I wrote a journal piece 10 years ago, on my effort to understand which stories work for me and which don’t. I posted it as “Choices & Dysfunctional Beliefs.” It’s painful to me that I’ve been struggling with PTSD for 10 years, and am still struggling with it. I’m struggling to accept that I will never be “all better now.” I think having that expectation means that I’m continually disappointed with myself. I look out ahead of me, and I see a grey waste, punctuated with a few bright lights.
I look back, to 1971, when I was having a truly dreadful time. I remember being cold a lot and terrified. I looked up some passages from that time and copied them into my document of raw material for this blog. Then I suddenly felt totally terrified and lost, and realized that looking at that material was too dangerous for me. I haven’t looked at it again. But it does give me an index. Forty years ago I was struggling with PTSD and had no idea. So I have come a long long way.
I’ve been reading a book “The Art of Possibility” and in the chapter called “Giving an A” is a story about Thurgood Marshall when he retired from the Supreme Court. He was asked what accomplishment he was most proud of. He said “That I did the best I could with what I had.” (p46) That made me feel OK with my long struggle. I can truly say I did the best with what I had. I have no regrets. There are many painful incidents that I wish had never happened, and I wish I had had more help along the way, but all the choices I made — looking back I see they were bad choices — but I didn’t have any choice at the time, I didn’t know a lot that I know now.
The Buddhist belief in reincarnation is one that I hold, even though I have no idea what the mechanism is. Will I feel like I’ve waked up from a dream of Jenny’s life? Or will Jenny disappear and the energy that animated her go on into someone entirely different? One of the things that’s motivated me this lifetime, is to do as much healing as possible so whoever gets this energy next will have an easier time. Back when I was still a practicing Buddhist, and looking at people’s lives from the point of view of reincarnation, it seemed to me that you could work on one single issue your whole life. If it weren’t that we keep coming back again and again, trying to learn more and heal more, I would feel like our single lives are wasted. That also helps me accept how difficult this life has been.