Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ruin and Transformation

Let me set this up for you. In the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" Liz Gilbert has a sort of mid-life crisis and ends up divorcing her husband. She jumps right into another relationship, with David, that ends up in misery for both people.  They stay together in spite of the misery they each acknowledge. He tells her that they should stay together and be "miserable, but happy not to be apart".  Gee, how can a girl pass up an offer like that?
She decides to travel for a year, to go on a spiritual journey to figure out who she is and what she wants. She considers David's offer in the first part of that journey.  This video is her response to him and his offer.

I poked fun at David's offer but many of us live this, we just don't come right out and say that we're "miserable but happy to not be apart". This isn't necessarily just relationships, although that happens every day everywhere.

We hold on to all kinds of things despite the fact that they hurt us or hold us back or otherwise negatively impact us. We do it because we don't want things to change. It's the old "the devil I know is better than the devil I don't" scenario.

The Augusteum - built by Octavian Augustus to house his remains. Barbarians attacked it and it lay in ruins. In the time of Octavian Augustus, Rome was "the whole world as far as he was concerned", but it lay in ruin for many years - something he could not possibly have foreseen. This is real life, like it or not. Today's reality is tomorrow's memory, or less.

We all feel what David feels. We don't want things to change. We don't want to rock the boat. We've learned to manage our misery and we'd rather continue to do that than turn things upside down and end up with a life we don't recognize.

In the video Liz states that "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the path to transformation".  My first response to that statement is that it isn't necessarily true. Like most things in life, the consequence of ruin is entirely up to us. Yes, it can be the path to transformation, but only if we allow it to be.

Upon further reflection though, I do agree with her. I agree that ruin is a gift. Our life lays in pieces and we can put it back together in a new way. When ruin happens we have an opportunity to change our lives. We can embrace the gift, put it to good use and allow it to transform ourselves and our lives into something better. Or we can toss the gift aside, thereby allowing it to transform ourselves and our lives into something desperate and painful. Either way, it transforms us. In what manner it transforms us, depends on our choices.

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