There is a series of silent films entitled “The Perils of Pauline.” In this series of movies the heroine is always finding herself in life or death situations. The movie always ends with her in a incredibly dangerous place. The idea of course is to get the viewer to come back and see how she is rescued. She is always rescued from the edge of the cliff , the railroad tracks or some other “cliff hanger” position in which she finds herself perilously close to death.
The reason for this little journey through cinematic history is that I have found that when things are going well I have a tendency to think about or create perilous situations for myself. For example I am driving down the road, great music playing and suddenly I think “what if the kids forgot to make sure there was nothing flammable near the wood stove? And the house catches fire, would everyone be all right?” I have now placed my family in a perilous situation and I will be worried about it all day. Or until I pull over and call them to make sure everything is indeed fine. I usually get an exasperated response of “Mom, of course we checked. We’re fine.”
According to things I have been reading lately the reason for this is that I have decided that things are going to good in my life and well to be honest, I think that it should not last for very long. I am actually doing well at the moment. I am on break from school. Relaxing, and getting things done that have been waiting all semester to be finished. With my previous reasoning, things should be going wrong. I woke up this morning having a panic attack. No reason other than things seem to be going well. There must be something wrong. What important thing have I forgotten to do that will suddenly wreck havoc upon my world? And the answer is, I can’t think of anything.
The thing is I am under the impression that I can’t have things going well. That I cannot have my cake and eat it too. (Which is misquoting it. the quote in order to actually make sense is “I cannot eat my cake and have it too.”) Well I can be happy. Just because I don’t always think that I deserve it. In my readings of Brene Brown, she is the most recent and therefore the one that comes to mind, the way to change from a perilous existence to one of peace is through gratitude.
This is my new attempt toward a saner existence. To be grateful for what I have and for who I am. And I am insanely grateful for my family, my opportunities, my friends, my faith, the ability to begin to see the dreams that I have been dreaming for so long begin to come true. I am trying to follow the advise of people whom I trust to steer me in the right direction and simply be grateful for what I have and to stop looking for the ways that it might be taken from me. I have found that the things that are taken or lost are always replaced by something different, better, more beautiful.
So today I challenge myself, and you, to look at the world and be grateful for all that you have. And when something goes wrong, try to find what you can be grateful for rather than to cast ourselves into a perilous place. Because that is just way more effort than we should be putting in that direction. So, right now I am very grateful for the birds, whose morning and afternoon visits to my bird feeder create the opportunity for meditation that I usually ignore. And I will not focus on the fact that I can’t get the stupid wood stove to put off heat.
And I am grateful that people read this and respond. Allowing me to feel connected the world.