“That’s one of my favorite books,” I told her, craning my neck to see what other jewels she had.
Unphased, she rifled through a few more. ”Then, you’ll like this one, I think,” she said.
I stuffed it in my bag and forgot about it in the wake of bronchitis and $500 spend on medicines that didn’t help much. Yesterday, I decided I was done being sick—not physically, I’m a long way from well, but mentally. I threw my book bag over my shoulder, took a slow stroll over the railroad yard to the Starbucks at HyVee, and settled into a cafe booth to journal. And I found the book Megan loaned me. Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.
By the end of Chapter 2, I had to close my eyes and sit quietly while all the doors inside opened.
I could see how my fear of repeating last year (bronchitis—depression—hospitalization) pushed me into going to the doctor and obscured what I knew to be true. Medicine has never helped me recover from my chronic respiratory infections and only drains my resources. But Fear drowned out that quiet voice, the one that understands it just takes time, patience and healthy practices to get well.
Radical Acceptance talks about waking up from the trance of unworthiness and accepting all our immediate experience offers. From that perspective, I could see how I might work with my fear differently next time. There’s nothing new in this approach—it’s as old as Buddhism—but coming face-to-face with the perfect example always slams home the Teaching.
To simply see that fear is in play is the first and hardest hurdle. It acts as an underground driver, pushing, directing, demanding action. So to be able to wake up in that agitation and See what stirs it takes practice. Then, the task is to observe the fear, hold it gently, watch the stories it generates, feel the push and pull, and listen carefully to the quiet voice on the other side of it. That quiet voice is my own Wisdom, something I don’t trust anymore, something that got lost in the sea of delusion my bipolar disorder created. But, in accepting my fear I begin to Remember. I remember that I do have a wiser self that isn’t delusional or lying. I’ve ignored it a long time. I’m out of practice finding it.
I sat in my booth and listened. This wise part of me is so quiet, so gentle. It offers suggestions that are kind and sensible, not the wild plans of my delusions.
I smiled, grateful for the doors opening, grateful for a new way to Practice, grateful for finding my new therapist and her glorious bookshelf.
I have enough.
I am enough.
All will be well.