This year, I read many beautiful sayings and tile wisdom. Just like that. When they appeared in front of my nose in posts or on social media. Whenever I have time I read them because I believe that what appears in front of my nose in my life is never in vain. Mostly those wisdoms are open doors and very occasionally I read something that makes me think about it for a long time or makes me breathe a sigh of relief immediately, the latter being the best. That when reading your facial muscles begin to relax instantly.
As I get older, the question increasingly comes to mind: What do I still want to do in the next forty 😉 years? Do I need to do anything at all? Am I meant to keep making myself useful to society? Can I just rest on my laurels and be happy with that? When I was little, I had these questions too. Especially the question: what am I doing here on earth?
The years went by. With a lot of trial and error. With inexhaustible willpower, I always went on and on and on and on, singing along with Frank Sinatra at the top of my voice:
Because I thought that was it. That was life. That’s how it goes. Everyone does it, so it must be how it goes. And really every time after such a fall into the abyss I hear Peggy Lee singing: Is that all there is …
You get the idea. Never was I really satisfied. Because surely it couldn’t be that I was on this earth for that? I didn’t understand. I know other things now and, above all, that there is much more than what the eye can see. Man is of such magnificence that it cannot be grasped by the intellect. When I can go beyond the intellect, I see that greatness and the game in which we play a role. As long as we believe we are that role, life is difficult and we suffer.
Paul Weinfield wrote about it. And that piece I’m going to share with you. That’s how good I think it is.
Leonard Cohen said his teacher once told him that, the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. This is because, as we go through life, we tend to over-identify with being the hero of our stories.
This hero isn’t exactly having fun: he’s getting kicked around, humiliated, and disgraced. But if we can let go of identifying with him, we can find our rightful place in the universe, and a love more satisfying than any we’ve ever known.
People constantly throw around the term “hero’s journey” without having any idea what it really means. Everyone from CEOs to wellness influencers thinks the hero’s journey means facing your fears, slaying a dragon, and gaining 25k followers on Instagram. But that’s not the real hero’s journey.
In the real hero’s journey, the dragon slays YOU.
Much to your surprise, you couldn’t make that marriage work.
Much to your surprise, you turned forty with no kids, no house, and no prospects.
Much to your surprise, the world didn’t want the gifts you proudly offered it.
If you are foolish, this is where you will abort the journey and start another, and another, abusing your heart over and over for the brief illusion of winning.
But if you are wise, you will let yourself be shattered, and return to the village, humbled, but with a newfound sense that you don’t have to identify with the part of you that needs to win, needs to be recognized, needs to know. This is where your transcendent life begins.
So embrace humility in everything. Life isn’t out to get you, nor are your struggles your fault.
Every defeat is just an angel, tugging at your sleeve, telling you that you don’t have to keep banging your head against the wall.
Leave that striver there, trapped in his lonely ambitions.
Just walk away, and life in its vastness will embrace you.
~ Paul Weinfield
I wish you a merry Christmas and for 2023 the strength not to take your role in the play called life too seriously and yourself too. That is the shortest way to your heart.