The Pragmatic Hybrid

A love letter in 17 parts.

1. This letter is for me. It might also be for you.

2. Seventeen is today’s lucky number.

3. Chances are, the other person in a touchy situation you find yourself in is not a villain, and not a hero. They’re just people, “seeking happiness and avoiding the causes of unhappiness,” as Buddhists say. It’s safe to assume good intent.

4. In other words, it’s not about you.

5. Or, that part is not about you. The part that is about you: who you become in response.

6. The easy thing: to kick them out of your heart completely, and close it against them.

7. The other easy thing: to creep into their lane, to try to handle their business (and forget to handle your own).

8. The hard (bordering-on-impossible), master level of play: to love them, and keep a soft corner of your heart for them, while simultaneously remembering that what serves the highest good is keeping your commitments to your Self.

9. Your responsibility is to your own life.

10. It’s easy (and tempting) to use your righteous, manufactured anger as the fuel to launch yourself into doing what you must do.

11. Resist this. Find alternate fuel sources.

12. Injury-as-kindling removes all power from you, and places it squarely outside of you.

13. When, in reality, there’s no villain here. No bad actors. Just regular humans, negotiating the world with a lifetime (each) of history and hurts and lost loves, stumbling sometimes under unexpected burdens.

14. It’s natural to wobble. The challenge is to continually bring yourself back to reality, to the center, to the truth, which is that you don’t know anything about anything. This is the tender, demanding path you’re committed to.

15. Why would you want to shut it down, or turn it off? Yes, I know it hurts. Your giant heart is the most beautiful thing about you. It’s worth a little pain to keep it open.

16. Sometimes, in even what landed like unmitigated bad news, there was the intention of kindness and protection, with your name on it specifically. Look for it.

17. Writing solves problems that have nothing to do with writing. If the frustrated value is love, or freedom, or self-expression, or something else, write. See if it doesn’t start to unravel your heart’s defenses.

 

 

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