The Lights Came On Tonight – On Reality, Truth and Gratitude

When I came home last night, something seemed different in my building. I realised that the lights in the hallways were back on, having been out for four or five days.

What struck me was how in such a short space of time I’d got used to the darkness, so much so that when the light returned last night, it seemed different, unusual, not the other way around.

image: tree12

Two threads of thinking start to unravel here…

Firstly, are there areas of your life where the lights are blazing brightly, and everything is clear, and warm and generally rather fabulous? It’s highly likely that there are, even if they’re small pockets.

But do you actually appreciate how good these areas are, or because the light has been that bright for a while now, it’s become normal and you just take it for granted?

Unfortunately, it’s often not until we lose something that we realise how good it was. How life changingly wonderful it was even. We don’t notice the lights flickering, or dimming, because all we wanted to see is that full glow we’ve come to enjoy so much. Which brings us to the second thread…

Secondly, are there parts of your life where the lights have gone out, and maybe you haven’t fully admitted it? Or, if not extinguished completely, are the lights far dimmer than they once were, but you’re still caught up in how things used to be, so hypnotised were you by their spell, and you’ve lost a little objectivity on how things really are now?

I know I’m often guilty of this.

I enjoy things so much when they are going well, whether it’s my writing, dancing, a relationship, a movie, a meal, that I never want it to end. And in the midst of it, a part of me doesn’t believe it will ever end. I’m not great at taking on board that old adage “this too will pass”

So what can we do to be more aware and avoid some of this disappointment?

First, appreciate what you have, when you have it. Sounds obvious, but you really never know what turns life will take. Value every moment you have, and not just the moments of elation and fulfilment, but the disappointments, the sadness, the despair too. They are all part of our experience as human beings.

Second, well, I’m maybe not the best person to give advice on that one.

Byron Katie reminds us: “When you argue with reality you lose – but only 100% of the time.”

Be as realistic as you can. The truth is everything. Especially be true to you. This doesn’t mean you should start to look for things to go to wrong, to fade, to falter. Just be aware of when they do, and if you need to, do all you can to try to make things better.

The lights in my building seem to be ok again now. But I wouldn’t mind them going out again every once in a while, just as a reminder.

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