When Things Fall Apart

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)

I’m about half way through reading one of the best books ever, and I’d be neglectful if I didn’t pass it along to folks that are trying to figure out the divorce experience.  Buy it.  Read it.  Then give it to someone you know who could benefit from it.

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us…It was all about letting go of everything. p.7”

“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10)”

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
― Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

What’s poop for the goose…

…is also poop for the gander.

After our first (of only two) marriage counseling sessions, the assignment was to go on a low-key “date”, and she won the coin toss and designated me to setup the first weekly one.

I arranged to pick up her and the foster baby and go to a folksy coffee house for a dinner soup and sandwich, with a short walk afterward by the lake.

In the report to the counselor at the second (and final) session, the story was that I purposefully pushed the stroller across some goose poop, which was of course going to transmit bird feces from the wheels to the floor of the van which was unsanitary and thoughtless.

These kinds of events in themselves, of course, are not reasons for moving out.  They simply become anecdotes that describe the other spouse’s character.  And you’re supposed to extrapolate that they’re ________ (fill in the blank).

I have my theories, but I’ll probably never fully understand what led her to the extreme action of packing up and leaving.

But I’m guessing the next time I see goose poop, I’ll step in it.