This is the day.
“This is the day…”, announces Graham Dashwood with a light and confident breeze as he takes his first step towards India and the Marigold Hotel, a decision he has been waiting a lifetime to allow himself.
I watch it over and over, called towards that feeling. It lifts me up. I aspire to it. But…
But I have to be ‘me’. Yesterday’s me, last year’s me, all those previous me’s that have built up, and up, and up. Where on earth does this need come from? When did I stop living for today and start repeating yesterday, like an ever-present groundhog day that I don’t even notice?
One of our strongest impulses as human beings is to be seen to remain consistent with our previous actions, statements and beliefs, even if those actions are exhausting us. Even if, somewhere in our gut, we know we aren’t helping ourselves. When our daily habit only serves to rebuild that which doesn’t serve us, blinding us to what is staring us in the face. When life is a conflicted façade, it will at least be a consistent, familiar and convincing façade. Or so we tell ourselves.
And so I paint a smile for the world, again. “I got this”, I say. The show can go on.
William James talked about ‘Once Born’ and ‘Twice Born’ people; those that seem biologically predisposed to happiness, who accept life with a childlike simplicity, and those who think there is something terribly amiss with the way things are. One might think that Once Born people are happy while Twice Born are unhappy, but in fact James argues some of the happiest people are actually Twice Born. The Twice Born attitude to life can lead to a ‘crisis’ and a strong desire to make sense of things, which is incompatible with the underlying negative actions or state. This contradiction finds resolution in a transcendence of the negative into a new, profound sense of the love of life. “The process is one of redemption, not of mere reversion to natural health, and the sufferer, when saved, is saved by what seems to him a second birth, a deeper kind of conscious being than he could enjoy before.”
There’s no way to turn back once that step is taken. The love of life becomes too profound, the truth too euphoric to deny, and the purpose so comforting and certain that meaning comes flooding like a tsunami. The magic begins.