It feels SO good to write again. Life got so busy in the past year that my writing took a backseat–among many other things! I finally have some more free time again, and I must admit, it is terrifying and lovely all at the same time. It has me thinking a lot about change, and why it brings up so much fear.
When I was little, I used to be so nervous for the first day of school that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I remember so vividly: I spent hours choosing the outfit that I would wear the night before and laying it out beside my bed. I had all of these ideas, dreams, and visions for what the new year would bring. I always strove to be better, even as a young kid; I guess this has been an internal drive that I have always had, self-improvement!
When the day finally came, I am sure it was never able to live up to the expectations I had set for it. I can’t quite remember any of my first days of school, actually, and I wonder if it is because all of my energy was focused on the anticipation of them. I spent so much time worrying, dreaming, envisioning, and at times, fearing, what this new change would bring, that is it possible that I wasn’t present for whatever the change actually brought?
And if I am really honest, this is very much a tune that I am familiar with singing. There have been many times that my anticipation of an event or thing becomes so built up, that the actually moment or event itself, can never quite compare to my ideas of it. I do love getting excited about things, dreaming about them, envisioning what they might be like– I think this is human nature– but to what extent does it take me away from seeing what is actually in front of me?
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Blow” starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. I highly recommend seeing this if you haven’t already. The movie is a biopic of George Jung,the leader of a Columbian drug cartel. In the movie, we experience his journey and learn about how he gets involved in the drug industry. He grows up in a poor family and promises himself that he will never live like that, so he does what he feels that he has to in order to achieve this goal.
**SPOILER ALERT** In the midst of his journey to becoming one of the wealthiest drug cartel leaders, he establishes a family and has a daughter, Lily. George Jung finally gets arrested at the end of the movie (true to the real story) and is put away in prison for life. In a moving and emotional final scene, the man is framed and narced on by someone he thinks is his friend. He leaves an audiotape for his family, wanting to send them some final messages before he has to go away to prison. In his tape, he says something that has always stuck with me:
“Life happens when you are making grand plans for it.”
For George Jung, it took being arrested and being sent to prison to realize that he had missed the life that was right in front of him. To realize that while he was busy making grand plans of being a rich and famous drug cartel leader, he was missing out on what was really important: his family, namely, his daughter whom he adored.
While this is clearly an extreme example, it demonstrates a powerful concept. It illustrates for us the importance of living in the present and letting go of obsessions, expectations, and hopes of the future. While dreaming is a lovely and powerful action, at one point does it become escaping reality? Meaning, at what point do our “grand plans” for life become more harmful than hopeful?
As usual, I am brought back to the practice of meditation. I am brought back to the breathe. I am reminded to be here, now– not in yesterday’s regrets or tomorrow’s dreams. I am reminded by my inner light to feel what I am feeling right now.
**The entire quote is: “So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It’s always the last day of summer and I’ve been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I’ll grant you I’ve had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they’re making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there’s almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.”