I look back at a photo of the dog that I used to have, her name is Ruby. I thought about what I felt when she got lost, and when I had to give her up. There was such a feeling of pain due to loss of something that I loved. From the current point in time, that feeling seems so far away. I still feel adoration and love when I see a photo of her, but the feeling of loss and pain is no longer. Those moments of pain and love were very real, but fleeting. In all moments, all there is (subjectively) is what we are feeling/experiencing. Emotions are ephemeral. Whether it be pain, happiness, frustration, infatuation – they only are, while they are, until they are no longer. But what determines the things we hold onto? Is it voluntary? Involuntary? Do we even have a choice on the matter? I suppose it depends on how much we want something, and how much work we are willing to put in to maintain whatever it is, person, place, or thing. Take long term relationships for example, both parties, on a collective, and an individual level will go through various emotions: infatuation, annoyance, frustration, joy, pain, etc. The natural human reaction to discomfort is to flee from it for the sake of ‘protecting ourselves’. Whether it is an intrapersonal internal conflict, or an interpersonal external conflict, we can find several ways to deflect the issue at hand, either by substances, sex, or any other form of distraction/escapism, or just by physically running away from it, and separating ourselves from whatever thing, or person that is the object of our friction. But some things, we stick around for, we face. It’s not always roses and butterflies, and the truth of that gives way to whatever pain or frustration we need to feel in order to get past whatever issue (apparently) needs to be dealt with. There is an opportunity to see ourselves in the things that frustrate or annoy us, and in the judgments that we put onto the things outside of ourselves. I am learning to sit with the feelings as they come up. Whatever it may be, love, joy, frustration, sadness. Instead of trying to label them or give them reason, I just let myself feel them, deeply, without holding onto them, but with the knowing that ‘this too shall pass’. It’s sad, beautiful, truthful and it’s apart of living as a human being. On the other hand, I too find myself running away from things, fearing vulnerability. But it’s okay to be vulnerable, it shows more strength than weakness, more endurance than submittal. To experience things fully, we must accept both the good and the bad, and be willing to embrace, and let go of both. Let us live, love, and graciously learn.