(35.40) Roller Coaster

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The 77% Weekly
The 40/52-weeks-a-year, quick-reading, thought-lingering, spiritual-religious newsletter.

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35/40
From the desk of Rabbi Brian

Roller Coaster


A week ago, I felt much like I do today. Two days ago, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, almost in tears, because I was overwhelmed with how hard life seems. Yet yesterday, I was just fine. How did I move so quickly from being fine, to being despondent, and back to fine again?
I’m not certain I have a good answer for how this happened.
However, I can tell you that this movement from nadir to neutral to zenith to neutral led me to developing a pseudo-philosophy – life is like a roller coaster.
(I’m somewhat proud to have a pseudo-philosophy on life. As a rabbi, I feel I ought to have a good one-liner that says life is like something or other.)
Life is like a roller coaster.
Emotions come and go, and often they’re intense. Being subjected to such grueling inner turmoil (at times) is just part of the process of being an awake human being.
We all have good days and not so good days.
(The alternative is being a person who flatlines and doesn’t feel much of anything.)
I don’t know people who take issue with the fact that our hair grows. It’s just a part of being alive. Having good days and bad days, similarly, is just a component of being alive.
Of course, few of us welcome the bad days or the bad hair days, but they are just part of the package.
Think about being on an actual, not proverbial, roller coaster.
Most of us, when we’re on amusement ride, have some degree of faith in the “system.” You trust the physical structure, the operator, the driver, and whoever built the ride. You assume the architects and engineers who constructed the thing knew what they were doing. You have faith that the entire system isn’t going to collapse.
That’s why it can be fun to be on a roller coaster. You have some degree of certainty that no matter how scary it may be, you’re not going to fall off.
My question is, can you have the same amount of “fun” while being on your emotional roller coaster?
Let me ask you this: on an actual roller coaster ride, do you think the proper thing to do is to be stoic? No! On the contrary, I like to scream my lungs out. I’m all in favor of “When you are scared, scream. When you are overwhelmed, be overwhelmed.” I believe this philosophy applies to both actual and proverbial rides.
Don’t sit on either type of roller coaster and say calmly, “Well, I really ought not be terrified and screaming. That just isn’t right.”
You know that feeling you get in your stomach when the roller coast starts to go down – that combination of nausea and terror – nobody wants to feel that way, but it’s just part of the ride. You accept it as such when you are strapped in. Have you the guts to do the same in your life?
In our lives, we all have that feeling sometimes. We don’t want it, we don’t enjoy it, but it does pass. Just like the amusement park ride will not last forever, our emotional experiences, by nature, are temporary.
For me, sometimes I feel so bad that I can’t remember what it feels like not to have that nauseous feeling. I know, intellectually, that the discomfort will pass. I just need to have a little bit of faith in the roller coaster.
I hope you’re doing well and enjoying your proverbial ride.
This week’s spiritual-religious advice: when you are scared, be scared.

With love,

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian

The 77% Weekly

The 77% Weekly: The Religion-Outside-The-Box Newsletter
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