Do you know the joke about the man who goes to get a new suit made? The tailor measures him and says come back in two weeks. The guy does and puts on the suit. It looks terrible. The left cuff comes down five inches too long, the lapels are completely uneven, the crotch hangs like harem pants. It’s the worst suit in the world. The guy complains but the tailor says he’s seeing it all wrong: ‘What you’ve got to do is pull up the left sleeve and hold it there with your chin. Then ooch your right shoulder up five inches so the lapels are even, put your right hand in the pocket of the pants and pull up the crotch…’ You get the idea.
"So the man does all this and ends up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But when he looks in the mirror again the suit looks wonderful. The tailor says, That’s the new style these days.’ So the jerk buys the suit and walks out of the store wearing it.
“He’s staggering down the street like Quasimodo and passes two men. They turn around and watch him limp away. The first guy says, ‘I feel so sorry for the handicapped.’ The other says, ‘Yeah, but what a fabulous suit!’
"It’s the best metaphor I’ve ever heard for how we try to make relationships like this work. Or what we do to ourselves to make anything important work"
My entire living practice has boiled down to “stay with my shit”. There are tricks - like breathing or running - to shortcut there when its difficult, but essentially its becoming simpler than I ever made it out to be. The light is just on the other side of the dark places, and we can spend a lifetime avoiding our dark places. Staying with my shit never fails to ground me and crack open just enough love to remember who I am.