So today these are definitely just musings. Musings of something I have little experience with other than my personal, and cannot give any specific advice about. I am just musing about that which is here. For me. Right now. I am not always quite sure how these themes show up for the day. But show up they do. Today’s theme seems to be about trusting in the difficult. Admittedly a common one for me. Trusting that life will hold us, even at its most difficult. Aptly spoken about by Rainer Maria Rilke, one of my favorite poets. “It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.”
So what else is there to say except that trust that life will hold you? Let life happen to you and allow your confidence to grow in meeting that which is most difficult in every day. My youngest informed me this evening that today was suicide day. An update from her social media sites. What a day to celebrate. But, quite correctly, she told me it was a day to remember those who had committed suicide, those who perhaps had attempted, and those that were struggling in very dark places of their lives and minds, as well as a focus on prevention. Today is WHO World Suicide Prevention Day. Like many teenagers my daughter is not unaffected by the struggles of a developing and maturing emotional life, that of her own, as well as of her friends. How many of us live lives of quiet desperation? How many of us struggle through each and every day. Especially in this world of great economic and practical difficulties. A world that for some of us can change completely overnight. A world where we may feel very alone. We may not be willing or know how to reach out and share, or to ask for kindness and understanding. So even as you grow in your capacity to trust in life, and trust that it can hold you, be a little kinder. In all things. In how you interact with yourselves, your loved ones, those you work with. Even just in random meetings through the day.
My own life has not been untouched by suicide. Family members, friends from childhood, friends at medical school, and many in families I know, have ended their lives this way. The WHO tells us almost 3000 people daily commit suicide. And for every one that succeeds, 20 more have tried. One such act that has stayed with me over the years is that of a med school friend. A young man of such beauty and promise that it was very hard to comprehend. An act perhaps possible only when we lose the belief in our capacity to meet that which is most difficult in our lives, and trust that this capacity can grow. When we feel that kindness from this world is lost to us. One of my favorite books I am re-reading at the moment is The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci, the unexpected benefits of leading a compassionate life. It reminds me constantly just to be kind. In my own time of distress at medical school, when it seemed there was no one to reach out to, it was a simple act of kindness from an elderly professor that allowed me to trust that life would hold me. That kindness was enough to allow me to believe that this capacity could be trusted and could grow.
So today, as you are irritable with your challenging teenagers, or find yourself distressed, angry or grieving. Be a little kinder and gentler that you need to be. Kinder to yourself, as well as to others. You never know what may be going on in another’s life. Even those we think we know so very well. Aldous Huxley once said, “People often ask me what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is – just be a little kinder.”
Have patience enough to endure.
Simplicity enough to believe.
Confidence in that which is difficult.
And confidence in your solitude among others.
Trust that which is most difficult to lead you through to the other side.