I’m realizing life is too short not to forgive (myself or others). Life is too short not to laugh.
Recently, a friend of mine went to the sold out Telluride Bluegrass Festival (lucky b*tch), and I stayed behind, taking care of her house and cat. Despite not actually being with her at one of the most fabulous, famed festivals, I was enjoying the quiet of her little cabin and the company of her cat.
She also left a bottle of yummy red wine on the counter.
I sampled it one evening, but then forgot about its existence. On one of my last evenings at her home, however, I was settling in to read a little Hesse, and remembered this oh-so-yummy-wine.
Excitedly, I went into the kitchen, anticipating the wine’s rich yet fruity flavor. With something akin to glee, I sloshed some into a delicate wine glass, then gulped.
I should remember not to gulp wine, but sometimes in my excitement, I forget.
And then what happens next?
If I’m unlucky, I spit wine everywhere because the fire of that much alcohol just doesn’t go down as quickly as I’m attempting to swill it.
You’re probably thinking: Honey, wine should be delicately enjoyed. Either that, or: Honey, you’re an idiot.
Look, I know. It’s just that I can be, well, excitable and enthusiastic.
So, I spit deep, blood colored wine all over the kitchen.
And I started laughing—a big, belly laugh.
Then I realized that my former self wouldn’t have laughed.
My former self would have been angry, would have worried about all the places the wine splashed and worried about the fact that this was not my kitchen and I had just made a horrible mess.
But the current me grabbed the sponge with one hand and my belly with the other—in an instant, I was cleaning and laughing.
Scrubbing the wall and snorting at my silly self, I realized the person I’ve become. Whether it takes me a fraction of a second, or a few months to look at a situation with a smile on my face, I generally get there.
I am now able to view even the deeply challenging situations that arise in daily life and relationships with humor and gentleness.
Life is something of a comedy when seen through the eyes of the divine—how often we act childishly with others, how often we let our need for control get in the way of love. That is what kept me from laughing before—I had to be a good little girl and I also had to be in control.
But, c’mon, we’re human.
Some of us spit wine all over the kitchen, or behave strangely when we’re afraid of love. Then, all we have is a choice about what to do next.
I believe we can all learn to laugh, even at our greatest failures, and smile, remembering our darkest hours. For life is only growth. That is what the soul is here to do: to grow, to learn, to birth into greater love and compassion.
I find when I look back at some of my tougher situations in life, when I see how I treated others and how they treated me or when I think of how impatient I can be with those I love the most, I smile. I see now that we just didn’t know any better—we were like children, fumbling around. And in this smile, this is what I am and what I feel: compassion.
This is not to say I will continuously put up with poor behaviors from myself or others without a desire for change, but it seems I can now more easily see the root of the difficult moments with kindness in my heart.
Sometimes I don’t know any better.
Sometimes those we love don’t either.
But we can learn to sway, to change, to laugh and hold a bigger love in our hearts, a love that is the very essence of compassion.
I hope I can continue to laugh when shit hits the fan, and learn to do so as quickly as I did when the wine was spattered all over the walls of my friend’s kitchen. Really, life’s so much more fun that way.
And I hope you, too, can look at the little failures in life, and see them for what they are—the moments of a little child who is learning.
Tara Rose Crist is a music junkie, yoga junkie, equestrian, lover of the outdoors and deep ecology, bees and nurturing things (like plants and humans). Her academic background is in Literature and Creative Writing, and these days the written word serves purely as a vehicle for expression and tool for self-exploration. It also seems like a good way to reach other people’s hearts, and she’s pretty sure that reaching other people’s hearts is a worthwhile undertaking!
Editor: Lara C.
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