In Trevor Noah’s autobiography, “Born a Crime,” he gets all manner of punishments and whippings from life and his mom, but always feels safe, loved and recovers to go out in the world and be bold again. Toward the end of the book, his step-father, drunk, gives him a beating that he knows is different. His step-father, Abel, wants to hurt him, kill him. After that, no matter how sober, how kind, his step-father was, Noah never let Abel get between him and an exit door again.
As I read that feeling, I realized, life is my Abel. No matter how good things appear to be going, I don’t trust it not to turn. I don’t want anyone or anything between me and an exit door. Trauma is a funny thing.
After reading that, I am wondering, what would it be like to be in my life. Sit in this room, in this day and roll with the punches. The older you get, the easier that prospect becomes. Inch by inch, day by day. I’ll come back.
I am simultaneously reading Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning, the account of his experiences during the holocaust and subsequent creation of logotherapy and Phil Vischer’s tale of animation ambition on a mission and subsequent cartoon giant disaster, Me, Myself, & Bob.
I just thought I’d found the answer to my complete head-banging-against-same-wall-for-years career problems in Frankl’s logotherapy, orient yourself to that special unique something in yourself and to your responsibility to the future and the wonderful things only you can do with your gifts, the things you can give to the world. Even look at your life as if this moment is a chance at a redo, as if this moment passed once and you made the lesser choice the first time and you are back at a crossroads and have the opportunity to choose wisely and take yourself to a brighter future where you are fulfilled, where you make the best choice for yourself and your life.
Just then I switch to Vischer’s story of the rise and fall of Veggie Tales and his company Big Idea. His giant dreams of serving goodness and morals and a divine purpose on a big scale, a big big scale, and how it all came crashing down in a most unexpected and heart breaking way. And how the loss made him reevaluate his priorities, his ambition and motivations to find his goals were really serving old losses and lacks, and not big ideas at all. As his world collapsed, he retreated to find his relationship with God in the quiet of just himself, not in the context of what he could do for God or the world. He discovered that letting go the drive, ambition and the big goals that he had had led him to the kind of spiritual connection that made every moment of his life fulfilling. He even began to find inspiration for projects that resulted in some of the change in the world he’d wanted to begin with, but had previously come at from a personal angle rather than a pure here’s what’s fun and feels right and makes me feel close to God angle. At least that’s how I read it.
So I’m confused, a little, about whether to let go of the future, like Vischer, and answer the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” with “It’s none of my business,” and remain in the closest connection I can find in any moment to God or the divine as I see it or know it. Or, whether to go with Frankl and cling to my specialness and the importance of me sticking around to share it with people who might benefit from my continued existence and sharing of my thoughts, my gifts and my self-expression.
What the two approaches to positive change have in common, and where I’m going to start, is recognizing that my special nature is unique, irreplaceable, important and very very loved. Because everybody’s is. And that’s a good place to start.
Posted in Healing, Inspiration, Spirit
Tagged books, goals, God, healing, Inspiration, mental health, philosophy, psychology, reading, self help, spirit, therapy, Veggie Tales, Viktor Frankl, wellness