Wisdom... It's Out There
Sometimes wisdom can be found in the most unlikely of places, when you least expect it... A little like searching for mushrooms and finding rubies... Or even more like sailing down a river, with zero expectations, enjoying the peace and scenery, and then bang, an apparition of Gandalf hovers before you, imparting words of wisdom that act like an invisible key to a door you didn't know needed to be opened.
This is a rather fantastical way to tell you that last week I did no writing at all, and instead hung out with my sons on school holidays. I spent the days kicking soccer balls, colouring in, hanging out at the beach, eating pizza, running through forests, exploring museums, watching action movies, mediating arguments, entertaining little minds and enjoying cuddles.
And what I unexpectedly discovered during this week of in-the-moment kid-time, was unlooked for wisdom in surprising forms.
1. Everything in moderation, even moderation.
When I go walking I listen to podcasts. I was feeling a bit sort of guilty and itchy about not writing for the week, but simultaneously enjoying creating space for the boys, when I heard one of the speakers on the New York Public Library say, "Everything in moderation, even moderation". It was the appeasement I needed to just enjoy the week guilt-free... Something we can all benefit from. Maybe for you it's indulging guilty pleasures more often... Like eating chocolate, a second piece of cake, the rest of the bottle of wine, sleeping in, not exercising, saying no to something.
Whatever it may be for you, moderation from moderation is a good thing. It brings contrast and colour to life, and keeps it from becoming beige monotones.
2. We're all good at something, sometimes it takes a while to work it out.
We went to see Adam Sandler's latest flick, Pixels... It's a flashback to 1982, the heyday of video arcades - Think Galaga, Space Invaders, Pac Man and Donkey Kong. Sandler plays Sam Brenner, a childhood arcade champ who ends up as a sardonic AV call-out nerd... His best friend who sucked at gaming becomes the President.
Early on, Sam goes to visit his BFF at the White House. After lamenting the pressures of being the President, he tells Sam he's meant for better things.
Aliens end up invading earth with real-life video games and all of a sudden Sam's skills save the world.
Later in the movie, Sam saves a young boy by decimating one of the invaders in the nick of time. The boy asks, full of admiration, "Who are you?".
He says, "I'm just a loser whose good at all video games."
What a classic one-liner.
And that was a Gandalf with the golden key moment for me... Which sitting there eating popcorn with a cinema full of kids, I wasn't expecting... The message I got from that was, we undervalue our skills simply because maybe they're in the wrong context, the wrong application. Sometimes it takes time to work out what our skills are good for... Maybe for saving the world from ending! Or simply for giving life some meaning and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
3. Being human means making mistakes, and that's the magic.
During the week we also watched Transformers - Age of Extinction. The first third of the movie I found pretty boring, action and lots of CGI... Then surprise, surprise, some character development begins, and relationships form between characters...
There's this one scene between Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Optimus Prime - head honcho of the good transformers.
Cade Yeager: When you said you were done fighting for humans, you didn't mean that, did you?
Optimus Prime: How many more of my kind must be sacrificed, to atone for YOUR mistakes?
Cade Yeager: What do you think being human means? That's what we do. We make mistakes. Sometimes, out of those mistakes come the most amazing things... When I fixed you, it was for a reward. That was it. That was why. The money. And it was me making a mistake. Without it, you wouldn't be here. So even if you got no faith in us, I'm asking you to do what I do. I'm asking you to look at all the junk and see the treasure. You gotta have faith, Prime, in who we can be.
Ahhhh, isn't that a beautiful monologue! Being human means making mistakes, and sometimes wonderful things arise from those mistakes.
And thank goodness for that, because mistakes, I've made a few... (hundred!!)
4. Winter always makes way for spring.
And then my final source of unexpected wisdom came from the newsletter that comes with my weekly box of organic, farm-direct veggies. It started with the words, "Spring prefaces the arrival of summer heat." I love the heat of summer. It's when I'm at my happiest... So that says to me the same as, winter makes way for spring... I.e. Hard times always make way for good times.
Wisdom, it's out there!
>>> Leonie Orton is a writer, editor and marketing communications consultant. She'll create communication mediums in the shape of words, graphics and webs for your business, connecting you with the people who need you. Get in touch byemail, facebook or twitter. And if you're not already signed up for new writings and special offers, get hooked up here.