Christmas day 2011 is closing in on the finish line and has certainly been a full day. After a lovely time of celebration with friends and family, my husband and I watched the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and it has stirred up some inspiration for me.
I imagine most readers of this post have seen the movie many times, but for those that have not, here's the gist: The story is about a talented and likable young man, George Bailey, that due to various circumstances, let go of his dreams to go to college and then travel the world building sky scrapers and doing other exciting things, to manage the family business in his small town. After years of hard work, he found himself in a desperate financial situation that caused him to consider taking his own life. Thankfully, his guardian angel, who just so happened to be in need of earning his wings, showed up on the scene and gave him the opportunity to see what his community and those he loved would be like if he had never been born. As you can imagine, it was an eye opener for him, showing clearly that he truly had a wonderful life even though his original dreams were not realized.
I imagine this movie became a classic since it speaks to the viewer's heart. We all want to have a wonderful life and sometimes our plans to do so don't work out, which can trick us into thinking we failed. As I thought about the situation George faced in the movie, I saw a man that had many gifts to share and even though his original plan did not work out, he definitely had a very powerful impact on countless people and had much to appreciate.
We may never know the totality of our impact, yet I strongly believe that each of us have touched someone, somewhere in some way and if we had never been born, our presence on earth would surely be missed.
So how do you have a wonderful life when your experience of life is not going like you hoped or planned? Do you have to change someone else's life for the better in order to have a wonderful life? Do you have to create or stimulate phenomenal things to have a wonderful life? For me, the answers come from a simple belief, and that is life is wonderful if we believe it is.
The message I get from this film is that we all have access to living a wonderful life. The way to see and feel the wonderful-ness is by being aware, open and grateful for all of the simple little things we take for granted and to be open to shifting gears when things don't go as planned.
It is by being engaged fully in our relationships with those people that we see and talk to everyday as well as the strangers we meet. It is about accepting "what is" when change is not possible and stimulating change when it is. A wonderful life comes when we appreciate more than we complain and by pausing long enough to know when we are doing either.
Life feels wonderful when we cease to beat ourselves up for our missed opportunities, dreams and goals and when we can trade in our fear of failure for a hunger to live as fully as possible.
I believe this formula is one anyone can follow. It's simple and non-discrimnatory. Live from your heart, meaning make choices that simply feel "right" for you in the moment. Be kind to yourself and to others as you travel your path. Don't look over your shoulder or far into the future, but be present in the current moment, since that is all that really exists.
Although I don't anticipate a visit from my guardian angel who will give me the experience of seeing what the world would be like if I did not exist, I believe I am on the right track... not because of huge accomplishments, but because I am thoroughly enjoying the process of life. It simply feels "right" and in my movie of life feeling "right" means wonderful.