The ‘half-assed buddhism’ category

Sad Stories, Special Songs

February 4th, 2018

Jon and Eliza on the pond

Jon and Eliza on the pond

I have been hearing so many sad stories lately. A close, longtime girlfriend’s dad is going into hospice because he’s nearing the end of his Alzheimer’s journey. One of my best friend’s best friends just got diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. She has two young kids. Two of my friends ex-wives are trying to take away their custody rights in what seems, from this vantage point, like a pretty heartless, nefarious way. A client just told me her wife of four decades left her last year—the same year she had to have emergency surgery.

Then there are the headlines, which frankly, I am starting to avoid. Last weekend in Arizona, Navajo state rep Eric Descheenie was harassed by Trump-loving anti-immigration protesters, asking him if he was in this country illegally. School shootings have become so normalized that we barely hear about them anymore (thanks, gun lobby, for making it terrifying to send our children to school). Our president is trying to take down renewable energy with enormous tariffs on solar equipment imports even as he constantly champions and legislates for more life support for the dying fossil fuel industry. What have we become?

It’s true that life is suffering

Here in my house, the suffering has been acute in the sense that we have had several major illnesses sweep through this month. It’s been relentless, harrowing, exhausting — and minor.

It’s also true that suffering comes from how you respond to stressors. I’m pretty bad at that. Like most people, I have my outlets, and like most people, music is one of my joys in life.

The other night I watched the new Avett Brothers documentary May It Last and I’ve had their song “No Hard Feelings” on heavy rotation ever since. This is the kinda song that starts out catchy and then quickly gets under your skin. It also makes me feel weirdly calm and happy even though it’s pretty much about death.

For you: 

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