“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do.”
- – Albert Camus
Have you seen some of the prescription drug commercials running on television?
No matter the pill or potion being peddled, each spot invariably sports beautiful flowing camera work, attractive actors, gorgeous sets and music filled with warm feeling and soft edges. Of course, the subliminal marketing message is, ‘Wouldn’t you like to be them? You can. Call your doctor and get the party started‘.
And while your senses are distracted by the multimedia extravaganza, a dulcet voice-over gently speaks: “If you experience facial flushing, headaches, stomach pain, nasal congestion, nausea, diarrhea, loss of hearing, ringing in the ears and/or dizziness, call your doctor right away.”
Wow! Makes you want to run right out and get some, doesn’t it.
What struck me the other day is how, for the longest time, I lived my life like it was a drug commercial. Consciously or not, I wasted a lot of time following external cues from the opinions of others and how I thought I must look to them. Without questioning their motives, any whisper even remotely touching my doubts or insecurities caused me to spackle right over the top of them. Then, in my compulsion to over-compensate, I’d bring out yet another prop onto an already crowded set. “There, that’s better…”
Why? Like the drug commercial, the visual of all those spackled props I had settled for didn’t even remotely match the voice-over of the day-in-day-out life I was actually living. I had allowed myself to become a walking, talking collection of fragments…all very nice, but none of them being integrated into any kind of a coherent whole. Looking back, it’s a wonder I could function at all.
Then Love found me (cue the dreamy music).
I was ecstatic! It was exciting to be spending my time running barefoot through the sunny meadow of new-love-found. For the first time in my life, I had stepped outside my comfort zone of bits and pieces, betting the whole enchilada on making love work (more dreamy music).
What I hadn’t counted on was being completely unprepared for love’s voice-over part; the fine print that comes when a new love affair begins to deepen. The closer we got, the more I found myself running across all the broken shards of my fragments; having to explain and/or rationalize all the bad habits that hadn’t mattered when I was alone.
Wait a minute. This isn’t right. Love is supposed to be one non-stop greeting card commercial? Why are my ‘feet’ bloody? This hurts. Answer: True love, by its’ very definition, is a ‘whole’. And I wasn’t.
No matter how shiny I thought I was, Love wasn’t impressed with my spackled bits. And remember, that up till then, I’d spent the better part of my life committed to feeding each shiny little piece; working hard at keeping the separate parts of my life (and the people in them) compartmentalized in nice tidy little boxes.
Newsflash: Life (and Love) doesn’t work that way.
After a long period of denial and being confronted by one moment-of-truth after another, I eventually came to understand that my spackled fragments were never going to pass muster as ‘being whole’. Then and there, I decided that true love was more important than what I had been doing so I began the tedious process of gut-checking each fragment of who I had thought I was. It was not pretty. It’s like being a hoarder and having to go through your house deciding what you were going to unload in an emotional garage sale.
Eventually I came to understand that if the false fragment didn’t fit? I had to let it go. My fragments were not happy. In fact, there were plenty of times when they went kicking and screaming. But one by one, as I let them go, what I wanted most, came to live inside.
Now, I get it. As a card-carrying member of the Human Race, Love motivates me to check and recheck myself for sneaky fragments that detract from the whole.
Living with all the parts integrated and working together is so much easier than life ever was before. Not only am I happy, I now have the emotional energy to spend on things that matter to me instead of maintaining a facade for people who don’t really care about me anyway.
Real deal, people.
By the simple act of getting up every morning, we are constructing our lives – for good or bad – one day at a time. The way I look at it, the only difference between me being “whole” and a “hole” is ‘who’. And like me, your ‘who’, is You. Every new day, we get to do another ‘take’. And like a director, each of us holds the creative authority over what goes into our ‘commercials’.
My challenge for you this week is to think like a director, get rid of the fragments and write a script for your day that syncs up with the dreamy music that was already playing in your Soul the day you were born. Do that and it’ll be your voice saying:
“If you experience moments of spontaneous joy, fulfillment, delight, good sleep, loss of depression, ringing in the new year with true friends and/or love, call your doctor right away and cancel your appointment.”
Be well. Be You.
CREDITS: Camus Photo by Loomis Dean, 1957. If you’d like to know more, Mssr. Camus was a French philosopher, writer, member of the French Resistance during WWII and Nobel Laureate. CAMUS LINK: http://www.camus-society.com/ Shattered Lives: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2008/e08015img2.htm; Love Hurts: Bakersfield Hash House Harriers http://bhhh.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/love-hurts-valentine-day-run-2011/; Unhappy Face: Lynne Farrow Recovery Workshops…Check out Ms. Farrow’s work…really good stuff http://www.lynnefarrow.com/category/recovery-workshops/page/2/; Road to Wholeness: http://www.swu.edu/academics/pwp/personalwholenessresources.php
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