The Ride Of Your Life

At least once a week I hear some version of “I’m so sick & tired of this. I cannot do this anymore. I’m getting off the rollercoaster.” The pain, frustration, and fear behind the statement never make me smile. It melts my heart and causes me to lean in, to move toward the darkness. The statement itself always makes me smile. Depending on the severity of the situation how quickly I arrive at this varies, but ultimately I always reply with this… Best of luck with that, love. Best of luck.

The problem is born in the belief that we can actually get off, that somehow we can choose to opt out of this ride. We can certainly numb the ride, for a bit anyway, but the ride always returns. We can run, we can dive under the covers again and again, but the ride is always waiting. It will always return, because that’s what it means to be alive. It’s a never ending journey of severe ups and downs, twists and turns. Are there self-destructive thoughts and behaviors we can move beyond and leave behind? Absolutely, but that’s not what this is about. This about life, in all its glorious mess.

The solution is born in the awareness we are, in fact, on this rollercoaster, and our only real hope is figuring out how we can keep from vomiting every few minutes or throwing out our necks. We remember that no one rides a rollercoaster alone. We look behind us, and in front of us, and we see others. Some are screaming in delight and others look terrified beyond belief, white knuckles clutching to the sides praying they are not catapulted to the ground, but we are surrounded by other precious souls along the ride.

Lean in. Breathe deeply. Throw your hands into the air. Cry out in delight whenever possible. Hold onto the sides until the blood drains from your limbs when necessary. Grab that vomit bag if you must. Scream. Cry. Pray. Laugh. Look around at your traveling companions. Make eye contact with them. Let them in, really in. Let them see your heart, your joy, and pain, and excitement, and fear. Give others the gift of allowing them to hold your hand during the worst turns of the ride. Protect your neck. Buckle up warriors. Buckle up.

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