I’m a sucker for a good fairy tale. A beautiful tale filled with smiles, sunshine and love, that has a happy, wrapped-up-in-a-pretty-bow ending. Packaged in spectacular Disney precision, as a cheesy teen chick flick, a beautiful melody, a classic dramatic love story, or a rags-to-riches success story – the results are the same – a glowing feeling in my heart and gut – a warm, empathetic joy – and the thought that all is well with the world.
And then I get stuck in my own moments of shit. In those juicy “in-between” places – the transitions that we’re told (and I know!) – are where the most powerful and beautiful growth is – the sludgy muck from which the beautiful lotus blooms. It is here I feel groundless, and like there is no reference point for this. Have I been here too long? How long should it take to work through this challenge? How hard do I actually have to work on this? Am I working too hard? Should I just sit back and let the universe unfold and deliver what it will? Should I change? Should I fight? What the hell am I supposed to be doing now? Does anyone else out there feel like this??
This is when I curse the fairy tales. They don’t show this part in the fairy tales or dwell on this in the inspiring success stories. Ok, well, sometimes they do, but somehow it feels fleeting to me in the retelling of the story because there is such a good ending to get to! When I hear about the impoverished maiden who gets swept off her feet by a knight in shining armor on a white steed, or the inspired 20-something who built an empire from his parents’ garage with $20 scraped from between the sofa cushions, I get swept up in the details of the extremes – it’s so exciting, do we really even want to hear abut the how? But how did they get from point A to point B (besides with the wave of the fairy godmother’s magic wand!)?? When I’m feeling cranky, I feel deceived. I’ve been duped by these fairy tales I’ve been watching, reading, hearing my whole life – I’ve been believing that this is how it works! What and where is my happily ever after? Is there a crystal ball I can look in to tell me? How will I know when it arrives? Is there a soundtrack?
Ahhhh….I see! The reality is, the “in-between” IS where the magic happens. And that is the happily every after. Even in the fairy tales. Maybe we don’t always see it in detail, but if we pay attention it is there, and we know it. And we are our own fairy godmother. It is the waiting, pondering, false starts, researching, exploring, practicing, talking, crying, wallowing, panicking, mistake-making, sucess-bearing, little-step celebrating place that is the foundation of the happy ever after. Know that every fairy tale perches in a foundation of this “in-between” muck. And that happily ever after is an ending, a beginning, and another experience on this beautiful continuum of our lifetime.
Go ahead, continue to take inspiration and entertainment from fairy tales – I plan on it! And at the same time, let’s accept and embrace all the very real steps it takes to move between our own unique “once upon a time” and “happily ever after.”
p.s. I have recently actually met a fabulous fairy godmother…check out her magic!