Present Tense

Ignore the speed bumps…

I’ve been going through a challenging time for the past couple of weeks, that admittedly has been completely self-imposed.  In all honesty, my life is working out in an almost magical way, but in order to get through this transition period, I’ve had to struggle with intense impatience and my overwhelming desire to make the rest of the world bend to my wishes and needs.  Just to clarify: that rarely happens, mostly because I expect perfection and the cosmos doesn’t dole that out to us.  Ever.

The ridiculous part is that everything IS working out just the way that I had planned.  It’s as if what I envisioned in my mind’s eye is following a script.  The annoying part of all this for me is that I have let some minor speed bumps take my attention away from the big picture that’s unfolding; a big picture that is seriously transformational in my life.

So, I’ve been trying to remind myself to be grateful.  Every day.  Stop creating pain and suffering where there IS none.  Stop focusing on the minor things that aren’t going the way I’d like them to,  while ignoring the huge positive forces that are in play.  Events and changes that I’ve dreamed of and planned for are unfolding and I can’t stop fretting over the minor details.

Until today.  I got a call from an old friend.  I had texted her earlier to check in on her daughter’s graduation plans.  She called to tell me that they had gone through a very rough week.  One of her daughter’s closest friend lost her father suddenly this past week.  He was strong and fit, but died suddenly while riding his bike.  So, she had spent a lot of time with her friend, helping her deal with this devastating loss.

Then, yesterday, she and a group of friends were celebrating the end of their high school careers with a party on the lake.  A bunch of happy seniors hanging out before they move on to the next phase of their lives and one of her friends drowned at the party.

That is tragedy.  That is pain.  That is suffering.  Imagine the emotions of kids who are in the midst of a time that is full of dreams, hopes, celebration and suddenly they lose a classmate and a classmate’s parent.  In one week.  That is some heavy duty stuff for one so young at a time that should be full of joy.

So, now, an immediate attitude adjustment for me.  A list of gratefuls is in order, here.  The speed bumps are ridiculously small and I feel foolish for even dwelling on them.

I’m sad for my friend’s smart, accomplished, beautiful daughter; I’m sad for everyone that is going through a truly trying time.  In Buddhism, we are told we will experience 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows in our lives.  No mention of 10,000 speed bumps.  I’m grateful for this clarity.

June 1, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thank you for this post today, Jane. I had both sorrow and joy today, as I lost my 17 year old cat, but also celebrated my uncle’s 80th birthday with a large family gathering. We all shared many wonderful memories through a DVD my cousin made of photos of all of us through the years. I had many tears today, both happy and sad.

    Comment by Lori Craddock | June 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Lori:
      I’m so sorry about your cat. I know how painful the loss of a pet is. You were lucky to have the family get-together to balance it out a bit. 10,000 joys/10,000 sorrows, eh?
      Take care,

      Comment by janelondon | June 1, 2013 | Reply

  2. Your post could not have come at a more amazing time. Thank you for sharing so candidly. I too, see my life unfolding exactly as I had planned but finding it hard to deal with the little things. I needed a reminder too… thank you.

    Comment by Try New Things | June 1, 2013 | Reply

  3. Jane, most timely for me too. Thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Carolyn | June 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Nice. I too have had trouble distinguishing speed bumps from real tragedy. So sorry for those suffering in Oklahoma, that’s tragedy. Not so sorry for my annoying 11 bug bites that are a nuisance but I keep bitching about them. Thank you Jane. Love your blog! You are a great writer! Maybe I should try blogging. Your blog seems to do so much for so many. Happy Sunday! Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day! Fan, Theresa aka Tj

    Comment by Tj Trolly | June 2, 2013 | Reply

  5. Thanks Jane, for the smack upside the head. I definitely needed it. I’ve been fretting all week about a comment made by my boss that “hurt my feelings.” The thing is, this person probably didn’t even realize they said anything that could anyway be construed as hurtful. So I’ve been worrying about that instead of how incredibly lucky I am to be working for this person and how wonderful to me that actually are! Thanks for the wake-up call.

    Comment by shellybelly12 | June 2, 2013 | Reply

  6. I am glad you still look to Buddhism. I’d like to think I had something of a hand in that. As you and I both know it is not really an “ism”. It simply sees things as they are. And the hard part – it lets thing be as they are. Knowing there is nothing we can do about those things. It is a path of acceptance. It does not take away any pain. It lets pain be what it is. It lets us be honest with our experience without any explanation or stories. Because why? Because there is no explanation for any of this. Losses never make sense. No matter how hard we waste ourselves trying to explain. We cannot. So let’s not downgrade catastrophic events to the level of a speed bump. The “speed bumps” you speak of are catastrophic. Let us be honest about it. When we are honest with our experience here we become fully human at last. Tears and laughter fully known. There is nothing better than not telling stories any more. Letting the story telling go brings us full on in the face of this life. Which is fading to black as we speak. All that we know is temporary. And there is nothing that can be done about that.

    Comment by Greg | June 2, 2013 | Reply

  7. As always, well said and very timely! Thank you Jane, I truly appreciate the wisdom you share.


    Comment by Terri | June 11, 2013 | Reply

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