Except when it brings you to your knees in a complete collapse.
This week, I have had some massive wins, and some completely knee droppingly hard moments. Professional highs and lows, personal challenges and “what is going on in this world” moments abounded. There was laughter, tears, anger, sadness strength, weakness and just general malaise.
I don’t even know how to address what I am wanting to say here. I am not a fan of platitudes and I genuinely believe that nothing happens for a reason, rather that we find reason in what happens.
Grief and pain are overwhelming, and block out the sun with the strength of their demands.
Regret is a sea of dark rolling waves appearing from nowhere to encroach upon the shore of your daily existence; sudden, overwhelming and then gone.
Joy is a lightning bolt of pleasure, casting the shadows into the corners where they hide waiting to reappear when you least expect them.
Love is a journey without a destination, that opens you to a never ending and completely unpredictable flood of regret, pain, grief and so very much joy.
Everyday, we are surrounded by people caught firmly in the pincers of any or all of these bone crushingly soul wrenching, life enhancing experiences. And while their mind is lifted or their heart is full or their muscles are aching with the sheer pain of the moment they are living…..they are also buying milk, or filling their tank at the gas station. They are waiting in line at the university, sitting in the physio office. They are catching your baby, or saving your life. They are driving the car in front of you, or doodling on their napkin in the cafe. They are making our laws and catching the criminals.
All of the people you encounter every single moment, are feeling something that you don’t know about. They are dealing with more than one thing at a time. Sometimes all the balls are in the air, and they are keeping on and getting things DONE. They have everything in hand.
Sometimes, they miss a catch and all the balls hit the ground and they lose their shit all over the place. They are crying in the doctors office, or yelling at a co worker or laughing at the wrong moment, or smiling when they should be listening to their teacher. They are just not getting the emotional response linked up to the visible world around them.
At the end of the day, the difference between having all the balls in the air and having them all over the ground for everyone to see, is mostly luck. We all drop them sometimes, it is just that some people manage to drop them when they are alone, and some people are in the middle of a crowd of people. If you have dropped the balls this week, don’t sweat it. Pick ’em up. Or leave them to roll around for a while and focus on whatever thing it is that is dragging your attention to it. Sometimes, that moment of regret, joy, pain, anger, or love just needs your full attention.
If you have dropped your balls before, and see someone drop their balls, don’t just run on in and start picking up their balls. Let them do whatever the hell they want with their balls, but do it with compassion and the memory of what it feels like to have your balls all over the ground in the wrong place. Maybe you could clear a space for them while they just look at their balls and figure out which one needs to get picked up first. Maybe you can sweep some of the balls into a corner and put a box around them so they can let them lie while they build back up to a full juggle. Or you could step in to help in the juggle, if they ask you to.
Just. Whatever is happening in your heart and head is not the only thing happening in the room. For every person in a room, there are at least ten thoughts, feelings and worries. Sometimes we are sharing them, but mostly, we aren’t. (Unless we are me. All y’all know that I am mostly running a rainman-esque stream of consciousness of my thoughts, feelings and worries. Sorry, not that sorry. I am what I is.) Mostly, though, we are keeping the balls in the air. Mostly, we are in a sea of alone. So, lets just all try be gentle with each others balls.