Life Is A Roller Coaster
A friend of mine sent me the below post “Roller Coaster” by Rabbi Brian. I wanted to share it with you for two reasons: 1 – It’s a good post, 2 – It comes from someone whose profession is to give answers to tough questions.
I respect Rabbi Brian’s honesty in saying some times life is tough. It is refreshing when people have the courage to share their feelings even if they are risking turning people off. Here’s someone whose job is to comfort, advice and guide. But in order to truly perform his job, he needs to be honest.
We live in a world where we are taught the only answer to “how are you?” Is “well, thank you.” We know sometimes we tell others we’re well but we absolutely believe others when they say they are doing great and their life is perfect. The result of these false exchanges is that we wonder if there is something wrong with us. After all everyone else seems to be doing just fine.
When I started The Love Project Inc., I never thought I had answers to give. What I thought and still think is that I have a desire to share my life process. By exposing my struggle, I hope to let others know they are not alone. I also believe there is great freedom in honesty.
I also believe when we relate in honesty, we create communities which in turn support and cradle us. Life is not so much about the results but about the process when time and time again we are asked to embrace our humanity.
From the desk of Rabbi Brian
A week ago, I felt much like I do today. Two days ago, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, almost in tears, because I was overwhelmed with how hard life seems. Yet yesterday, I was just fine. How did I move so quickly from being fine, to being despondent, and back to fine again?
I’m not certain I have a good answer for how this happened.
However, I can tell you that this movement from nadir to neutral to zenith to neutral led me to developing a pseudo-philosophy – life is like a roller coaster.
(I’m somewhat proud to have a pseudo-philosophy on life. As a rabbi, I feel I ought to have a good one-liner that says life is like something or other.)
Life is like a roller coaster.
Emotions come and go, and often they’re intense. Being subjected to such grueling inner turmoil (at times) is just part of the process of being an awake human being.
We all have good days and not so good days.
(The alternative is being a person who flatlines and doesn’t feel much of anything.)
I don’t know people who take issue with the fact that our hair grows. It’s just a part of being alive. Having good days and bad days, similarly, is just a component of being alive.
Of course, few of us welcome the bad days or the bad hair days, but they are just part of the package.
Think about being on an actual, not proverbial, roller coaster.
Most of us, when we’re on amusement ride, have some degree of faith in the “system.” You trust the physical structure, the operator, the driver, and whoever built the ride. You assume the architects and engineers who constructed the thing knew what they were doing. You have faith that the entire system isn’t going to collapse.
That’s why it can be fun to be on a roller coaster. You have some degree of certainty that no matter how scary it may be, you’re not going to fall off.
My question is, can you have the same amount of “fun” while being on your emotional roller coaster?
Let me ask you this: on an actual roller coaster ride, do you think the proper thing to do is to be stoic? No! On the contrary, I like to scream my lungs out. I’m all in favor of “When you are scared, scream. When you are overwhelmed, be overwhelmed.” I believe this philosophy applies to both actual and proverbial rides.
Don’t sit on either type of roller coaster and say calmly, “Well, I really ought not be terrified and screaming. That just isn’t right.”
You know that feeling you get in your stomach when the roller coast starts to go down – that combination of nausea and terror – nobody wants to feel that way, but it’s just part of the ride. You accept it as such when you are strapped in. Have you the guts to do the same in your life?
In our lives, we all have that feeling sometimes. We don’t want it, we don’t enjoy it, but it does pass. Just like the amusement park ride will not last forever, our emotional experiences, by nature, are temporary.
For me, sometimes I feel so bad that I can’t remember what it feels like not to have that nauseous feeling. I know, intellectually, that the discomfort will pass. I just need to have a little bit of faith in the roller coaster.
I hope you’re doing well and enjoying your proverbial ride.
This week’s spiritual-religious advice: when you are scared, be scared.