Have you ever had a huge crush on someone and become convinced that they were “the one” only to discover that they didn’t feel the same way about you and then years later you see them and think “What on earth was I thinking? I sure dodged a bullet there!”
Or have you ever been let go from a job you didn’t really even like only to get a much better one soon afterward?
There is a very popular expression that has found its way onto coffee mugs, greeting cards, bumper stickers and T-Shirts: “Everything happens for a reason”. Well I don’t entirely agree.
Who is Pulling The Strings?
The Problem with “Everything happens for a reason” is that it supposes a reasonER. It suggests that someone, somewhere (sitting on the clouds? on Mount Olympus?) has a plan for our lives. And that presents a problem.
WHO exactly is this great life coach who knows that there is a better sweetheart waiting for you but is letting you pine over the current hot mess for a while? Or has scheduled a great job interview for you in the future but is not telling you about it now while you are being abused by your current boss?
Though all of your trials and tribulations may be part of “God’s plan” my take on it is a little different. Rather than holding that someone is planning my life out for me and patiently watching me go down the wrong path, I believe that the Universe is so vast in its possibilities that for every choice we make, an unlimited amount of opportunities are immediately presented to us. And in this limitlessness there are untold options that could bring us closer to our most authentic self. Nearer to the “us” without all of the baggage and artifice.
That is why my saying is “A reason happens for everything”.
Have You ever seen that cartoon where the character is stepping up into the air and stairs appear where there weren’t any before? The character starts running and steps just keep popping up before them.
That is how I see the creative source of the Universe: fractals of possibility appearing where there was once nothing, every time we make a choice.
There are thousands of stories about people who take a potentially devastating circumstance and turn it into a curriculum for healing and then share that healing with us. Was it God’s plan that they lost their legs in that train wreck so they could go on Ellen and inspire us or did they simply choose from a myriad of possible responses laid out in front of them?
It Ain’t Easy Doing the Choosing
Now of course my concept is just as improvable and abstract as the “God as Event Planner” one but having held both ideas in my life, I prefer the one where the unlimited Universe keeps popping out fresh new possibilities that never existed before.
My approach is a little scarier because it is less passive and therefore more work on my part -the work required to be rigorously honest with myself before I take actions- but ultimately it makes me feel as though I am directly in touch with how things unfold and it comforts me.
A Chance to Practice
After I wrote down the above few paragraphs, I went to a breakfast meeting with Aaron a terrific film editor who lives in this region. He was set to edit together a dream project for me: a live DVD of me performing one of my solo plays. I was handing him the only copy of the footage: a little black external hard drive with all of the cameras and sound mix etc. I was REALLY excited. Jan had done a great job designing the DVD box etc. Then Aaron called me and said that the hard drive was damaged and there was no way to access it.
I was bummed and pissed off. I let myself be disappointed and unhappy for about 45 minutes and then I thought about this article and I figured I had better walk the walk if I was going to talk the talk and I just came up with a reason for it happening; I am meant to tape the performances in Ojai California next Feb.14th and 15th (shameless plug). I thought of about 20 reasons why that would be an even better DVD for me.
Now Aaron did wind up emailing me that he got in touch with Dennis who shot the footage who just happened to have a back up and as I type this Aaron is editing together my performance video but the best part of the day was in knowing that no matter what happens we humans can choose to let it simply take us in a different direction instead of stop us.
How About You?
Do you have YOUR examples of things that you felt like you “dodged a bullet for”? Ever have chosen a reason for something that happened unexpectedly?