Like a well-trained lab mouse, I've developed a coping mechanism, a way of working through life's unfairness, through the maze of bitter and sweet, a process I affectionately call “adapt and adjust”. I also call it “everything happens for a reason”, but that motto hasn’t been as effective because until (and if) the reason becomes apparent you've got to “adapt and adjust”. In other words, whatever the fear - big small, medium, large - whatever the pain, adapt to the new reality and adjust your actions accordingly.
Since then when the floor opens up under me (I am pretty good at balancing when the rug is pulled. The floor is a different story), I stop breathing, eating, drinking, and attend to the situation at hand. Like a triage nurse in a war zone, with my hair undone, I apply iodine, disinfect wounds, and bandage the un-bandagable...
When the crisis subsides, while you can still see the evidence of it by the circles under my eyes and an occasional eruption of a bad temper, I regroup almost immediately. First I start breathing again, eating and drinking (not necessarily in that order). Then I pick up exactly where I left off. Like a hungry animal, I jump on the joys of life as if they were a fresh piece of flesh I've just battled away from a pack of wolves. As a matter of fact, with each proverbial blow, or rather after it, as I am assessing the damage to my proverbial jaw, I get more joyful, more grateful, more introspective, more alive...more the person I aspire to be.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't claim that this is an ideal coping mechanism (if there is such a thing). I am sure Dalai Lama doesn't “cope”. He lives with joy, every day, every moment of the day – or does he? Once, I read that Dalai Lama had a health scare and had to be taken to a hospital. I thought, “How does he deal with it? Is he scared? Is there anyone he loves next to him saying “it’s going to be okay, Master, hang in there”. And does he look at them with smiling eyes and a mild reproach, as if to say “it’s all in God's hands, therefore it’s already okay”.
The wise of all ages proclaimed that the true beauty of life lies in all its expressions. I agree. I am just not wise enough yet to live it every moment of every day. Reaching this level of certainty would be like winning a Noble Price for Living and perhaps one day I will. In the meantime, I’ve got to move forward with as much dignity and grace as possible.
As I continue to get mixed grades on my spiritual exams, and especially when shit hits the fan, I repeat my chant, over and over again “adapt and adjust”. I shut my eyes and I invoke the Spirit of Certainty that's somewhere within me. Please tell me it’s all gonna be okay. It’s all already okay.