In the movies, the audience usually anticipates some kind of happy ending, a somewhat satisfying resolution to life’s challenges or problems in just an hour or two. And when you leave the movie theatre or shut the screen off, you are given some level of hope that there are happy endings--that life can work out, prayers do get answered, and dreams do come true.
But (here comes the “but”), what happens to the all the other people—the people who don’t get their prayers answered—or, the ones that get an answer they don’t like, or the ones that they don’t make Hollywood films about? Look, I’m not trying to knock hope or its power to carry us through difficult times. Hope is the key ingredient to the faith that our life is working out, that things do get better, that obstacles can be overcome! However, what we often forget is that, in real life, even happy endings don’t last for long—there are always more problems and challenges and life constantly require our making. That’s why we need hope so badly! We don’t get to throw in the towel and ride on the glow of our last victory for long. Life is constantly moving, and we need to move with it. We can’t just stop generating our lives—turning on the autopilot of applause forever. I mean, what if one day you are elected President, and the next thing you know, they want to impeach you?
Oh, yes, we can, and should, celebrate and enjoy our accomplishments and those moments of clarity when we make those “fork in the road” decisions—but our stories are far from over—the road is not yet fully traveled. One happy ending, is just another beginning. I’ve learned the hard way—I keep waiting for life to get easier. Of course, there have been periods in my life of ease and comfort. These places usually have included family, friends, and ritual. When the familiarity of life takes on a comforting rhythm, and you don’t have to effort or think too much, you just show up and follow a schedule, or the way things have “always been done.” Sometimes swayed into complacency-- a deep reverie of forgetfulness and restoration all in one—a storing up for our next new awakening and sharp realization that our time here on the planet is limited. We need to get going on to our next adventure—the next bend in the road is calling your name. But these windows of respite allow us to prepare for the next chapter of our lives. These periods of grace give us the courage to take on our next learning curve.
These momentarily periods of respite allow us to review our last successes and failures and process, and integrate our learning so we can map our next steps. We get to choose again! These “lulls” in our thrust forward, often not valued our results driven culture, are a much-needed part of the cycle of life—the ebb and flow that are necessary to our “be continued,” healthy growth and development.
When we allow for these periods, we can cut ourselves some much needed slack and fall into them with a sense of peace, instead of consistently resisting what may appear like stationary or backward motion. In fact, what nobody may have told you, these periods in our lives serve an integral part of our growth process because they allow us to feel into the space of our lives and determine what we will say “yes” to next with our precious time and energy. This is what being mindful is all about. It allows us to approach each part of lives with reverence and appreciate all parts of the journey—not just, so to speak—the “happy endings.” We begin to be more selective about what we do with our time—clearing out the situations, people, and beliefs that no longer serve us. We begin to choose those things that just make us feel good, and begin to loosen our grip on the rest—the parts that we were lead to believe would fulfill us, but tragically fell short. We get to stop beating our head against the wall, table, or desk!
So...., next time you feel a happy ending coming on, or maybe a not so happy ending, please know that it is all part of a beautiful, great cycle called life, meant to bring you to a finer experience of who you are. You are not the “good” or “bad” ending, you are the witness—having the distinct pleasure of enjoying the full spectrum of a life well lived. Because, to tell you the truth—things are rarely all good or bad—everything has a cost and pay off depending how you look at it. Therefore, when things get tough, or you get lost in the fog of this wild ride called life, please remember what one famous author once wrote: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” And with all this being said—I wonder, what you will be saying “yes” to next in your life? Good luck out there—go get’em tiger! (said with wink, but definitely not in a cheesy way). Happy New Year!
tiger! (said with wink, but definitely not in a cheesy way).