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Suffering is Not Enough

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began,  I had managed to remain quite calm. But last night, after reading a friend’s panicked FB post, I suddenly became anxious. It hit me that I might deliver the baby during this quarantine. (Baby is due early July). I wondered if I would be all alone in the hospital room, and my mind creatively imagined the worst. (I should use that kind of creativity in my writing!)

As much as I told myself I shouldn’t think of the future, because I have NO IDEA what will happen, and as much as I told myself I needed to focus on the present, I simply couldn’t.

When I woke up this morning, I immediately turned off Wifi & data service from my mobile, turned off Wifi from my laptop, and then picked up a book that I’ve been meaning to read but “never had time”.

The book couldn’t be more timely! It really calmed me down and most importantly, it reminded me of what I know logically but sometimes forget: life is both dreadful and wonderful.

There are many amazing things in this world, and yet we tend to concentrate on what is not going well. I am trying to challenge this human negativity bias that I and many of us have, but being online makes it more difficult.

Sitting on my desk now, I hesitated before turning Wifi back on, but here I am. I would like to share some excerpts of the book, maybe it can help ease your feelings of anxiety.

SUFFERING IS NOT ENOUGH, by Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time.”

“If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we can not share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof.”

“We are so busy we hardly have time to look at the people we love, even in our own household, and to look at ourselves. Society is organized in a way that even when we have some leisure time, we don’t know how to use it to get back in touch with ourselves.”

“Each day [..] children die of hunger, the superpowers now have enough [..] to destroy our planet many times. Yet the sunrise is beautiful, and the rose that bloomed this morning along the wall is a miracle. Life is both dreadful and wonderful.”

DSC_1926
Waregem, Belgium; July 2019

 

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