“Once upon a time there was a girl who…”…. You know how fairytales usually begin, and yet not all fairytales have the outcome of the ‘happy ending’ we hope for… even in the original fairytales from back-in-the-day which then were far less sanitised versions of the reality of life!
I’ve been revisiting my images from Greenland and I recalled the day I felt such joy and child-like excitement when I saw these incredible icebergs. It was like fantasy land…. a land of towers… and maidens… and dragons… and men in leather on flying horses diving into caves and dungeons. It was the stage for fantasy and fairy-tales.
Looking at these fantastic images on my computer I then recalled a few weeks ago a story of the hopes shared by a young woman – of a fairytale for her own life.
I sat on the grass after a wonderful yoga class and a young woman came and sat in the shade under a gum tree beside me. She just started crying and sharing with me that she felt so lost because she had broken up from a relationship with the love of her life and had left him in South America because after 10 years of being best friends and lovers, he wasn’t able to commit to a relationship together. She told me that she just ached and was so heartbroken and that she wanted their relationship to be like ‘in the fairytales’ where the couple triumph over adversity and ‘live happily ever after.’
Having an increasing number of wrinkles – my ‘laughter lines’; and greying hair – I felt gave me some license to share some words of wisdom from witnessing those around me and of my own life experience. I listened to her carefully and shared some of my thoughts.
“Not all fairytales have ‘happy endings’ and they are stories and fantasies of improbable events which sometimes ‘turn out’ as we would like.. and sometimes they do not.” “Life follows a path of choices and being honest with the reality of what is real right now and not of always wishing or hoping for things in the future to be different than what they actually are – is where living in truth lies.” “It is important to accept not only where you personally are at and capable of either feeling/ doing/ accomplishing/ achieving/ perceiving/ finding meaning in/ choosing – but also accept that of others as well and determine where you place yourself in light of that.”
We discussed life and it’s meanderings in directions of so many different areas of our lives – from interests, vocation, relationships….. and how our life is an accumulation of experiences, and although we can make our own decisions and choices – the decisions and choices of others because of their own capacity to feel/ do / accomplish/ achieve/ perceive/ find meaning in – is totally out of our hands. “Our responsibility is to make choices about where we want to place ourselves in acceptance of others. If you both aren’t flourishing… then it’s time for some deep soul searching… and tough decisions.”
“Time can be given to working ‘through things together’… until a point is reached where the common ground isn’t stable enough for both to flourish. When this is recognised…. it is time to recognise that another way of life lies ahead other than the one with the tower and castle and the man on the flying horse.”
There was time to pause and let our conversation settle. I felt like a wise crone.. an elder ….and I felt words come to me which would support her more than any others. A sentence I had heard before came into my thoughts. I said … “Don’t be sad it’s over; be glad it once was.”
The other day I received an email and this young woman shared that the short sentence I shared some weeks ago… “Don’t be sad it’s over; be glad it once was.” – created a path for her to walk a new way, not without residual heartache… but with a new perspective on how to treasure her past experiences and continue to open to new ones.