Monday, June 21, 2010

Quote of the Day & Some Thoughts

"If you seek escape for its own sake and run away from the world only because it is (as it must be) intensely unpleasant, you will not find peace and you will not find solitude." — Thomas Merton

I pilfered the above quote from CMack. It makes me think, as good old Thomas Merton usually does. I wish he'd follow this up with some directions about how to find peace and solitude. Living in NYC, this is sorely lacking in my life, especially with a new job that keeps me busy every minute of every day.

I used to read Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama, they have a lot of suggestions for how to find peace and solitude. But I think Buddhist philosophy assumes you're starting out with a certain calmness that someone so prone to anxiety and distress as I am just flat-out lacks. I'm so super sensitive to everything in the world. Not just getting easily upset at comments other people make, or being super sensitive to other people's issues and problems, but I'm talking about literally everything in life. Thus the diagnosis that I am a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I was looking around my bathroom yesterday and laughing - all of my products are the "sensitive" version. Contact solution, toothpaste, shampoo, facewash, hair products, shaving cream, lotion - anything you can think of, I need the sensitive version. In order to go outside in the beautiful summer (hello summer, I'm so glad you're here!), I need to put on several coats of SPF 30 and drag along the bottle of sunscreen plus a baseball cap and a long-sleeved t-shirt just in case. Buddhist calm is a far ways away.

I realize this sounds like a complaint, but it's not. If I wasn't so sensitive, I wouldn't be the person I am, I know that this defines my life. But my question is, how does a hypersensitive person like me not only exist in the world (it's so difficult for me to be in a work environment with the freezing temperature and the loud coworkers... the chewing, good lord the chewing... and the pressure and the criticism), but how do we do that while gaining a sense of peace in the day-to-day? I need to figure this out, because instead I get overwhelmed, and it's not productive.

I know one answer is to not be working in this industry, which is why my future plans include a college classroom and a quiet office of my own, hopefully out of the city somewhere where there's nature and maybe water. But right now, this is where I am. So I need to find my peace. Beatles music gets me far, but not far enough. It's hard not to run away from the world to find it. I need to figure how to be in the midst of this world and find peace. One of my life's great quests.


nicoleshoe said...

always always always take lunch :) and go for a walk if possible...

Lisa said...

:) Thanks Nicole!