Monday, May 16, 2011

Sense of Humor

The one important thing I've learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative the second is disastrous.
-Margot Fonteyn

I first read this passage my junior year of high school. In my first few days at the arts high school my lack of friends and extreme social awkwardness forced me into the library for much of my idle time. I spent my free period grazing through the different sections of literature until I found a book exclusively holding information, photos, and quotations from Margot Fonteyn. In all my solitary glory, I savored each page, the only noise obstructing complete silence being the hum of the fan and the turning of pages. I loved that book, and made a pattern of retrieving it from it's shelf each morning to view Ms. Fonteyn and her confident grace emanating from every photo taken, every word recorded. Though many aspects of the book stuck with me, the quote above in particular has lodged in my brain, and the concept of conducting life with a sense of humor keeps coming to the surface of my existence in one way or another.

Everyday I am reminded that we never make it. Living gracefully is a conscious effort that takes place every second of every day, and it is hard, an it takes time. But one thing that makes it ever easier is being able to laugh at yourself therein forgiving yourself for perceived shortcomings. In acknowledging that everyone has their pitfalls as well as greatness, it is easier to see the humor in things, the light side of life. Most of the negative emotions we feel are directly related to how seriously we consider our circumstances, but doesn't it feel better to laugh then to sit in anger, jealousy, or hatred? Must we judge ourselves and others so harshly?

You may look at this and say easier said than done, and in some ways I would agree with you.
Letting go of pride is not easy, but once you've done it, and you feel the weight lifted, you realize that nothing was standing between you and your happiness but you. You and your seriousness. You and your judgements. So next time you are given the choice between laughter and anger, I urge you, chose laughter. Feel the spirit of the words of Margot Fonteyn, and the ripples of joy spreading outward.

Wayne Dyer in ‘The Power of Intention’ explains Life Rule no. 6. It is this: don’t take yourself so seriously. In case you’re wondering what the other 5 rules might be - there aren’t any.
When I can accept that I am feeling frustrated and do not try to get rid of the frustration, something really strange happens. The frustration eases. Try for yourself. Bring your awareness to whatever it is you’re feeling. Don’t judge the feeling, don’t judge yourself for having the feeling; try if you can to fully accept that in this moment and time, that is the feeling. I can guarantee you that the feeling will subside. Acceptance of what ‘is’ changes what ‘is’.
So heading into 2011 remember this: the quality of your Future, depends on the quality of your Now. Because if you are in the habit of saying NO to whatever is now, be in no doubt, when the future arrives chances are you’ll say NO to that also. Why? Because your mind will be busy fixing its attention to some next Future, convincing you that what is happening Now is an obstacle blocking your happiness in that Future.

To help keep things in perspective, refer back to Rule No. 6.

-Fiona Hoban

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