Here We All Are on This Roller Coaster Together

I recently finished reading the book The Great Failure by Natalie Goldberg. The book, as the title suggests, is all about failure; Goldberg’s failures, and the failures of the two most important men in her life (her father and her Zen teacher). Near the end of the book I came across one part that really struck me:

“After I die . . . I wouldn’t want people to say of me only ‘She was a great teacher’ or ‘I loved her writing.’ I would like at least one person to come closer, to add, ‘She was also lonely, she suffered a lot. She was mixed up. She made some big mistakes.’ Then tell those mistakes and sum up: ‘But she was important to me.’ Then I would feel really honored, as though someone had seen and known me” (Goldberg, The Great Failure, p. 190-191).

I loved this firstly because it’s always encouraging to realize that someone whose work you admire is also going through the same struggles. We all are. We can get delusional and imagine that other people (especially people who’ve achieved much outward success) are perfectly aligned and happy and going somewhere smart. But they’re just like the rest of us; they have the same jumble of clear transcendent days, heart-crushing dark days, and in-between hi-ho-type days.

I forget this constantly. What is it about suffering that can feel so lonely? No matter how many friends you have, there’s still the feeling that you have to get through it on your own. And on a certain level—you do—no one else can live your life for you. But to realize that we’re all walking along side-by-side, that someone else somewhere is going through this too—or has made it through and lived to tell about it—that really lightens things up.

Reading this also made me feel relieved—it’s OK to be mixed up and suffering! It’s OK to feel lonely and make mistakes! Sometimes I try so hard to run the other way, I want so badly to stop suffering, to never make another mistake. But that’s not how life is, and it’s OK. In fact, maybe it’s even a little bit beautiful that we will always be a big mess; a jumble of feelings and thoughts and changing moods. Maybe the real beauty of life is not in finding the straight and narrow {the even path} but instead in riding the roller coaster, hands in the air—crazy, wild, beautiful, messy, wet ride that it is.

So here we all are at the amusement park, riding the rides and eating too much cotton candy. That’s life. And wouldn’t you love to be able to look back and see that you let it take you for a ride, instead of trying to have the whole thing on lock-down? Think about how many adventures you would miss if you kept trying to hold on with a death-grip. Let us all take a minute to loosen our hands and let it take us. This magical, unpredictable, joyful, painful, messy, flowing life.


7 Responses to “Here We All Are on This Roller Coaster Together”

  1. 2 shobasriaiyer April 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Great, honest, heart-felt thoughts delivered directly.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. 3 Hillary April 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    This was one of your best posts yet Nicole! And perfect for me today! Thanks for inspiring us all to look at the big picture and breathe.

  3. 5 tenchimouse April 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

    I’m that same rollercoaster Nicole. Don’t give up! I will NOT be defeated! “Always challenge”, as the Japanese say.

  4. 6 Jamie April 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    This post really resonated with me. I often feel like a bit of a mess and can lose perspective about things/hold on to tightly, so your post was a refreshing reminder to loosen that grip and to remember I am not alone!

  5. 7 Malea April 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Great post. Natalie Goldberg is one of my favorite writers.

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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