In October I decided I was going to get serious about this life transformation stuff. I had a phenomenal idea to create a program called How I Transformed My Life in 31 Days. So, for 31 solid days I meditated. I wrote gratitude lists. I visualized and intended for great things to happen in my life. I joined consciousness study groups and went to healers and paid attention to my thoughts and beliefs and feelings. And after 31 days...
It didn't work. I don't see the phenomenal transformation I was going for, in fact, not much has actually seemed to change at all. I thought I'd feel joyful and all this awesome stuff was going to happen, but today I sit here feeling totally frustrated. Frustrated that I can't seem to stop the thoughts that keep me feeling stuck and frustrated. I decided to step out and be a life coach. Right now that thought is laughable to me. I can't even coach myself out of the thought, "Give up. There's no Point." What kind of life coach can't even coach themselves? Probably the worst life coach in the world. I might be the best Nihilism Coach in the world though, so I've got that going for me.
I see so many stories out there of seemingly ordinary people overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances. I mean, how hard can it be to just FEEL HAPPY? I'm ok with feeling the change in me even if I don't see it yet in my world. Or so I say, because right now, I feel like I did two years ago when I got swept out into the ocean and almost drowned. There was a moment when I knew I was fighting a losing battle. I was exhausted and the waves were still so strong. The shore was so far away, and no matter how hard I swam, I wasn't getting any closer. In that moment I knew that despite my most valiant efforts to stay afloat, those waves were going to take me. I was going to die.
Funny, two years later I'm still here to contemplate not being here anymore. I didn't drown that day. I didn't die. Perhaps this is because in the moment I knew I was drowning, everything in me screamed, "NO!! I'M NOT GOING OUT LIKE THIS!! I WANT TO LIVE!!" Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, someone appeared next to me in the waves. He grabbed my arm and pulled me along with him. He told me, "Swim with the waves! Let them carry you!"
So I did. The next thing I knew, I could see the beach and someone coming toward me with something that floated, a boogie board. Now, I'm a strong swimmer, but I had been out there a long time getting pounded by waves so powerful it felt like the Hand of God was batting me around while I sucked up about a gallon of salt water in the hot sun. My body was sunburned, dehydrated and absolutely physically exhausted. I was aware that my arms and legs no longer seemed to be working, and the panic-induced adrenaline was wearing off. I was so close, too close to give up. I remember ordering myself to swim, to get to that boogie board. If I could get to the board, I could get to the beach. I swam with the sheer force of my will and I did not take my eyes off my destination. The only thought in my head was, "SWIM. SWIM." I was going to get to that beach. The next thing I knew, the boogie board was within my reach so I grabbed it, then my feet hit the bottom and I could stand.
It's not lost on me, the metaphor for life in that experience. The waves that seem to come from nowhere and overtake us, the exhaustion, wanting to give up, the single-minded determination that is the secret to creation. Do I want to live today with the same fury I felt back then? I don't know, when death isn't as imminent, it gives you more time to think, and thinking has not always been such a great thing for me. Thinking has led me down some very dark roads. I can tell you though, that when I was out there in those waves, I called out to God. HELP ME. It was not a prayer, it was not a f*ing request. I COMMANDED it. HELP ME. And so it was that help came swiftly (even if I would've prefered maybe 40 minutes earlier). It came just in time. Now I know that if I had just stopped fighting the waves and let them carry me, they would have taken me to shore with very little effort.
Today as I feel myself tossed in the painful waves of anger and doubt, tired of hearing the horrors of the latest worst mass shooting ever, tired of endless ridiculous political bullshit, tired of this stupid damn world that can't seem to appreciate goodness or meaning, I wonder if I would really leave it with so many paintings left unpainted and songs left unsung. Would I leave with so many kind words left unspoken and so much love not yet shared? That seems such a tragedy, even if I don't know how to do any of it, or if it matters, or if anyone else cares. You don't do these things for anyone else. There's no one out there to give you permission to be yourself. You have to choose it. You can fight the waves and drown, or let them carry you to where you're going.
So, today I choose to keep breathing. In this moment, it's the best I can do. Keep breathing. Keep believing. Even as I write this, the words from a song play over and over in my head. A song from The Muppet Movie that I loved so much as a kid:
Life Is a Movie
Write Your Own Ending
We've Done Just
What We Set Out To Do...
Thanks to the Lovers
If I were to write my own ending, it would be the end of fear and uncertainty and frustration and feeling trapped. It would be the end of struggle to survive. It would be the end of not good enough and I can't. It would be the end of trying to fit in and believing I need to be someone other than myself and somewhere other than I am right now. We never know how much time we have here, and things can change in a moment. All the more reason to appreciate that there's so much to live for and so much to enjoy. Life is a movie, write your own ending. That song is called The Magic Store, and the words weren't written by Kermit the Frog, they were written by grown ups who knew how to play. Maybe they knew the secret to something. As I sit here contemplating my life and purpose and what appears to be and what really is, I wonder if there is magic at play here, that we sometimes don't see.