“There’s nothing very serious going on here” I heard someone say – and she was talking about LIFE!
The more I think about it, the more I like it. Because we really do think it’s all very serious, don’t we?
For example you know how when you’re doing your final year at high school (if you get there) ‘They’ go on and on about how important it is to get good marks so you can get a job or get into a tertiary institution? ‘They’ literally tell you that your WHOLE LIFE depends on this one set of exams, this one piece of paper. At the time what do we know? We believe ‘Them’. We believe that without good marks our life will be over. It’s so stressful. Later on you realise ‘They’ were talking nonsense.
They still do it you know? You can see the stress those poor final years are under. I can’t believe they’re allowed to teach that to kids. Looking back it’s easy to see that those final year exams, those marks, are just one experience in life. They mean very little later on – except for whatever meaning we attribute to having achieved them or not. People can get excellent marks and not get the life they dreamed of and others get poor marks and go on to great things. It means very little on its own.
What if the same is true for life, and even for parenting? We are all very serious about ‘getting it right’ but what will ‘getting it right’ give us? Well if you think what ‘getting it wrong’ will bring, you’ll probably think of things like shame and unworthiness. So that means that ‘getting it right’ will reassure us that we are ok so we can feel good about ourselves and our lives, right?
Well, if knowing we are ok and feeling good about ourselves and our lives is what we are really after, why don’t we just focus on that and chuck out the notion that there is something to ‘get right’? Why not make peace with ourselves and our lives RIGHT NOW.
What if none of what we are doing is very serious?
People can have horrible parenting and later on make peace with themselves and be ok in the world. Sure it takes focused effort and growth on their part but it is possible. People can fail school and later on succeed anyway. People can land up in a life they hadn’t anticipated and find love and peace in it anyway. We love books and movies of people who do these sorts of things – because we need reminding that everything can be ok in the end. If we can remember that, maybe whatever we have going on right now won’t feel so serious?
Things may not look like you thought they would, like you hoped they would, but SO WHAT? It’s not so serious. There is no way it is SUPPOSED to be. There is JUST HOW IT IS. So explore where you are – have some fun while you’re at it. If you look around you at what IS you will find lots of good things about it. You may have to practice looking for the good things if you are already fluent in focusing on what’s bad and disappointing but if you practice focusing on what is good you’ll find that the ‘bad’ stuff fades a little – and then later a lot. You might even find you like where you are. Imagine that?
You are off the hook, the pressure is off. There is nothing very serious going on here and nothing to get ‘right’. It’s just a life you are living, kids you are raising, work you are doing, people you are loving. It’s not so serious. There’s nothing to ‘get right’. Just settle into the experience of being you and enjoy all you can.