Just Grow Up

Have you ever heard of “sliding door moments”? I had not until I read a book by Sarah Wilson called “first we make the beast beautiful” (the beast in this case is anxiety). In the context of how Wilson was using the term I gleaned that it meant something important–something, if not transcendent, at least life changing. And I was right. Looking the term up on the internet I learned that it is defined as “opportunities in life where the decisions we make alter our very destiny.” Okay maybe it is transcendent–or at the very least, life altering.
I found the definition in an article by Deborah Murtagh called “Sliding door moments–Life’s moments that shape and define us…” She expands on the definition further by saying that sliding door moments are “Moments in which we turn left or right, towards change or toward more of the same. These are life’s pivotal moments in which new identities of ourselves are born and old paradigms and beliefs which no longer serve us fall away.” Well, that is a mouthful and a lot to take in–perhaps it could be more simply explained as deciding which way to go when we are faced with a fork in the road.
Wilson explains “sliding door moments” (or successful ones) as moments of grace–when things seem to come together through no fault of our own. I rather like her explanation, as it takes a bit of the weight off having to make a choice. But we all make these choices, and we make them many times not really knowing or understanding that they could have a profound effect on our lives. It brings to mind the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? by The Clash. Although, if you read the words, the responsibility of the life changing decision has been placed squarely in someone elses lap: “Should I stay or should I go now? /If I go, there will be trouble/And if I stay it will be double/So come on and let me know…”
Grace, defined by Wilson “is the “is-ness” of life presented to you, on a cracker, ready to eat.” She goes on to say “It’s an openness that plants you in the flow of the river. Grace doesn’t bring the party to town. It’s not happiness. It’s not a fleeting high. It’s a delicate, yet whole, gift that whispers in our ear, ‘Life has this one covered’. It tells us that things fit. That you fit. You can’t try to earn it or deserve it. It just is. Just as a flower doesn’t try to bloom. It just does.”
So, let us put all these seemingly disparate parts together. Murtaugh says that “sliding door moments” are “key decisions which shape and alter the course of our reality.” Wilson believes basically “it is what it is”, and The Clash want someone else to make the decision. Is this not life in a handbasket? We want to be able to make decisions that matter, that count–we want to have some control. Yet at times we would not mind having someone else take the helm–or just letting life take us where it wants and hope for the best.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
There are no easy answers. Yet we keep looking for them. Perhaps the answer is on page 297 of Wilson’s book. I will let you be the judge if it works for you, but it makes sense to me. These beliefs come from the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, who, according to Wilson believes that “the journey we all need to do is the experiment of sitting in uncertainty…The ultimate endpoint…is growing up. The journey offers no promise of happy endings. Rather the part of ourselves that keep seeking security (when there isn’t any) and something to hold on to (when such a thing doesn’t exist) finally grows up.”
So, that is the answer: Grow up. Who knew it would be that simple (I ask ironically). Now forget all this crap, go out and enjoy June and the official beginning of summer.

Published in: on June 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The film Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah is predicated on this idea. It’s a very fine watch indeed. Given my current situation with Susan, the ‘sliding doors’ concept is ringing true. But sometimes you get to them just in time to prise them open.

  2. Interesting thoughts. I particularly liked this part of the quote: It’s a delicate, yet whole, gift that whispers in our ear, ‘Life has this one covered’. Hope all is well with you!

  3. Sliding door moments… making those decisions that affect your future… (been there …done that .. for sure) Diane


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