“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey
Recently I was streaming an older TV series whose episode involved a bomb and its removal from a hospital setting. The story span two episodes, and over that time one got to experience the tension, witness the heroic efforts by medical and law enforcement staff, and know in depth the individual characters.
As with a story, the commitment to helping and keeping others safe seemed to finally prevail as the ordnance was extracted then walked out of the OR. As a breath was taken by us voyeurs as the bomb personnel slowly walked down the hall all hell broke loose as a fatal explosion emanated from where the bomb personnel once stood.
My heart sank, wounded by the wholesome efforts given by all yet the eventual demise of those that gave such effort. The feelings were emotionally painful. And though it was simply a story, the feelings that this created in the moment were very real and for several days afterwards drew my attention and reflection because they are feelings I’ve gotten in the past from similar themes.
I’ve observed that as our days unfold, so many instances follow this theme. A few examples might include:
- a young person contracts, battles, makes “the good fight” then succumbs to cancer
- a military person remains behind to defend and protect his or her team as the enemy overwhelms their position
- a firefighter loses his or her life trying to save an occupant of a burning home
There are many more examples, but my point is to illustrate that even when one is pure in heart, makes supreme effort, and is doing what we would define as “the right thing” they still come up short … loosing their life in many instances.
I see from the intensity of my feelings that some significant inconsistency exists between the scripts I hold deep within me and what happens in real life. I hold on … resisting letting go of the fantasy inside me. There is some “holding force” keeping me slave to this old script … this scrip that doing good for good reasons should “earn” you success. And it is a fascinatingly strong force.
As I mature and travel this path of life I speak of so often, I see that there are no guarantees that doing what’s right, from a wholesome heart, and giving 110% brings reward. Many have pointed that out to me, and I thought I embraced the “no expectations rule” more fully. However, my recent experience demonstrated to me that an old paradigm still prevails … One SHOULD prevail when one does the right thing in the right way for the right reason while giving his/her all.
Why it took so long for this Ah-Ha moment I don’t know, but things finally gelled and I get it more clearly. I’d fall apart when seeing the inconsistency between fictional or real events, and the old paradigm. Each time I would ask … “Why should one even try if the formula has no relevance?” Then the answer (again, told me before but not fully internalized) came to me. The answer relies again on those “feelings” I talk about often. The answer is that choosing to do the right things for the right reason in the fullest way is simply done because it makes ME feel good inside … and for no other reason. There is no right or wrong … there is no moral construct … there is no universal truth in play … there are only the feelings that will result from taking certain actions once I make a choice. IT IS ALL ABOUT ME!!! If others react positively that’s wonderful but the risks of allowing that to create expectations is great … almost too great. Instead, my focus MUST be in the moment in which the choice must be made and based upon what feelings the possible action pulls from within me. It also MUST be done independently of any sense that making the “good fight” choice is meant to reflect how one should act, live, or believe.
I feel that this slightly new way of seeing things may help me let go of the tight hold I have on my old belief. I certainly can hold it in my hand and examine and rotate it, but I need to ensure that I fully embrace that it only belongs to ME, and that no greater moral philosophy or universal truth need exist. When the “good fight” doesn’t prevail, it doesn’t reflect a violation of a universal truth. It only reflects one’s personal choice to do what felt good inside.
Yes … still work to do. But there’s progress here … progress that’s felt … progress that may enable me to detach and let go, and land more squarely on MY feet absent of expectations of the world surrounding me. It feels lonelier in a world without expectations … but it seems that is the way it needs to be. Yes, an explorer’s life is lonelier, but it is richly adventuresome too. And even though it’s a bit lonelier there is a sense of greater freedom given I can choose more freely and selectively in order to create those wonderful feelings inside me.