Here’s a fact of life: Nobody gets away scot-free. In every life, we are destined to find some disappointment, dissatisfaction, pain, and illness. We are bound to feel confused, insecure, and anxious. Regularly contemplating the travails of our journey helps us to stay realistic about what life is and isn’t… Every dip and rise, every twist and turn is part of the infinite journey; why turn aside from any of it? Too many of us resist authenticity, preferring instead an airbrushed approach to the world… Too much airbrush reality on a daily basis and we become airheads.
“Nobody gets away scot-free” – now there’s a happy thought to start your day! Appearances aside, author Surya Das opines that nobody is “livin’ the dream,” at least not for long. Why, he asks, turn aside from any of it, meaning the unwanted dips and twists – maybe because we don’t want to become morbid, maybe we’d prefer to look on the bright side of life, and perhaps as the old song states, we’d rather “direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.”
There is certainly something to say for focusing on the positive, for turning our gaze on those aspects of life for which we are grateful. But there is also good reason to be “realistic about what life is and isn’t,” and to not only look upon darker truths, but to open ourselves to what they might have to teach us. Airbrushed reality may be more pleasant to consider, but it presents a perverted version of reality, one that can make it difficult for us to accept the unadorned truth about who we are, how we look, and what we have or have not achieved.
So what is the payoff in turning toward rather than away from life’s harsh truths – two things come to mind. One is that doing so can teach us that fear, when faced, is not as frightening as it seems. What we fear loses its power to intimidate when we take command of a situation, when we choose to engage rather than turn a blind eye to what is unappealing. Another life lesson might be that we have inner resources we may not realize until we venture outside our comfort zone, until, that is, we brush up against – rather than airbrush – what we find daunting. There is a spiritual strength and resilience we can bring to bear when we feel overwhelmed, a confidence that comes through us rather than from us.
It’s true that nobody gets away scot-free, but it’s also true that embracing this fact can be the catalyst that transforms us into people who are less fearful, and more confident – anything but airheads!