I liked this quote the moment I read it, and then I changed my mind.
“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.”
― José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love
Okay, at first I thought it might be a little dispassionate. And I also thought it was a clear statement of claiming our own choices, of setting our own boundaries, of us guiding our own lives.
After all, don’t we have the right to be happy and fulfilled? Don’t we have the right to be around people which lift us up?
This sort of attitude misses the point, though. First of all, there is no “away”.
That’s right: just as there is no “away” for trash that we think we’re throwing away, there is no “away” place for us to escape to.
Any basic physics student will tell you, the First Law of Thermodynamics explains that nothing goes away, no energy simply ceases to be.
Thich Nhat Hanh explains that a cloud never dies. It simply changes from one thing into something else.
Similarly, in our relationships between the people in our lives, and in our relationship with our own self, anything unresolved won’t be settled by our walking away. (or running away!) That doesn’t mean that we should stay in a situation where we’re feeling physically threatened or abused. However, it means that for us to “walk away” we can do best by taking a few steps away from our usual selves, from our anger, from our judgment of others. This can give us perspective to look more deeply into our part of the “problem” and looking more about how we’re responding to our reactions.
A different perspective is healthier than putting on our hazmat suits to try to protect ourselves from all types of drama. Armoring ourselves doesn’t work too well in helping us live fully. The armor simply puts a wall between us and the things which seem to be toxic to us.
Better for us to accept things as they are, work with things as they are, love things as they are, and then choose to evolve ourselves towards what sustains us.