It is in fact very easy to fall into the trap of believing one is entitled to more – Tim for much of his life seemed to be one of those under that delusion. As well, it is just as true that life can just really stink and that’s just the way it is. Maybe if I gave Tim anything in his finaly years, its the knowledge that YES, life stinks, but happiness can be found in much simpler pleasures. Drowning the psychological warfare with chemicals, merely saves them up for later. Far better to learn how to take what you need from birdsong, or a walk outside in the fresh & woodland air, or the nighttime sky, or the moon.
One can learn a lot from observing the power another can exhibit over you, how they can downright “do you wrong”… and nothing comes of it. Or, you do the right thing, you go out of your way, and the universe conspires to seemingly make everything that much worse.
Yet, is that really what’s going on? I believe its all relative to our perspective, or rather, where we choose to focus our energies.
Last night, as I was rolling into the last hour of my shift, on the TV in the room was playing the last scenes of BRAVEHEART. As I sat there listening to the woes of the customer I was assisting with their bill, I felt myself tense up. I turned away from the screen, and there it was playing on the OTHER TV as well; I had to look away.
I do LOVE that movie, but I never, ever want to see it again. The intense anger I felt throughout much of that story the first time I saw it, is too stressful for me. I remember I saw it downtown London, at one of the old theatres – either the Century or The Capitol. Down this long, gothic marbled hallway the three of us walked, silently. We left the theatre each lost in our own thoughts. Half way down, the silence was broken, and it would seem that we had all been profoundly moved.
It fills me, and swallows my hopeful spirit, the anger that movie conjures. It breathes this foul air, and I am enraged by how this horrible King, this insecure, domineering horrible man, decided to completely and absolutely wipe out and overrule this beautiful country, and this honour bound, value-ridden man. I get so, so wrapped up in that injustice. I hadn’t realized how powerful that emotion was though, until last night.
As I sat there, as the hour rolled by, I found I became more and more angry. It welled up, and when the last call took me over the 9:05p mark, and I knew I’d missed my bus, it bubbled up and almost spilled over. I contained it by talking out loud to myself as I tramped off in the cold arctic blast towards my bus, so I could wait in the cold for another 20 minutes.
Oh, the injustice of it all. Boo Hooo…poor me.
It was at some point, upon my long journey back to my Gypsy-boho-bachelor pad, that I came to the realization that some of this intensity stemmed from Mom’s death.
The injustice of her dying. That beautiful, fantastic, fair-minded, loving woman, why her? And you know? That movie Braveheart sat beside their TV, unwatched, the whole last two years of her life. She never took that time to watch it. For some reason I don’t know if I can explain, that seemed so unfair. She just hadn’t taken the time, and I know, I know, the lesson in that is certainly clear. Never leave the important things to later, there isn’t always a later…regardless of who you are, how good you are, how kind, or how much you may think you are needed.
Maybe that’s where forgiveness comes in. Or, maybe just finally the acceptance of that which we can not change.
As I was trudging through the snow to my bus stop last night, muttering away to myself, I could actually have been mistaken for an escapee from a psychiatric ward.
Now, on a calmer note, I see how it is really all about how you CHOOSE to see it. Can you just turn your back and walk away from injustice? Just ignore the profoundly unfair turns life can make? Can I just instead look up at the clear night sky, and think YES… regardless? Can I embrace the recognition that it IS a joy to be alive. To not be that horrible person. To NOT have to live within their withered, angry skin. To not have to associate with them, or HAVE to be in their presence. To realize that we ALL have the option to just WALK AWAY, is powerful. To be able to find something else to focus ones energies on; to find a more positive outlet to manifest change in the world.
I’m an idealist, and always have been. It fails me sometimes, yet I can’t help but still believe it is possible to change the world. If you concentrate on the seeds, and ignore the tree it will become. Just practice re-seeding the universe with positive energy, positive responses to negativity, and overtime you give back to the world alittle bit of hope.
In a book co-authored by the Dalai Lama, titled ‘The Art of Happiness‘, it speaks of the positive feedback being kind has to your soul. How being happy within yourself, can be achieved by giving joy to others. By simple gestures, like holding the elevator, or smiling at a stranger, thanking someone, or letting someone go ahead of you in line… just because. It maybe selfish, which is a spectacular realization. More of us should once and for all be selfish, instead of taking, and give back something to the universe, and embrace how wonderful that can make you feel.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. — ‘The Art of Happiness, by Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler
That seems so polly-anna-esque, yet, yet… I can attest to the truth in it. Compassion costs you nothing, yet gives back so much. Its not really I guess than about looking away, so much as giving back, and in return getting something brighter, and simpler, more companionable. A realization that all of us are wounded in some fashion, all of us our ashamed of some of our actions, and none of us is perfect. If someone is mean to me, so be it. If life is cruel, look somewhere else. If it seems as though the world is conspiring against you? Recognize that you are not beholden to continue along the path you are on, you can go in any other direction you care to. Or just choose to see it all in a different way instead. It helps to have a good imagination, and also a growing awareness of what you are doing when you are happy. 🙂 And then do more of that.
That is such a cliché, but I just can’t help myself.