Concerning stories — especially the ones that form our lived experience — there can be a tendency to wrap things up and put a bow on top, saying “That’s that. That’s how it is.” or “I’ll never _____. That’s the end. So much for _____.”
There is equanimity in remembering that everything which happens, even an event that seems conclusive, happens within some larger context.Think of Harry Potter. If you’re familiar with the tale, you know it’s a well-wrapped tale, well-concluded and full of lessons and inspiration. And, it’s easy to forget that the protagonist, Harry, had a full ten years of life before the story begins. Likewise, after the grand conclusion, Harry continues living. So what then?The point here is that the conflicts and the resolutions of the Harry Potter books are not the be-all-end-all of Harry Potter’s life.
Just so, your life is not defined by the single or few events that happen within it. As you’re having an experience, even if it’s something life-changing or serious, remember there was more that came before it and it will pass. Having a bad day? This is going to change. Broke your back? Your life’s story will continue on, as it changes.
Even while facing death, we can wonder how our life was a part of a story, in the middle, of our family, our country, planet or galaxy.
Note that the goal with this mental exercise is not to dampen the degree of our peaks and troughs of experience. The point isn’t to water down your joys.Rather, the point is to put them in a wider perspective. It is to promote peace of mind in how we relate to our experiences.
Some stories can be like tunnel vision. It helps to remember that every story is a part of another one, which is only a part in yet another.
- At 50, I’m not going to set a world record for a marathon, yet being fit remains a possibility.
- Dying is the end of one’s life, yet not the end of the relationship/impact. Mourning over someone’s (very real) death, is a story, and part of a larger story that may include years of love, memories, etc. The love and lessons, and the specific memories of joy, challenge, and tragedy remain part of us as we wish them to be.
- A broken neck may paralyze a person, yet how one knows oneself, expresses oneself, serves, and loves have infinite possibilities remaining, even though all possibilities are not possible.
- You may be fired from a job, and how you can experience Bliss may change, yet Bliss remains a possibility.