It is peculiar but pleasing to me that some of the most profound insights to life that I've learned are demonstrated in some very strange places. I think of Luke Skywalker telling Yoda he would try to raise his fighter from the swamp using only his mind and the Force. Yoda responded "No! Do, or do not. There is no try." Because even if you try mightily and fail, though you've done your best, you have "done not" - the same as if there was no try. It's kind of like the old saying, "What's second place? First LOSER!!" Of course, we pad these harsh realities for our children. As long as you do your best you can be proud. Yeah, but then there's that whompin' sting when you lose and you learn pretty quickly... proud of what? Ouch. There is no try. I'm afraid this is coming across as cynical and it really isn't to me. There is a freedom of sorts, knowing that not accomplishing something is nothing short of failure. It can give you more drive and determination going into something to think this way. I think telling children otherwise encourages mediocrity. Don't ask me how I know this.
My next movie wisdom is even less prestigious than a fictional movie about space. There is a scene in the Disney movie "The Lion King," which is an excellent cartoon by my standards, in which the spirit of Mufasa is speaking to his son Simba about his role in life. He tells him, "Look inside yourself Simba, you are more than what you have become." It was this line that came to me the other day, as I was leaving work one morning after a particularly discouraging night. Both of my patients lost ground, and I particularly identified with the husband of one. I felt awful that she had regressed despite my best efforts. As I was walking, watching the floor in front of me, these three words popped into my head.
More than this.
These words mean so much to me on many, many levels. They instantly have become my mantra.
I expect more than this from myself.
It takes more than this for me to be truly happy.
I must do more than this to feel better physically, and about myself in general.
When I have bad feelings after work, I remember that my life is much more than this.
No matter how big the "problem," the love of my family means more than this.
When I look at my paycheck, I remember that what I do for people means so much more than this. (Read that one again. This probably means you, too.)
When I want to sit and do nothing, I have to remember that my responsibilities are more than this.
I don't know. It isn't much just to type it out, I guess. But this is very profound to me. It is important and fundamental. It is more than just a catchy three word phrase I can repeat under my breath when things are tough. It IS more than this. The sum of the meaning far exceeds the words themselves.
(Yep, still stuck all over that Iron and Wine music.)