Good to get your email, though of course I’m sorry that this is a rough time for you. Having to cut off a relationship that held such promise but that ended up being destructive—that’s hard to do. People like Craig are hard to cut off, right? They’re so charming. They promise so much, and give almost nothing. And when you call them on their failure to live up to their promises, they always have a reason, don’t they. From now on things will be different.
You wish Craig could have the guts to cut this thing off, but those people never do. You have to be the one. It’s painful to cut yourself off from something that seems so good, or that could be so good, if only . . . . I feel for you. But these are the decisions that wise adults make. If you can make them, the door opens and there’s a chance you can enter the house of happiness. But if you don’t make them, the door doesn’t even open. Which is why most people are living their lives camped outside that closed door.
I just want to encourage you today. Keep making the good decisions. In the short run they will entail pain, but even in pain we can experience joy—the inmost knowledge that life is Ok as-is. And just the deep, inner satisfaction and gratification of knowing that you’ve done something true, even as it stings. Which is very different from the “hang-over” feeling of having had some imagined happiness or pleasure that you know, deep down (where the same feelings of satisfaction and gratification register) that it’s not real. Reality is its own reward. And the thing is, life is made up of one little choice followed by another little choice. They all add up, they’re cumulative. So you can’t do one true thing and hope that—instantly—you’ll feel great. It takes a series, a long concatenation of choices to produce the outcome, the good feeling. It’s like with meditation. The masters say, Don’t look for results. Don’t get out of your seat and go look in the mirror and see if you have any more light in your face. Just sit. And let other people tell you, “You know, you look a little more luminous these days…” You get the light by sitting and sitting and sitting for days and months and years.
So keep making those good, true decisions. Keep accepting the pain of what is true and real. (It was Scott Peck, I think, who defined neurosis as “the rejection of legitimate suffering.”) That is like labor pain, sister—it leads to life!