Monday, December 9, 2013

Storm's Comin'

What exactly compelled me to read Laura Munson's This Is Not The Story You Think It Is? I don't usually have an interest in memoirs. She's writing about riding through a rough patch in her marriage, and I don't have a spouse.
I have mentioned Laura Munson before, in terms of an article, but I wanted to get a broader view, if possible. 

Ma for years attended a shiur featuring a psychologist, and one of the peanut gallery piped up, "Why are we constantly talking about depressing things?" He usually discussed the mind, reactions to situations, and the like, but because she wasn't in a bad point in her life, she had no interest. 

My perspective is that life rarely smooth; it is a matter of when, not if, something nasty hits the fan. It's not that I am suspicious of happiness, that it must come to an end. I'm simply all about preparation; whenever I travel, I tuck in every "just in case" available up to tsunami conditions. 

The same way one is supposed to save money in their youth so they can grow old with some sort of comfort, so to one should review the theory for coping mechanisms. Because something unpleasant will show up, one day. Everyone has some form of aggravation in their lives, as well as the bliss.

When the nasty does show, I don't want to run around like a harried hostess, "I didn't know you were coming! I can't deal with you now!" I want to casually offer it a seat at the kitchen, pour it a hospitable cup of tea, and try to calmly figure out which bedroom I should put it in since it's going to be here for a while.

I don't think the means to deal differ as to the situation at hand. As Munson writes, "Pain is pain." Being able to handle pain, no matter what the situation is, tends to dwindle down to a few truths. Truth is truth, no matter the source.
Munson's greatest agony, which she expresses over and over (and over and over) is that she wrote a myriad of novels but was never published. Well, her writing style is not the most purple of prose; she repeatedly uses the phrase "We were fun" to describe her early relationship with her husband. And considering the financial crisis her family is in, she seems to do a lot of unnecessary spending. 

But Munson, as a self-professed "seeker of wisdom," delves for knowledge of the mind and soul in any avenue. She does learn and grow during this time. She writes of how, according to many philosophies, the end of suffering comes with the end of wanting. 

While still in the midst of her book, I was scrolling through the most viewed talks on TED, and watched Dan Gilbert on "The Surprising Science of Happiness." 

Guess what? Truth is truth.

The same way pain is pain. 

Munson's book is conversational, drags a bit, and she does curse to herself in frustration, but she proves the validity of taking the long view. To choose not to react to childish lashing out by not accepting it for face value. To opt for steadiness and ride out the storm.
Because a storm's always coming. Better have the cellar ready.   

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