I’m suffering, and I’ll tell you why. Things are hard between me and my daughter. Respecting her privacy, I won’t tell you much except to say that she is now a teen and there is a clash between the way she thinks her life should go and what I feel I need to do to keep her safe and healthy.
Actually, that’s not quite true.
The truth is that I don’t know what will keep her safe and healthy. In fact, she argues that my approach does the opposite of keeping her safe and healthy. She says I make her crazy which is, in her view, ipso facto, not safe and healthy. Trying to figure out what actually will make her safe and healthy has been driving me bonkers, actually.
Here is what I do know: What I am comfortable with. And also, how far outside of my comfort zone I am willing go to accommodate Bella.
I know myself and who I am.
And that turns out to be the only guidance I have. I don’t know how to get the results I want. Really, I only know what seems to be the correct response to each event in each moment.
I’ve realized that I can’t control the results; I can only do what feels right and trust that.
Meanwhile, though, Bella gets furious and tells me how I am doing everything wrong. Our differences interfere with the lovely feeling of closeness and love we have grown over the years.
And that makes me really sad.
It makes me sad, partly, just because I miss what we had. And it makes me scared for the future. It makes me sad, too, because I have used the fact that I am a good dad to bolster my self-worth.
I feel worthless when things don’t go well between my daughter and me. And confused.
Which brings me to the actual point: Today, I was wanting to write this newsletter and I just felt like I had nothing to say that was worth saying. How could a person who felt as worthless and confused as me offer any sort of guidance?
I am, apparently, supposed to write wise things. If I don’t feel wise, how can I write? What can I say that is helpful about life?
That’s a thing we all feel, right? That if we are in control and doing everything right and don’t understand, we aren’t legitimate. We are frauds.
The thing is, we are constantly moving from one confusing place to the next. We are constantly stumbling. We are constantly confused. That’s being human, no? Maybe not being human as we imagine it should be but human as we actually experience it.
I was so confused when I first sat down at the keyboard to write this newsletter that I simply couldn’t think of anything to say. I got so frustrated and beat up on myself so much! I decided to return to my meditation mat, even though I had already practiced today.
Then, I came to my computer again, struggled for a while, and went back to my mat. Like, for three hours, back and forth. I just couldn’t write because I felt so confused and lost. What a loser, I thought of myself.
Then, I remembered, Prince Siddhartha himself, before he became Buddha, was so confused that he sat under a Bodhi tree for six years, trying to understand. He tried living a life of luxury. He tried living a life of detachment. Nothing worked! So he just sat down under the tree.
For six years!! He sat there paralyzed by his confusion for six years!! Imagine how many email newsletters he didn’t think he had the legitimacy to write! Imagine how dormant all his social media was! LOL.
Here is the thing: Siddhartha did not become the Buddha when he transcended his humanity. He became Buddha when he fully accepted it and let go of his struggle to understand. He saw the morning star and–Boom!–he woke up to things as they are. We are just like this!
I thought all this about how Buddha, too, was so confused and, finally, I remembered that one thing I help people with is being comfortable with not knowing, with being human. So that is the point of this newsletter.
We are complete! When we make a mistake, we are still complete. When we are confused, we are still complete. There is no need to search further! Legitimacy does not come from not being confused.
I’m confused and it’s ok. In fact, fighting against my confusion has caused so many arguments with Bella. Yesterday, I said to her “I don’t know” and suddenly she had nothing to fight.
I’m ok. You’re ok. Bella is ok. This world is ok. Being human is ok. We don’t need to be more.
That’s all I wanted to say to you: You, me, and Bella. We are already complete.