I can be hard-headed and stubborn. Very hard-headed and stubborn. And I think about this.
Perseverance has served me well. Somewhere along the line, however, the fuel that allowed perseverance to burn bright inside me turned from insistence to anger. For a long time I have had a well of fear, loathing and hostility burning inside me. A need to prove something to myself. Why I have no idea. I really can’t say. But, for the better part of a decade, anger has been a significant driving force in my life. And I didn’t even know it.
A few days ago, right before the New Year actually, my girlfriend and I had gotten into another argument. Money is tight, our beautiful six month-old daughter is sick for the first time and things have been stressful. Factor on top of all this circumstantial hub-bub that both my girlfriend and I have two totally different and unique ways of solving problems and the situation can often become… abrasive. Things got heated. Things have been heated. Then my girlfriend said something to me that really made sense, she told me that I was close-minded. She said that all those things I read and write about patience, peace, forgiveness, the Zen of things were great and all, but that I never put them into practice.
She was right. I was wrong. Had been wrong for a long time. I was shocked. I had turned into an arrogant asshole. The very thing I despise.
I suddenly realized that I have always carried a chip on my shoulder. I suddenly realized that, for the past two years, I have been extremely pissed off at the circumstances surrounding my life. They have sat there, steaming, bubbling just under the surface like some molten magma just waiting to erupt. I realized that my views had become rigid, inflexible and perhaps even self-righteous. I had turned into an angry and pompous fool. An infantile twit. I had gotten lost.
Dayna saved me. She had the courage to stick with me and point this out time and time again until it finally got through my thick, block head. She cleaned the wax out of my ears. She cried for me. She cried because of me. Yet she still stayed with me, for some reason I know not why. She led me out of the fog and now, ironically, I feel a little lost. It’s not a “now what do I do?” lost, it’s more of a “I wonder what happens now” kind of thing.
Am I cured of my anger? Is an alcoholic or a gambling addict ever cured? I would say that I am AWARE. And in that awareness lies the power to combat the forces that have paralyzed my progress. The forces I have set upon myself. For the past several days Dayna has noticed that I have been much more patient. But I haven’t. I have just realized that my way is not that only way to do things. That, if things get done, what’s the point of arguing which way to do it? It wastes time and sidetracks purpose. I have made an effort to be much more open-minded. That’s all. Some of the results have been staggering in such a short period of time.
Patience and forgiveness have been a direct result of this open-mindedness. Chaos has lessened, peace has grown. There is more laughter, less abrasion. Our pets have begun crawling into my lap and following me around the house all day. How weird is that? I feel peaceful. I can’t tell you when the last time I even felt an inkling of that. Things have gotten a little bit… Zen.
My future goals have not changed. I am no less driven to succeed, but I just feel different. It sounds cheesy and it is certainly fragile but, perhaps, if I can find this open-mindedness to drive me rather than anger I can attain what I’m looking for: Stability. Love. Peace. Maybe this is the start of something great. Maybe my love for Dayna, and her love for me, can give us both, and our daughter, the life we want.
Who knows? Everything feels so breakable right now and my hands feel heavy and clumsy. I have no confidence in this aspect of myself, but I am insistent on succeeding in it. Falling is a part of life. Anger changes nothing. That which bothers us is our own fault. Imagine the power of open-mindedness once I understand it and am confident in wielding its power. I will work toward that day. For myself, my family, and my dreams. I will not be perfect, but I will walk with unfocused focus. I will let go and reign in. I will enjoy these moments that pass me by. It’s the least I can do. Maybe it’s all I can do.
It’s simple, in a complicated sort of way.