If you are a parent, like me, then you are well read in the oeuvre of Theodor Geisel. Better known as Dr. Seuss. One of our dearest held family traditions is the nightly bedtime story and I love reading to Abigail who just turned three. As she is my fourth child, there aren’t a lot of children’s stories I haven’t read! The other night I fondly turned to an old standby, Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I must have read this book 40 times over a 15 year span (and that number is conservative).
It sets out brightly with a young boy heading out into the world, looking forward to adventure. But then Seuss proffers some sobering news to our young reader. Suddenly, I was no longer reading to Abigail, but immersed in this book, reminiscing over my past choices and life decisions.
I’m sorry to say
but, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.
Yes. Indeed. This was one of the difficult lessons that I learned in my twenties. At some point I had wrongly adopted the belief that when you are committed to living a spiritual life you are inoculated from chaos or mishaps. I really believed that. Now I understand that it’s the bang-ups and hang-ups that bring the greatest blessings and that having something go “wrong” isn’t a punishment, no matter how much it may feel like it at the time. And this is what was so profound. Sitting on the floor in the dimmed room, it dawned on me that this awareness was out there all along, even at age three. Yet, most of us spend our entire lives avoiding the mishaps and striving for perfection instead.
I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
‘cause you’ll play against you.
Oh, the profundity! It’s an old adage: you are your own worst enemy. But it has never been said in a bouncier, funnier, more rhyming way. I spend a lot of time with students and a lot of that time is dedicated to understanding why certain things aren’t manifesting in their lives. Step one, of course, is desire. If they have the desire then what is blocking blessings from coming? (Be it a child, a job, a relationship, etc.) Often it comes down to these games they can’t win because they are playing against themselves! Self-handicapping, feelings of unworthiness, and self-sabotage are just a few of the ways we hold ourselves back.
And when we persist in these games…
You can get so confused
that you’ll start to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
For people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
Or a bus to come, or a plane to go
Or the mail to come, or the rain to go
Or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
Or waiting around for a Yes or No
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
This is so true. And this is the part in the story where my stomach dropped. The Waiting Place is the scariest place of all… and one of the most painful, as well. It’s when you aren’t living or enjoying each day, but waiting for something or someone to come save you. How often do we make excuses for not doing the things we want to do? It’s not the right time to date, to go back to school, to have another child, to adopt a dog, to take a trip… Perhaps, logically there are better times to embark on different paths in life, but be careful. Be very careful.
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
The somehow is through action. The only way I know out of the waiting game is to take steps toward your goal in small or big ways each and every day. Not planning, not thinking, not dreaming – it takes physical action and that begins with a choice.
So much wisdom in a Dr. Seuss book. Of course, having the wisdom to find the wisdom seems to take about forty years!
Thought Into Action
Wisdom can be found anywhere and from anyone. Keep a look out today.