Sunday, February 14, 2016

Words to live by, from Cinderella

Have courage, and be kind.
These little instructions cover pretty much all life's challenging situations. And they are the recurring theme of the newest live version of Cinderella. I'm finding my life's philosophy from a Disney fairy tale. (At least it's not a cartoon.)

This also reminds me of that little book of essays, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

First, courage.
Terrible things happening? Big bad things like death, car accident, cancer diagnosis, divorce.
Have courage.

Anger spewing out around you?
A large furious man accosts you at the holiday-frantic mall over ownership of a parking spot.
The troubled couple across the street begins swearing and threatening each other while you're over there helping them push their car out of a snow drift.
Your partner starts yelling at you and your kids.
Have courage.

Going outside your comfort zone?
Making a speech to 3,000 people, parachuting out of a plane, pitching your project to the board.
Have courage.


Then, kindness.
People driving you crazy?
The neighbours are lining up their garbage by your front-yard fence instead of storing it out of sight until pick-up day.
Some blankety-blank pedestrian strolls across the street in front of you, against a red light, then gives you the finger when you honk your horn at her.
You volunteer to go on a charity sing-a-long with the choir, hardly anyone else shows up, and the person in charge picks songs that no one knows and insists on singing all six verses of them.
Be kind.

Stressed and pressed for time?
You're racing to get to an appointment and just as you're getting into your car, an elderly neighbour pokes her head out her front door, calls 'hello' and starts to chat.
A stack of theory papers needs to be marked, the pasta pot is boiling over on the stove, your blog needs posting, the cat is barfing on the couch,  and your invalid cousin calls and asks for help.
Be kind.

Thinking mean and nasty thoughts?
If that idiot had just done this instead of that, everything would be fine. Duh!
Well, it wouldn't be such a mess is you'd taken my advice, you nincompoop.
Those people are so STUPID; how can they possibly believe that?
Be kind.


Sometimes, it takes courage just to get to the point where kindness is possible.
A loved one is estranged and there's nothing you can do about it but wait; the ball is not in your court at the moment. It hurts and bewilders. It's tempting to withdraw, pull back, push the beloved one far away, pretending that the relationship is not important. It takes courage to face up to the hurt, and kindness to wing loving thoughts his/her way.

A competitor is enjoying success, while you are not. Courage is needed to accept this fact, to look at why this might be so. Acknowledging her/his triumph with genuine warmth requires bigness of heart.

(All tarot images in this post are from Charlene Livingstone's Art of Life Tarot.)

Thanks, Cinderella! Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.