2. Why read my shit anyway?

For us all, this is the point of this journey; to find peace where it always is if only can find it- within ourselves.

Ok. So here I am at my second entry. Thank you for getting this far. If you’re at all like me, you’re probably thinking, “Nice. Two whole entries. He’s gonna get, like, six entries into this blog and then it’ll go dark.” Ha! Not so. I really want to contribute to the dialogue.

Like I said in my first entry, the people we read, watch or hear about who are ‘spiritual’ seem like their personal experiences were a big part of how they became what they are today. And they often fall into one of three situations: They might have grown up in such horrible circumstances that they knew they had to be different if they were going to survive their childhood. Or else they had some sort of catastrophic life-changing, or near-death experience. Or else they’re a doctor giving their professional opinion.

In any case, most of us aren’t doctors and many of us didn’t have either of the life experiences I mentioned above and so have had no real impetus or drive to start a seemingly aimless stroll down some garden path toward Nirvana or Kumbaya or their “happy place”.

I was pretty lucky. While my family was not without its issues- what family isn’t- I never had to come to grips with rampant alcoholism, physical or sexual abuse. Yes, I was bullied mercilessly at school when I was younger and yes, there was emotional abuse in my family.

To me, my childhood was simply my experience, my existence. I didn’t know different, I didn’t know better. I just knew something wasn’t right. And I was open to anything that might illuminate that difference which means I’ve always been a little on the outside of every group and every relationship I’ve been a part of, looking for truth and a different perspective on life and how to live it.

For the record, I blame no one in my past. Life as we experience it is a collision- and a collusion- of thousands of not millions of variables that amount to the throwing of dice.

For me, some aspects of this crap shoot were spectacularly fortunate. For those I am infinitely grateful. Meanwhile, other aspects, not so much. In retrospect, I’m grateful for those less fortunate aspects too. And yes, I’ll talk about it one day, I’m sure.

What I can’t deny though, is these experiences together drove me to kneel down on the kitchen floor in front of the stove when I was nine years old with a paring knife pressed against my forearm urging myself to draw the sharp blade across my wrist- to having still today a life-long difficulty to build close, trusting relationships.

They were survivable thanks to a really strong and vigilant ego. For that, I honour my ego. Because without it, I would probably not be here today. It was quite the realization for me but honouring my ego was a huge step in my journey from my head toward my heart and finding peace within myself.

For us all, this is the point of this journey; to find peace where it always is if only can find it- within ourselves.

Some of you had it much worse growing up, I know. Like I said, I’m an ordinary guy living an ordinary life. We’re not comparing war-wounds from our childhood. My point is that in my own personal experience, I had nothing solid to push against to launch my journey.

For me it has always felt like being on a ship as it almost imperceptibly starts to pull away from the dock, turns, and then begins to build momentum as it heads out towards the horizon.

There were a couple of times when I screwed up, the ship hit rocks had to return to the dock for repairs and start again.

The progress has been slow and sometimes hard to measure. There have been times when I’ve dragged myself to the next level kicking and screaming.

But in another way, I have also been fortunate. I have been a transit bus driver.

I may not have a counselling practise but after hauling hundreds of folks around in transit buses every day for ten years, I got to know people. I got to know what pushes their buttons and what makes them respond positively. I say “they” because while I don’t have the statistics rendered from psychological studies, I have learned the aggregated behaviours of humans as a species.

The human species necessarily includes you- no matter where you are on the planet, how old you are, what ethnicity, culture, or emotional state. Because in the aggregate, you can see universal truisms found in everyone. In fact, for every individual’s differences, you can actually see what makes every person the same- the Universe lives within us. As a bonus, you can see spirituality, embraced or denied, in every single person.

Nothing is more stressful for the average person on an average day than taking a transit bus. I have seen many people at their absolute worst- and I can’t blame them.

You can see the anxiety in their faces as I pull up to the bus stop: I’m late. They’re late. The bus is full. They’re short on their fare. They’ve been shoved in the queue to board. The bus stinks. Their bags are heavy. They missed their last bus. It’s raining. The last bus driver yelled at them. They’ve had a rough day at work or at home. They’ve been drinking or taken drugs. And yes, sometimes its all of the above at the same time.

I’ve also seen people at their best. Despite the stresses of taking public transport, I’ve seen random acts of kindness, of humility, of vulnerability which gave others on the bus pause to consider that the Human race is not all that bad after all.

I’ve shared high and low moments with my passengers, from new jobs and birth of first grandchildren, to job loss and death of parents. From those who have lost everything including hope, to billionaires riding the wave of financial success.

And then I’ve dealt with other motorists out there in the road as they drown in unparalleled levels of ego careening down city streets, expressing impatience and anger in a multitude of dangerously inappropriate ways while behind the wheel.

In addition to the thousands of thank yous, notes, and delightful conversations, I garnered over 200 customer commendations- an almost unprecedented number- with zero complaints. I genuinely believe I know people. And you are one of them- as am I. Gloriously imperfect, all of us struggling within self-imposed limitations, all of us doing the best we can with what we have.

For me, until just a few years ago, I had no personal boundaries. I didn’t understand the difference between needs and wants. I struggled with depression and desperately looked for love when I had none to give. Even just a couple of years ago, I had a plan in mind to take my life and briefly considered taking steps toward enacting it.

I’ve also been an emotional abuser and there was a time when I drank too much. I once took a swing at my partner and while I never made contact, I will never forget the act (and neither will my partner). I have forgiven myself for that dark time in my life but I will never forget it.

And now, although far from the “perfect” life that is only lived by monks (thank goodness), my life is centred and balanced. I find happiness when and where it happens. And when it does happen, I am grateful for that moment which only makes it sweeter. I live in peace despite a new and super-stressful job because I don’t find reward in drama. And I check myself every day to be accountable to myself to ensure I’m always present and real in as many interactions with people as I can.

Is that hard work? Of course it is- sometimes. But the rewards are worth it. Every. Single, Time.

Trust me. Read on.

And so enough about me for now. What about you? Where are you on your journey and what has brought you to this place and time in your life to be scrolling through this blog?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Be good to yourself. Be kind to others.

Be well.

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