I am often drawn to stories about people who make difficult decisions, people who find themselves at a crux in their life and make a choice based on something that feels unfamiliar yet right. See, I have come to believe there are no right or wrong decisions in life. (Well, yes there are when we're talking about choices between those that are legal or illegal, hurtful or unkind...you catch my drift). When we make up our minds to take one path over another and we base that decision on a feeling that's ours alone and not one influenced by the feelings of others (I call those feelings the "shoulds"), there is a sense that we are going against the grain, against expectations, and towards a path that is less dense, one that is unchartered, and frankly, quite scary. What helps us to keep taking that one step forward is an unshakeable instinct. For me, that is the path of least resistance.
That's what some of the stories in #Repost represent. Michaela Coel, who won an Emmy this week for her incredible show I May Destroy You, had made a difficult decision to turn away from a $1million deal with Netflix when she was selling that series to the network. She had wanted a percentage of the copyright of the show (why wouldn't she as it was her story, based on her experience, her words, and even 9 out of 12 episodes were directed by her?). She was told by Netflix, "It’s not how we do things here." How many times have you heard that line in your life? Coel was even pushed by her own representatives at CAA (the talent agency) to take the deal she was being offered, after all $1m was nothing to scoff at. She refused. She fired her reps. She believed she was worth fighting for so she went elsewhere. She offered the show to the BBC which gave her "everything she wanted" plus "full creative control" and the rest, well, is history. I've included Coel's impressive speech from a few years ago at the Edinburgh TV Festival's prestigious MacTaggart Lecture for your watching and listening pleasure. It's definitely worth your time.
There are other stories in #Repost of people making brave choices. From the actor Adrian Grenier dropping out of Hollywood for a much more nurturing and healthy existence at a farm outside Austin, Texas, to novelist Isabel Allende whose internal compass always points to passion, no matter the cost. After all, for her a life of passion isn't easy but it brings with it a wealth of material from which to write and live. Also featured this week are the stories of Daniel Destin Cretton, the director from Hawaii whose love of film began when his grandmother gave him a VHS camcorder as a kid and who is now making brave and mindful choices in his career; and the writer Catherine Hernandez whose novel 'Scarborough', explored the often ignored people who live in a Toronto suburb. The novel has been turned into a film and it premiered at TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival) this year.
Life isn't meant to be lived in a linear way. Our mistakes are just that--mis-takes. When my son gets upset because he feels he has failed at something, I say 'Wow! how lucky are you? You get to try another way!' I don't say he has to try another way. I say, he gets to. I want him to know that if we looked at every experience as a gift, an opportunity to stretch our minds and souls, an opportunity to get creative in how we live, then failures aren't that bad. They are simply the gateway to another portal, one filled with new ideas and solutions. And those portals take us closer to who we are truly meant to be.
Life isn't a puzzle that needs to be solved. It is a rich existence meant for experiences. With experiences come emotions and knowledge both of which help us learn more about ourselves and help us to develop compassion and empathy for others. We take a chance, we try, we fall, we get up, we try a different route. Listen to advice with a grain of salt, study our options, then follow our own internal compass. On that we can always depend. Oh, and by the way, if anyone ever uses the "that's not how we do things here" line with me, I know I am in the wrong place and talking to the wrong people.
"There are many paths to enlightenment.
Be sure to take
the one with a heart." ~ Lao Tzu