As I ponder my existence and periodically search for meaning in this wild and crazy world, I seek guidance from the philosophical Masters of the universe. Normally, I seek the wisest of council from The Most Interesting Man in the World. In this case I look elsewhere. My two Masters are Curly, the hardened cowboy in the movie City Slickers and James Taylor, singer/songwriter. Interestingly, Curly gives enlightenment for the big picture, JT makes the vision a bit clearer. Both give me the freedom to find it where I choose.
Scene in City Slickers…
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
Curly: This. [holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.
In the movie, one senses Mitch’s (Billy Crystal) frustration with “one thing” not being the perfect answer, and definitely not the easy answer. But the beauty of Curly is that “one thing” IS the perfect answer (and the easy one). The hard work is in finding and immersing in your one thing.
Elsewhere and many moons ago, James Taylor wrote, “The secret o’ life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it. There ain’t nothin’ to it.” To me, James is telling me that a huge part of the “secret” is enjoying life, the passage of time. Enjoying it requires being IN it, going WITH it, rejoicing every moment for what it is right here, right now.
So, what is the alternative? Misery? Negativity? Well, yes, those are just a couple of the choices. So is cynicism, nastiness, blaming and playing the permanent victim. And it can SO be tempting to fall back on non-enjoyment any time the going gets tough. But is it really worth it? As enjoyable as a curmudgeon-like existence might be for some (and I have had my moments, believe me), is that really how we want to spend this life? But enough about my feelings about the Election 2016.
Yes, there are difficult times and unyielding circumstances. There are daily, even hourly, challenges to our pursuit of the secret, the one thing. But challenges are just that: challenges, not impassable, unmovable, impossibilities.
Someone other than Billy Ocean once said that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And while that is true, I like to think of it more the way Benjamin Disraeli put it, “Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.”
It’s easy to get caught up on the details, the money, the politics, someone else’s priorities. But if I do, it’s because I made that choice. At the end of the day, the beauty of my happiness, my enjoyment, is that I get to choose to participate. I find refuge in that choice, the choice to be happy in this moment.
In the end, I have to remember ONE THING: this is my life and I’d like to enjoy it.