A Lesson From Curious George

There we were. My five year old son cuddling with me on my lap. My anxiety increased as we watched an unaware and dangerously curious monkey make a mess out of everything he touched. There were moments I identified with the man in the yellow hat as he followed George throughout the city attempting to put out little fires of chaos, only to find himself in another predicament. If it were not for Jack Johnson playing in the background and the fact I was being cuddled by my little love bug of a son, I may have needed to pop a Prozac to finish watching the movie.

balloonsI could feel my blood pressure increase when the man in the yellow hat was floating through the New York City skyline tied to a ginormous cluster of balloons and creatively using a kite to guide him towards rescuing his new little furry friend. I glanced around our little one bedroom apartment wondering how I would fill the empty walls of our little abode with warm decor which could help my son feel even more at home when he is with me. I assessed the mess from a week of being ill and living out of suitcases. I processed this year of grief and loss and pondered new challenges before me. I rehearsed the last couple of days when I have been following my son around in circles saying phrases like, “I just need you to chill” as his excitement and energy increased with the rapid approach of Halloween festivities. I am tired. I am worn down. Overwhelmed.

My thoughts came back to my son and feeling the warmth of his embrace as he watched George and Ted build a stronger bond. The animator captured the man’s expression perfectly when his eyes shift from the surrounding chaos to his little friend. You can almost feel his anxiety towards his circumstances and his calming love for his friend which gives him hope to keep trying. It was at this moment when Jack Johnson‘s eloquent lyrics popped on the foreground of the scene, “Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be”

My lungs let out a sigh of relief as my eyes shifted from the chaos around me to my son and thinking, Maybe THIS is how it’s supposed to be.

I guess life would not be life without surprises and challenges. A roller coast would not be nearly as fun without a few twists and turns and moments of hanging upside down. A story is not much of a story without dilemma.

changeandchaosAs I sit for a moment and assess my life and consider how chaos and unforeseen events have so drastically shifted the coarse of my existence, hopes, dreams and desires, I realize that I have been living under a cloud of negative self-talk. I took a week of vacation in hopes to clear my mind and, perhaps, receive some sort of revelation for this next season of my life. I became even more discouraged as I felt a feeling of coming away with nothing in terms of personal revelation other than a deeper feeling of emptiness and repetitive thoughts sounding something like, “This isn’t how it was supposed to be.” How many of us have said this at one time or another?

I guess my “A-ha” moment came when I was holding my son, looking at my chaotic surroundings and reflecting on my rather unsettling life circumstances.

That moment when things do not workout the way we had planned or hoped is the crux of every notable story. Perhaps the adventure is all about finding the glimpses of inspiration and hope in the most unpredictable of places.

I could choose to continue dwelling on what I thought was and worrying about what will be, or I could continue finding hope in even the most difficult of circumstances. This is life. I can choose to live in it or in fear of it. I can continue wallowing in the idea of what I thought it was supposed to be or have faith in the mystery of what is unfolding.  I am not suggesting we should sit back and passively let things happen, but maybe to not be so surprised or overwhelmed when things do happen which are outside the boundaries of our plan and comfort.

May we learn to take the chaos with the peace; the pain with the joy; the loss with the gain. May we still enjoy the adventure without losing our curiosity and sense of wonder and amazement. When life leaves us feeling lost and alone, may we discover who we are.

Life has a silly way of teaching us important lessons. Today, I tip my hat to my son, to Curious George, and the man in the yellow hat.