We accept the reality with which we are presented.
Christof says this in an interview about his test subject Truman Burbank in the classic movie The Truman Show. If you haven’t seen it, Netflix it. Now! It’s a great story about a deep philosophical question: Can we control our reality? Or in this case: Can someone else control my reality?
In the movie, the experiment ends with high drama and I feel inspired every time. Because I am reminded that my reality is mine to change.
There was an incident.
In the moment I said out loud: If I ever get arrested in my life, it will be today because…
And well… I can’t really finish that thought with you because I would get in serious trouble. Bottom line: I was hopping mad! [And I don’t typically get that mad. Ever.]
Within minutes, there was a friend unexpectedly dogging me in the hallway. He had come from across town [it’s a small town] to see what was up. I’m here to check your temperature, he said.
In one of those dream sequence slow-mo moments, my jaw dropped to the floor and I was momentarily rendered stunned. Seriously? My first thought: No way! Are you really that nice?!?!
Evidently… yes. Because the dream sequence ended and he was still standing there. Huh.
That moment changed my accepted reality. Why? Because I cannot remember the last time when I saw that look in someone’s eyes or heard that tone in a voice. Genuine and sincere care about my well-being after a stressful anger-inducing incident. My accepted reality had convinced me that people like this were just a figment of my imagination.
So after the Incident, I started getting closer to making some final decisions that will likely change the course of my future career. My accepted reality had been shattered and I was moving forward with a new confidence.
Decisions would mean walking away from the known and moving further into the unknown… the threshold of liminal space. I have lived in this in-between for a long time but now the moment to step through the door into the dark was beckoning. [Pay attention at the end of the Truman Show!]
So I did.
Walked through the door by saying No to some rather big / well-paying projects. I have a ton of brain power and creative energy but not enough to do everything I want to do. I want to give my best energy to projects that give me life. So I had to turn down some others.
These were big decisions because they represent a left-hand turn in front of the oncoming traffic that is my life. By saying No, I move further away from a career field that has paid the bills for the past 25 years and I forego good income that would pay some bills that have accumulated during those 25 lean years.
It is always nerve-wracking to start over. When you intentionally choose to start over, it is easy to second-guess. Which is what I did. I second-guessed my decisions.
There was another incident. [And I cannot really tell you the details on that one either. Sorry.]
The basic gist: I found a tidbit of info on the internet and it slammed me to the floor in a tizzy. Shouldn’t have… but it did.
The old script in my head kept shouting: I told you so! Time was running out… fear was beating me to a pulp… I needed an answer… so I asked a question. And it all snowballed into an icky mess. Blech.
Luckily, it can all be fixed. No worries.
The lesson I learned is that shattering an old reality is great but it takes an extra effort not to pick it back up and try to reassemble it.
True courage is to start over fresh not just recreate what has been.
Seems simple enough but this is a challenging task.
When it is time to make a change… Make a change! Don’t just drift from one lane to the other… but get there. Make a clean break. That was my downfall in both incidents. That was the root of the near arrest and the icky mess. I didn’t make a clean break. I dragged my heels and circled round and round the real issue.
The moral of my story:
Venture into the altered state of a new reality and trust yourself enough to stay there.
If you put heart and soul into discerning the right decision, trust that it will be a good choice for you. Even when something new comes to light and tempts you to second-guess, stay the course.
All shall be well and all shall be well.
And all manner of things shall be well.
Great words of encouragement from St. Julian of Norwich.