Monday, September 29, 2014

"Live the life in front of you.'

      "A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world."                 
                                                                                      -Alan Watts


     When our inner dialogue creates the myth of how our greatest achievements are in the past we need to remind ourselves immediately that we are indeed living in the past. It is easy for the mind to conjure up memories of supposedly happier times. This type of nostalgia is notably reflected in the character Uncle Rico from the movie " Napoleon Dynamite". He tries to recapture his high school quarterback glory days by ordering a time machine from the Internet. All of us have a tendency to romanticize the past especially when we are unsure of the future or uncomfortable with our current situation. When we begin to speak and think in past terms our mind is no longer in the present moment. We are robbing ourselves of precious time in the here and now.

     Do you recall a scene in the comedy classic, "Arthur" where Sir John Gielgud's character unpredictably slaps Dudley Moore in the face after he complains about being unloved? 
"You spoiled little bastard! You're a man who has everything, haven't you, but that's not enough. You feel unloved, Arthur, welcome to the world. Everyone is unloved. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself. And incidentally, I love you." 
    Figuratively, every one of us needs the Hobson slap on occasion to remind us we are not the center of the universe. Life altering events occur in our later years but the unexpected can occur at any moment. Parents experience Empty-Nest Syndrome or grown children move across the country and lose a sense of togetherness. Sadly, you may lose a spouse or significant other. Perhaps you move  a long distance after a job loss or start fresh in a new city after divorce. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Love yourself. We can't expect others to love us if we are not capable of understanding and loving our own true nature. If we feel unloved, ignored or unimportant we should begin to examine, explore and rediscover what we actually need to feel fulfilled. Learn to be comfortable alone. Embrace moments of solitude. There is no one more deserving of your love than you. Most importantly, find a way to comfort and serve others who really need you. Live with compassion. It may not be family, a spouse, a lover or your own children you help but their is a way your love, strength and wisdom are valued and greatly needed in our world.

      Start a new career. Go to school. Take a boxing class. Run a marathon. Adopt a shelter dog. Pose nude for a portrait. Dance until dawn. Learn a new language. Travel. Write a blog. Eat a gallon of ice cream in your underwear. Save the world. It's YOUR LIFE. And it is happening right now. Too many people under forty consider themselves old.  They have their entire future career path streamlined to retirement. When we are concocting all the charts and graphs, analysing data and saving for the stereotypical "old age" mindset, where is your NOW? Are you enjoying life now ? Why do people believe they will be happy in the future if they are incapable of being happy in the present ? Human beings have the desire and capacity to accomplish so much more than we allow each other. We are developing new skills and challenging ourselves at every age. Don't ever let insecure people tell you, YOU ARE TOO OLD. When your spirit is being drowned in a sea of cynical pessimism, it's time to reevaluate the people surrounding you.
     Truth in life's advertising. You can't stop the aging process. But  you can't stop dreaming. Sure there are entire industries of doctors, pharmaceutical companies and beauty product campaigns dedicated and thriving on keeping our society self-conscious about sexual performance, grey hair or sagging skin. People will always choose procedures or "quick fixes" if they truly believe it will make them happier. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good or more confident. Do you have to rely on them? The most beautiful people I know or have known accept that we are all aging. It is natural. It is life. Like all things, we too shall pass. Beauty and grace shine in the wisdom of our acceptance.