|being aware of what happens within|
If you have a chance to meet your younger self, what would you talk about with him?
Me, I probably would talk about so many things. I would advise him that everything good takes time, to keep on exercising, spend more time with the Nature, and drink much more water. I would remind him not to overthink and stop trying too hard for too little. But the utmost thing I would want to say is this:
“Take it step by step. And let everything flow.”
Now you know that patience isn’t my strongest virtue. To give you a context, I had always been so seriously intense about many things. When I started something, I immediately felt dying to finish it. I used to wrap the process of doing something with another distraction.
My strongest suit? Overthinking. Sometimes it helped me regulate the unpredictable outcomes in life. But often, the thoughts that amplify in my mind through overthinking felt like crashing waves eroding the shoreline along the beach: the what-if that came into various forms and I was trying my best to anticipate it. And when it failed, I used to self-loathe. It was a pretty simple self-defense mechanism.
To think about it, life has a seriously funny way to inculcate in me the virtue of patience. Maybe my stubbornness was incredibly solid it needed a series of incessant pressure to mold and then reform it. Maybe when I thought I had finished learning; life gave me another lesson with different depth and breadth. It was like a series of courses I needed to take at a university: Patience 1.0 then Patience 2.0 then Patience 3.0 then Patience 4.0 so on so forth. Well, I am not the one who sets up the syllabus of my life lessons, aren't I?
But why would I need a self-reminder? Well, I may claim I never forget, but I do forget easily. Several things might have slipped under my unconsciousness and stayed hidden there. It’s like, “I thought I’ve already taken Patience 2.0 but actually I haven’t.” Here is playing the role of a self-reminder. A self-reminder is a notification that I gather from my conscious experience. Personally, it doesn’t only depict how feeble my existence is, but also as a feedforward of my lesson.
I remember that four years ago I decided to send a letter as an e-mail attachment to myself and cc-ed it to a reliable friend. The letter acted as a remembrance of who I am and what I have been through when I hit my rock bottom. I sent it to my friend so that when I was lost and drowned in the abyss of hopelessness, the letter would be sent back to me as a reminder.
Now I am rereading the letter and trying to relive the experience embedded in it. Not that I am currently in a situation where I am feeling lost or hitting another rock bottom now. Thankfully no. I just want to know how far I have walked since that time. And as a result a great relief surges up in my chest. I thanked myself that I wrote a letter to myself in the first place. I've walked this far.
As a normal human (and stupid one), I age and forget. Memories are complex, delicate system. It replaces ones we consider unpleasant with the pleasant ones. Even if I wish I hadn't forgot all critical moments I’ve endured in life, there is always big chance they are still slipping. Some people might want to forget their unpleasant experiences or the bad things that has happened to them by not talking it out. I don't. I don't want to forget any experience in my life. I don't want to deny pain I once felt. I want to live with the scar I have.
Sometimes when life gets too overwhelming or numbing, I’ll need to nudge myself with this letter.
That there are days when I was too sad to even cry.
That there are days when I desperately wanted to skip.
That there are days when I was too heartbroken to even function.
Those were once painful, but no longer.
But then again, there are also days when I was so happy about everything.
There are days when I felt so tremendously loved.
There are days when I was so captivated in the moment and felt grateful to be alive.
There are moments I wanted to memorize; the good and the bad because these days are what makes me me.
It took me years to absorb this lesson. And I am still learning to absorb it.
Life is just like changing seasons: the nature has its own order and its timing. It is spring when flowers are blooming. It is autumn when the leaves have to fall. It flows like the time. Being too attached onto something will only cause suffering and craving that might lead to self-destruction. The momentariness is quite simple. A moment is to be happening and then it’s gone and transform into something else. Embrace it and let go, like a wind breeze that sweeps my face gently and then gone.
from nothingness into nothingness.