The single most powerful idea that emerged from years of listening to life stories is that all of us go through tumultuous periods- and not just once or twice, but multiple times in our lives. As long as we have to do all this heartrending and heart-mending, along with the rebalancing of sources of meaning that comes with it, why don’t we spend more time trying to master these changes?
William James said it best a century ago: Life is in the transitions. We can’t ignore these central times of life; we can’t wish or will them away. We have to accept them, name them, mark them, share them, and eventually convert them into fuel for remaking our life stories.
The Italians have a wonderful expression for times of upheaval: lupus in fabula. The fabula is the fairy tale of our lives; the lupus is the wolf that keeps showing up. Lupus in fabula means “the wolf in the fairy tale.” Italians use it as the equivalent of speak of the devil. Just when life is going swimmingly, a wolf, an ogre, a dragon, a diagnosis, a downsizing, a death appears. That, of course, is what happens to all of us at one time or another. We come face to face with a wolf and have no idea what to do.
And that’s ok. Because if you banish the wolf, you banish the hero. That’s why we need fairy tales. They teach us how to slay our fears and help us sleep at night. Which is why we keep telling them year after year, bedtime after bedtime. They turn our nightmares into dreams.
where is the doorway? out or in?
inquiry for today~ sit in the proverbial garden of all that is icky today…..
We’re all very familiar with the experience of fear escalating, and the experience of running away from fear. But have we ever taken the time to truly touch our fear, to be present with it and experience if fully? Do we know what it might mean to smile at fear?
It’s not so easy to do, but fortunately we have a method that can help us discover the courage to smile at fear. Meditation practice is a method for being with ourselves fully and completely, allowing the time and space to see everything we’re experiencing, including fear and discomfort, with gentleness, kindness, and honesty. It is the safest environment within which to undertake this mission impossible. Because to know fear is to smile to it.
If you touch the fear instead of running from it, you find tenderness, vulnerability, and sometimes a sense of sadness. It can sound corny, but you feel grateful for the beauty fo the world. Your heart is filled with gratitude, appreciation, compassion, and caring for other people. It’s a very special to live.