“Given a choice between a folly and a sacrament, one should always choose the folly – because we know the sacrament will not bring us closer to God and there’s always a chance folly will.”
My grandmother wore 927 medals, scapulars and pieces of Christian bling around her neck and pinned to her thin whitish cotton slip. It was a cornucopia of Jesus. Not that his posse was well represented, they were in halo’s. To say she was a devout Christian is an understatement, to say she was a hoot and a holler is a bold face lie. She had a sense of humor, true, she was smart, literate and even sarcastic but she was not known for being fun and full of mirth. Her predisposition for being rotund did not give credence to the belief that jolly goes with a Santa-esque physique. That was not the type of action we saw at 23 Seneca Drive, only chin hairs so long you could braid, but I digress. Looking at Erasmus’s quote we see my grandmother is a strident example of someone searching for meaning in life through the God squad and failing. Or at least on the outside it seemed so. She was not content much less very happy and few of her children were either I think. If she had read any of Erasmus’s work or for that fact Tom Robbins she would have had a better road map. I can say from experience that laughter is of the divine and the only way to transport any day from shit to something more palatable.
I am not saying that being earnest in your beliefs is bad, I am saying that they call them heavenly bodies because they are lighter. Our emulation of what is true and good might be based on lightness not a hairshirt, fixation and condemnation. It might be flexible rather than rigid. Of course this applies to anything across the board as most good golden rules do. When I hyper focus on a goal, like getting in shape, studying hard, not drinking an entire bottle of wine for dinner, etc. I tend to get a little OCD. In the way you could call Hitler a little annoyed with the Jews. When I buckle down and get serious and focused on such goals I invariably wind up after a few weeks fatter, stupider and drunker, but perhaps that is just me?
I find when I approach a goal or desire with lightness, fun and most of all curiosity I happily meander past my initial goal and keep going without even breaking a sweat. Yes it is counter intuitive you might say but if I look at the things I love, I am generally very good at them. I like doing them so I get better because I participate in them. When I am learning something new, I suck at it. It can be uncomfortable, frustrating and maddening but if I stop practicing I never get better. Last summer I started Stand Up Paddle or SUP. I stunk but after each session I was better and therefore I liked it more. During each practice on the board I stopped focusing on how jittery I felt and focused on how good the sun felt on my skin or how beautiful the water felt to ride it. I found lightness and fun in the midst of being uncomfortable and scared. I allowed myself to be where I was and be okay with it. I didn’t berate myself or slide in to an “old story” about me being a spaz with no athletic ability. I just found things I enjoyed in the moment. And in the next moment when I went ass over tea kettle into the water in front of a whole school of kiddies who rocked their boards I laughed my ass off. There was nothing better to do at the time but laugh, cool off and climb back on and try it again.
I have talked about my view of failure a number of times in the past years and it fits here so if you have heard it before please indulge me. There are only two ways to fail, one is by not starting something, and the second is by giving up. Everything between those two things is called learning.
So is it possible to learn, grow and become closer to our Best Self, God, the Big Kahuna, the Universe or the Ultimate Space Monkey through laughter and lightness? Think of your best day, yea no kidding take a breath this is the interactive part now and think. What were the elements of your best day? I am betting there was love, lightness and laughter among all the particulars of what makes you you. So if our best day is a representation of goodness and it is filled with those things why wouldn’t the path to more of that or to the divine be just more of the same? When I relax and am aware of all that is being presented to me I can move through life and enjoy the ride around and with my goals, wants, needs and desires. They are not end points, they are part of the whole, the scenery but there is a much more out there to see and do. When I hyper focus on one thing, or one area I make myself smaller. In doing so I get visions, I can start to see myself in a thin whitish slip with my myopic bling as far as the eye can see. Let me tell you that is one ugly point of view. So when given the choice of something you have to grit your teeth to do for whatever reason or fun, lightness and folly you might pause and really consider your options next time. Trust me, nobody wants to be Santa in a slip wearing bad jewelry come the end game.