Sunday, June 3, 2012
I've been re-watching a television show called Being Erica for a second time and trying to catch and write down the pithy lessons from each show. If you haven't seen it, it's a Canadian-based show that apparently aired on Soap.net (or airs, I haven't seen the most recent season) and can be found on Hulu.com, which is where I watch it. It's just a wee bit science fiction in that it combines therapy with time travel. Erica begins the show recognizing that where she is at in her life is due to a series of - in her words - bad decisions and bad choices. So, she meets Dr. Tom, and has a chance to write down this list of bad choices throughout her life, and is given an opportunity via his therapy to literally go back and do it differently.
Ironically, often things don't actually change even though she's tried to do it differently. There's quite a bit of fatalistic irony in that which I draw. But that is my opinion of the show.
But in addition to trying to draw life lessons ("The path that you are on and the choices you make define who you are") from the show, it has made me think about my life and lessons I've learned and how.
We search for the trite and simple answers to life. On the internet, in books, on television, in magazines, in church. Everywhere we go, we are often looking for The Answer.
I have already made quite clear in this blog that I am a big fan and follower of the Dalai Lama. I also go to church every Sunday. I try to seek spiritual guidance where I can.
But I recognize that the stuff that sticks, the stuff that resonates most for me are lessons I have already learned through life experience. The rest of the stuff sounds good - and probably is good - but it is hard to really learn and absorb through words alone.
It is true that I don't need to touch a hot stove to accept someone else's warning that it's hot. But I am much more likely to remember it after I've burned myself. Stoves are tough examples, because it seems like common sense, stove = hot. But think of an example that is not so obvious, that the reality is that you won't really get it until you get it.
Now, not all of life lessons have to be learned the hard way. In my opinion. But I find until we are approaching the situation, we often are not ready to hear or learn the lessons.
How often on the sitcom have you seen two characters talking, and character A is bemoaning his or her problem, and Character B gives him or her sound advice that doesn't quite seem to stick? Enter Character C with all of his or her charisma, and have him or her repeat the same things, and suddenly a light bulb goes off. It seems silly and obvious when done on a sit com, but the reality is that it happens to us all the time. We need to be ready and open to hear guidance or information about a situation before we're able to hear it and comprehend it.
But the good news is that we can get our life lessons anywhere. Off a bumper sticker, off a tweet, off a sit com, off a rom com, out of a book, from an advice columnist, from a comic strip, from a shampoo bottle (hey, sometimes lather, rinse, repeat is the answer to the question!).
We just need to be open to the message. It helps me to take time, sometimes, to think about what is being said and figure out a specific situation to which it applies. Create an analogy in my life. Although sometimes when reading it, something just clicks. Automatic synapse connection. Keep yourself open to the lessons life presents to you. And don't forget to revisit them. They may mean something completely new the next time around.
Please share with me some unlikely places you found life lessons and what you learned.
Resistance is futile.
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