadness. I’ve had to breathe through the rapes, molestations, poverty, and anger in order to become a man that forgives. When Moses said, “Who am I”, and God said, “I will certainly be with you.”
We must walk through the world knowing that their is an energy carrying us. As we change, shift, and “BE” one must accept the level of our ignorance and live by faith. I have to mourn the physical, and spiritual, deaths happening around me. But sometimes wanting people to be alive is selfish, people have endured terrible things.
I understood life changes quickly when my father died while he slept. We both slept that night, but only one of us woke up. Or when my friend shot himself in the head, and I knew how similar our lives were. If death can be so instant, and quick, life can contain the same potential of transformation. I will soon be buried next to my father, and I’ll get to see my friend again, but during this moment I will learn how to uncover my emotions and keep my heart pure. Joan Didion understood that grief isn’t healed in 3 days off work, but is a continuous process of acceptance–she says:
Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.
The future is unpredictable. Changing instantly, spontaneously, and unexpectedly. We make sense of the pain through acknowledging our complexity. Through accepting we have the strength and wisdom of Buddha, but the doubt of our father. We know all the pain in our lives, but unaware of the potential. Imagining a life where anxiety, misfortune, and heartache doesn’t destroy can be difficult, but freedom is possible. Wealth is achievable. Joy is attainable. Happiness is abundant. When a man embraces mortality we can overcome all our fears–Joan Didion speaks on our mortality:
We are not idealized wild things. We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves.
The Year of Magical Thinking talks about the process of grief, loss, and how trauma can affect a healthy mind and soul by leaving it empty of joy, all by delving into the life of Joan Didion who learned to overcome these feelings after her husband died and her daughter fell ill. As she tries to make sense of John’s death and her own changed identity, Didion discovers that grief is not what she expected it to be. Consumed by memories of the years they lived in Los Angeles, shortly after they married and adopted Quintana, Didion feels that she has entered a state of temporary insanity.
Though cool and collected on the surface, she begins to believe that her wishes might have the power to bring John back. To this end, she refuses to give away his clothes and shoes, believing that her husband will need them when he returns to her. She calls this childlike belief that her thoughts and wishes can alter reality “magical thinking.” She finds numerous examples of this behavior in the literature she studies on grief and mourning, which ranges from poems, novels, psychological texts, and even etiquette books. A wonderful book that needs to be read diligently and seriously.
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