AN ARTICLE WITHOUT A TITLE
By Bill Cottringer
Sorry, but I can’t think of the right title to this article and I also sense I will have a great deal of difficulty capturing the essence of what I want to say with mere words. But I must at least try. I am either going nutso or I am really onto something valuable here. So here goes something or nothing. It comes from what I’ve learned and grown into during my lifetime and I expose it to you for affirmation or suggested improvement.
I have always been drawn to the creative arts—music, movies, plays, literature, painting, photography, poetry and such. These creative efforts speak the essence of life and love clearly and vividly to me and the truths they speak are worth knowing to help the enjoyment and direction of our human journey. Creative products are the success clues worth producing, understanding and sharing.
I have come to experience life as an accumulation of all the creative arts fitting together as a giant story in progress—the greatest song, movie, play, book, painting, photo, and poem collectively ever imagined, all working together for the ultimate academy award. And all of creation—from human beings to elephants to forest ferns to the tiny grains of sand—are playing a role to make this greatest art form entertaining, enjoyable, and alive with deep meaning, and to help create and fulfill life’s purpose and reach its conclusion.
We all have been assigned a specific role in this fantastically creative production, and we get to discover what this role is as we go, putting our own personal signature on it—doing it in our own special way—sorting out the ways that work from the ones that don’t work; running, stumbling, crawling, falling, walking, climbing, standing still and flying.
I think the most interesting usable bit of research I ever came across was the results of interviews done with 95+ year olds about what they regretted most in their lives. At the top of the list were: (a) not contemplating life enough, and (b) not taking enough chances. I think these things go together as the essence of discovering our role and living it in life and love.
To best understand life and love fully, so that we can live it with the most happiness, meaning, contentment and success, we do need to discover our unique role and purpose in this life and learn to perform it well. Of that reality there is no doubt. This takes a willingness to experience, reflect, learn, grow and improve from who we are right now into who we can become—from our real selves to our ideal selves, from incomplete, imperfect, flawed, broken human beings to better, more complete, effective spiritual beings who can make a unique contribution in helping human life become better for everyone. God gives us this potential and it is up to us to realize and develop it in our own special way. This is translating the noun love into the action verb love. This is living life.
The purpose and role I have discovered in my own life is to experience the big picture I have been encouraged by life to see, experience and share with others, offering smart, well-timed and strategically-placed clues for them to see what is really going on so they can get more inclined to get excited about discovering their role and purpose in this drama, tragedy, comedy and action flick we are all participating in whether we realize it or not.
Now in a sense, the common process we are all intimately involved in is learning, growing and improving our own big pictures and all the relevant details needed for our best performance in contributing the greatest big picture ever created. How we go about accomplishing this “destiny” is what “free will” is all about in solving the central paradox in life—having our cake and eating it too. And the results we get—all the positive feelings of love, acceptance, happiness, joy and pleasure, as well as all the negative feelings form the broken bones, bruises and bleeding—is the karma that either guides us in the right direction or warns us that we may need to slow down and rethink our approach. Life is a very wise behavior modification program that always has our best interests in mind.
Is life worth contemplating and taking chances with? Yes if we can trust the wisdom of people who lived 95 or more years of it. But maybe these two burning challenges are what define the life we each live. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to seek answers to some of these burning questions:
- What is the central meaning of life?
- What is my role and purpose in life?
- How can I best accomplish this purpose?
- What is love all about?
- What works and what doesn’t work.
- How can I love and be loved?
- What do I need to do to be happy, successful and peaceful?
- What should or shouldn’t I do?
- Why? Why? Why?
- What have I left out?
But, maybe not bothering with such impractical, philosophical abstract questions is what some people’s role is all about, or maybe they are asking these questions, not with words but with their actions? Probably all three alternatives are needed and they all need to be explored and shared. This could be the launching point for a great conversation.
It seems the best way to do this all is in an intimate relationship, because we are all born into a relationship with life and love, so we are really already part of one. The main challenge is to find the right person—one with whom you have many things in common, as well as a profound sense of special love blessing, acceptance, unconditional trust, the ability to communicate past difficult conflicts, the encouragement to be your best, and a forever-growing fondness, liking and passion. I know I have found this person for the first time in my life, and maybe that is what my life has been all about—to become a true artist in life and love. Only time will tell! How ‘bout you?
William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Belleview, WA. he is author of You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too and The Bow-Wow Secrets. He can be reached at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer.pssp.net