"For those ..."who cannot bear grief, and desire but to bathe in bliss", the ambrosial potion of
this greatest gift of life is a drink too strong"
- Gottfried, quoted in Joseph Campbell's Myths To Live By
I've never been a fan of positive affirmations. They smack of post relationship break up tear-stained smudged Post-its, clutched on to with withered fingers in a last grasp of self-pity. Pathetic. There are many other things I also feel eugh at, like celery, but, since I'd rather this list doesn't continue to grow, I thought it was time to look into why I find them irksome and if my aversion to them can actually teach me a lesson; like a room filled with spiders, only less horrifying. So, I swallowed my judgments and chose an affirmation a few weeks ago then got to saying it every morning, or any time I needed to remind myself of the inherent joyousness of the world. It was glorious.
But this week's whirlwind craziness left me a bit stunned - a constant shifting Rubik's cube of colourful bonkersness, with plans and expectations obliterated, then resurrected... then dead in an instant. I summoned my affirmation but in the midst of this spaghetti belly feeling, the words just blinked sadly at me. I re-attempted calmly and carried on: "This is the best day of my life," I repeated, which, alarmingly, awakened an inner goblin who began to say something like - "Now, we both know that is so not true. How can it be? Look...your life is a mess. Your best day would actually be roses and rainbows, kittens and cake and ice-cream and cartoons." Hmph. I thought affirmations were goblin slayers, I mumbled wearily.
As the train left the tunnel of all this doom, all is happily ever after again (cue Hollywood style symphony). Rather than listen to goblin, I heard it, patted him on the back and stayed centred with lovely conversations and openness about how vulnerable I felt at that moment. And now, I feel stronger and more able, clearer and more committed than ever to the dream that exists within me, regardless of the exterior forces. We can choose to feed the goblin or feed the dream. It's a simple but tremendously powerful choice. Collapse the cards of heady complexity and here we are, still the same person, still able to live, learn and love it all. Facing challenges with integrity builds character, expands perception and shows that we can live with our goblins if pick a fight with them, reason with them a bit. It makes our decisions more solid.
Having a great life doesn't mean that everything goes right all the time because, if it did, we wouldn't learn anything at all. We need a healthy amount of stress to keep us alert and challenged so we can continue to evolve. Suffering is a fundamental part of life so we may as well face is with playfulness, courage and a smile so every day continues to truly be the best day of our lives.