The Meaning of Life, To Be Happy, and the Party We had Hoped For Didn’t Happen But We Can Still Dance 86
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In the annals of the meaning of life and being happy, here’s one for the book of records. This person, whom I know well, but cannot name because she is too close to me, had life all planned out. Graduate college, marry, have two kids, boy and girl, buy a nice piece of property with an adequate house. Using that nice property, she would have family get-togethers on a regular basis. Everyone would grow comfortable and older together. In other words, following her plan, she would be happy and have the meaning of life all sown up.
Well, it didn’t quite work that way. She lost two grandmothers in the same weekend. Lost the remaining grandfather just a few years later. Lost one of her siblings to a car accident. Lost the other sibling to an estranged relationship that last ten years. Started a business and was doing well until the Great Recession hit. In short, all her plans did not work out. She was planning a great life-party, but even the DJ did not show up.
Now what was she going to do? Some things worked out. Her two children are fine citizens. The piece of land she and her husband own is still there and appreciating in value. There are investments that will grow again. But the family ties and lines of communication she had hoped for were broken through one disaster after another.
She can stand around at a dud party. Or she can dance anyway. Those are basically the two choices she has. The jury is still out on the verdict. Maybe sometime in the future I can let you know how things turned out.
You have the same two choices. Your life may not be the party so expected it to be, so far anyway. You thought that the party itself was going to give your life meaning. The party itself was going to be your cause for happiness. But the party went poop. Now what?
You can stand around and mope in various ways. Like lashing out at loved ones because things aren’t going well. Taking up bad habits like drinking or running around. You can just give up on life and its meaning and your happiness.
Or you can find a way to dance. While we are still in this life, we can dance. This needs a change of mind, however. You have got to will yourself, at least at first, to dance. I know, I know, you don’t want to get out of that figurative chair and start to move to imaginary music. You have to will yourself to your feet, real or figurative. You have to look for a rhythm within yourself that you can keep time with your feet as you move. You may even have to imagine a partner with whom to dance at this stage in your life.
In other words, you have to dance to your own rhythms and themes. But in that attempt to dance, you will find something you didn’t know you had. A reservoir of happiness. When you will to dance, you will necessarily tap into this reservoir of happiness and meaning. This reservoir is as big as the Universe, for it is the Universe. Happiness does not depend on the outward circumstances of life. Happiness and the meaning of life are what you say it is for you. Once you have discovered your everlasting connection to the Divine Meaning of Life, and constantly tap into it, draw from its reserves, you can dance. “I am the Lord of the Dance, said he, and I’ll meet you there in there, wherever you may be, I’ll meet you there in the dance, said he.”
These two basic choices are yours, always. One: stand around and mope and curse the day you were born. Two: find the will you already possess to dance up the meaning of life, which is to be happy.
Life may not have turned out to be the party your expected, but while you are alive, you can dance anyway.
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