Have you ever found yourself getting angry, depressed, and somewhat outraged at life?
I mean on all accounts life is challenging. The ratio of suffering to pleasure is not equal in any leap of the imagination. And for any honest human on the planet life can at times be freaking hard. So when I reached an important turning point recently that helped me better deal with the highs and lows, I felt compelled to share. To best explain this I believe I need to back up about 6 - 9 months ago when I decided to adopt the mantra, 'see life as it really is not as I imagine it to be'. What does this mean? Well basically it means that humans are full of imagination and we more often than not ignite that imagination to cope with the suffering and realities of life. However that can be problematic if say for example you can't swim, but you imagine you'd be a great swimmer. And while you haven't had the same advantages of say an olympic swimmer, you want your equal shot at the title. So reality be damned you're going for it. You find a pool, you jump into the deep end, and well you get it. Failure in this example could be fatal physically and in life our failures brought on by the imagination of what you can do (untested and unmeasured) can be fatal emotionally. While the pool example is a little outlandish it begs to ask how often have you done a similar thing in careers, relationships, and life decisions. Lost in the comparison of what others are doing or have done and drowning in the desire to reap the same rewards. We often drive ourselves to be people we are not and achieve objectives that are not our own. Then we become caught victims of how we could do the same if only we had (fill in the blank). We ignite the imagination of what could be for ourselves, we go out unprepared for reality and then failure strikes (maybe again and again and again...). For me aware of this vicious cycle I employed the mantra 'see life as it really is not as I imagine it to be' in hopes to combat choices and comparisons that were taking there toll on my success. Painfully it did not work. You see shutting down the imagination took away the beautiful gift called, hope. Sure it made decisions pragmatic and logical. I was forced (using the pool analogy) to say, so you think you can swim as good as an olympic athlete, but you have never swam before? Let's do some research, talk to others for objective advice and test out our skills in the shallow end. However without the added power of the imagination I was stuck with the painful measurement of my current success and not the dreamy potential of my future. Then in a grumpy and frustrated stupor consumed with my lack of ability to measure up to self-endorsed standards imposed by our society and caught up in empty comparison a new mantra came to me, 'Make (Your) Life Great' (or *VITAM MAGNO to simplify in Latin if you choose to use it for meditation). In the most basic terms it means, celebrate life. Embrace the successes and failures the same. Be proud of the little things you have. Enjoy the fact that you are in the pool of life at all. You don't have to be an olympian or a winner of races. You only need to be happy with what you have done, do, do and best of all could do! So here's to celebrating all our individual lives, our choices, and being who we are. Here's to, 'Making Life Great!'
Speaking of making life great. I am proud to share I got into the Santa Cruz Film Festival and will be screening the World Premiere of my documentary Reaching Reality there on October, 13th. It's going to be a packed house and an amazing weekend in Santa Cruz (get your flight and hotel now).
Don't miss it!
Learn more about my festival aspirations from our previous blog post here. Your potential is ENDLESS! Much love and thanks for reading, Barry *Latin reference of VITAM MAGNO credited Tom Moschenross and his advice on meditation (@T-Mo you rock and were part an inspiration for this blog)!
**Photo of my son David credit Stefania Bencivenga (my beautiful wife ~ lucky to have you).
***BTW: my son nearly attempted the pool analogy mentioned after feeling accomplished enough swimming with a life jacket and flippers on, fortunately I was there to offer counsel.