Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lives Intersect on the Patio of a Ski Lodge.

I am not particularly fond of crowds, but every once in a while I am up for a good “people watching” experience. I love opportunities to sit as a quiet observer in a crowd of people to catch a glimpse of others lives. Was it merely a coincidence that thousands of strangers paths crossed on a beautiful day in Snow Basin, Utah?”

The word coincidence has dual meaning. In one sense, it describes a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance. In another sense, the purely mathematical sense, it describes the perfect intersection of angles. I figured there must be something to learn from this “perfect intersection” of so many lives, so I set up camp and took the opportunity to polish my people watching skills.

The patio of a ski lodge provides a fascinating cross section of life—it’s like looking at the rings of a tree. In Ring 1, the center, are kids 10 and under. I love watching the toddlers barreling down the slopes focused solely on keeping up with mom and dad, and the "tweens" flying over jumps with enviable ease. Mindset: “Just keep skiing.”

The teens, members of Ring 2 were noticeably absent. They made their appearance at the lodge for the obligatory parental check-in before disappearing again to the upper peaks of the mountain as far away from supervision as they could get. Their pimple faced mission was simple…seek “their own kind” and dare each other to accept challenges that make us more experienced types shudder. Mindset: “No fear.” Or maybe it’s “no clue”. I can’t decide.

I was positioned near a very vocal group of young individualists, the members of Ring Three. It was difficult to ignore the fact that twenty something’s have attitudes much larger than their experience. Watching them, I couldn’t help but notice that their gear probably cost more than their monthly rent payments. Designer labels and looking good were the dominant themes as they actively checked each other out. Predominant mindset: “I’m hot.”

Ring 4: A group of “thirty something’s” who had recently traded their expensive “twenty something” gear for more practical, pocket ridden “parental gear” were noticeably outnumbered by their broods. They were lugging more weight in ski gear than they had in children and often required two complimentary wheelbarrows to handle the logistics.

As a recent member of this “ring”, I could really relate. One family in particular held my interest for quite some time. They had four, two year olds and two, four year olds. I couldn’t help wonder if they had their own reality show. Mom and Dad had distinct roles. Dad dragged two kids at a time, up and down the bunny slope. Each time he returned to the base of the chair lift, he passed the twenty something’s. I couldn’t help wonder if thirty something Dad was yearning for his more carefree twenty something days.

Thirty something mom was truly at the end of her rope and had resorted to using her voice as a bull horn, barking out orders to everyone including her husband. She was the designated bathroom matron. In the 60 minutes I sat on the patio she made four trips to the bathroom. During one particularly overwhelming moment, she produced two giant boxes of pretzels and donuts. My first reaction was decidedly judgmental as I thought, “Way to fill em’ up with sugar, Mom.” Thankfully, I regained my good sense and I realized health food was not what the situation called for. She needed a little sugar coated leverage and a strong drink! Dad’s job was more tiring. Mom’s job was more frustrating, and this was clearly and endeavor of unconditional love. Mindset: “Divide and Conquer.” I was in awe!

Moving on to the forty something’s…my crowd. This group was noticeably more relaxed than the 30 something’s, enjoying family time and their new found freedom with children who were almost entirely self-sufficient. They were reaping the rewards of the hard labor of the thirty something years and bracing for trials of the fifty something years. Mindset: “I Can Rest For a Moment.”

In Ring 5 were the fifty something’s, primarily men who seemed to be out for a day of adrenaline induced fun. I caught a few of them popping Advil’s mid-day, masking their pain and holding out for a few more runs. They bonded with other fifty something’s in ways that only adventure seeking men can. And I noticed several groups shaking hands with departing words of “It was nice skiing with you. Hope to see you again sometime”. Mindset: “All by Myself.”

Ring 6--the 60+ crowd. I hesitate to label this group “senior” because they exhibited a display of energy and athleticism that would put many of us to shame. This group overwhelmingly projected a sense of inner peace, gratitude and wisdom and I found myself thinking, this is how I want to be when I am sixty something. They were clearly unhurried, impervious to others opinions, and had no apparent agenda other than to relish and enjoy the experience at their own pace. Mindset: “I’ll Do It My Way.”

This coincidental gathering of thousands on a beautiful day in Utah provided a snapshot of the timeline of life. It reminded me that we are all on our own paths, and we are exactly where we need to be at the moment. There is nothing more to do than take it all in, enjoy it, learn from it, and look forward to the next stage.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Don’t worry, Be Happy! Lessons on Finding our Own Inner Peace!

This week we are studying the concept that “nothing can bring you peace but yourself”. While this is attributed to the great Ralph Waldo Emerson, spiritual masters have taught this principle since the beginning of recorded history. I believe it might be one of the most difficult concepts to incorporate into our own lives with any level of consistency. This may be especially true in today’s society, in which we are bombarded, 24/7 with more information than we know how to process. Finding inner peace requires the ability to instantaneously tap into the unlimited “kingdom of your mind” and to rise above the negative influences around us. Ego-centric emotions like vanity, worry, judgment, self doubt block our access to inner peace. Around my house these days, “worry” seems to be the most disruptive emotion, so I’ll focus on that for purposes of this essay.

As human beings, we’ll go to great lengths to distract ourselves from anxiety and worry. We create schedules and routines designed to “fill up” our lives. We engage in repetitive mindless tasks that create a false sense of “certainty.” We wile away countless hours on pointless activities, or we partake of the “digital noise” designed to “entertain” us. We become experts in denial and blame. We may even try to dull our senses using alcohol or pharmaceuticals. These learned habits distract us from the practice of “turning within” to find peace.

For about 10 years, I have been an occasional practitioner of meditation. As I get older and wiser, and the world gets more chaotic, I am now beginning to understand the importance of daily meditation. It breaks these destructive patterns and forces us to clear our mind of distractions so we can connect to the deeper intelligence and intuition that we all possess. I believe this is critical for human beings of any age, including children.

An important milestone to attaining inner peace is to realize that worry serves no purpose in our lives other than to temporarily immobilize us and keep us from realizing our optimum potential. I have often turned to the very popular “Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebhr when worry creeps in. I have even gone so far as to have my children memorize and recite this poem on a daily basis hoping that by “osmosis” it will become embedded in their subconscious minds.

I am sure you have heard it…

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

And so it eloquently continues. I heard some very sage advice on worry recently that has given me an even deeper perspective. I will paraphrase… “Don’t worry about what you can’t control because you can’t control it, and if you CAN control it, there’s no need to worry about it, because YOU ARE IN CONTROL.”

I love this quote. Its humorous irony brought back memories of a lush tropical paradise where I was drinking margaritas while dancing to the popular song, “Don’t worry. Be happy”. Arguably, I was “tuned into” some version of “inner peace” in my intoxicated state, but this type of temporary escape wasn’t really strengthening my “inner peace skills”.

These words, in a different context are very powerful and lend themselves perfectly to introducing to my children to the power of the peace that lies within us. “Don’t worry”, I will teach them, “because worry is a pointless waste of time”. As so eloquently stated in the Serenity Prayer, we must ACCEPT what is beyond our control and instead focus our thought energy on finding the COURAGE to change those things we can change.

WISDOM is found in the next phrase-- “Be Happy.” I believe this is one of the most powerful and underrated phrases in the English language. Happiness is a choice. When faced with lesser alternatives, we can simply choose this positive state. To be happy suggests the present, and the present is a place we should all strive to spend more time in. As my friend and intuitive counselor, Tricia Brennan often says in her guided meditations, “Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Be still and present in the moment.” In other words….just BE and do it with happiness!

If you think about it, the quality of our lives isn’t created in our past or in our future. It is created in “the present.” If you can be happy in the present, life will be good, worry will subside and we will learn that in spite of events around us, or things happening to us, a better place is immediately available if we tap into the power of our mind.

“Don’t worry. Be Happy!” is the new mantra in my house. I introduced it last night during an opportune moment at the dinner table when my son was pointlessly obsessing about something. In a very low tone, I began singing the words, repeating them about every minute or so until it broke his state. Before I knew it, he was laughing hysterically and singing along with me. I wasn’t even aware my children knew this song.

Going forward, when we are having a “worry emergency” I will use it as a catalyst to help us break our negative state and regain control by taking a moment to “self sooth” and find our own inner peace.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Are Our Children Getting What They Need? Acquiring Knowledge versus Gaining Wisdom.

One aspect of home school that I value immensely is the freedom to partake spontaneously in alternative opportunities for learning. Our very wise piano teacher invited her students to attend a dress rehearsal of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This was a very special opportunity, and she highly encouraged attendance of this event, even if it meant missing school. She must have realized that the true value of the experience would take her students into a realm beyond knowledge. We gladly accepted the invitation and spent the better part of a morning in musical immersion!

The kids and I sat in the beautiful Segerstrom Concert Hall while billions of music molecules danced around us in perfect harmony. The situation was ideally suited to practice identifying individual instruments in an attempt to understand their unique sound characteristics. We listened to the beautiful syncopation of the orchestra as the emotion of the music flowed through their instruments to our ears. We listened intently to the conductor as he spoke quietly and passionately to the musicians about the emotions the composer was attempting to communicate to the audience through the music. For the first time, I think my children realized that each orchestra member played a vital role in bringing the music to life. Then, it struck me. This was much more than a backstage glimpse into life as a member of the symphony, it was a LESSON on life and how we each fit into the universal whole.

We begin our life with an ego centric existence completely dependent on our primary caregivers for our very survival. As we grow, we struggle for individuality, independence, recognition, significance, achievement, a sense of purpose, growth and contribution. We experience our own personal trials and tribulations as we learn our place in life. We discover that while our identity comes from our individuality, we are not complete without an intimate connection to family, friends, groups, our community, our country and our world. Eventually, we learn that in spite of our earthly accomplishments, we are nothing more than a miniscule part of a universal whole. The best we can hope for is to “share our music with others” while we are here, and to leave our legacy in the hearts of those who knew us when we are gone.

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Lives of all great men remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.

The experience reminded me that whether our children are home schooled or part of the traditional school system, it is our responsibility as parents to ensure that they have ongoing opportunities that will enable them to transcend knowledge and acquire wisdom. They may gain knowledge from any situation or educational experience, but are they really acquiring wisdom? Wisdom is the ability within each of us to link broad concepts across subject matter, time and personal experience. Wisdom appears in our ability form hypothesis, experiment, draw conclusions, invent, and create in a manner that will positively advance society. Wisdom is the act of searching for the deeper meaning in things, confronting errors, and learning. Imparting wisdom in our children requires that they have a broad variety of experiences, study of core subjects, participation in the arts, mastery of sports, and acquisition of life skills. Children need time to play, think and create, to fail and rebuild, to learn moral and ethics, and to solve complex problems.

Norman Cousins, the much beloved athletic coach who used laughter to cure his cancer, once stated that “Fortunately or otherwise, we live at a time when the average individual has to know several times as much in order to keep informed as he did only thirty or forty years ago. Being ‘educated’ today requires not only more than a superficial knowledge of the arts and sciences, but a sense of inter-relationships such as is taught in few schools. Finally, being ‘educated’ today in terms of the larger needs, means preparation for world citizenship, in short--education for survival.”

I am afraid that our current education system, due to budget cuts, administrative demands on teachers that distract from teaching, large class sizes, and time constraints, has been reduced to a system of preparation for standardized testing with optional after school childcare, rather than, as Norman Cousin’s suggests, education for survival.

As I sat in the symphony with my children, I realized that this is precisely the kind of supplemental learning experience that facilitates the kind of wisdom Mr. Cousin’s finds essential. As parents, we must seek out these opportunities for our children.
The symphony was powerful and awe inspiring. My kids connected recent science lessons about atoms and molecules with the sounds of the music that literally danced around them. They studied the mechanics of the lighting and marveled at the state of the art acoustic system. They figured out how many octaves could be played on the organ that filled an entire wall of the music hall. They witnessed how vital each member of the orchestra is, even if their part, played in solo is seemingly insignificant. They realized how important a leader is to implementing the vision. They each spent an hour lost in their own thoughts and inspirations—awed by the power of live music.

And yes, there were even a few moments of napping, but I didn’t object. How many people can claim that they napped (or shall I say, committed the music to their subconscious memory) during a dress rehearsal of the London Philharmonic Orchestra? Awesome!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Tiny Dancer Gets a Lesson in Self-Worth!

There are moments of profound wisdom offered up to us from our precious children. I am often left awe inspired when I open myself up to seeing and hearing the treasures of their conscious and subconscious minds. The essence of the “tween” is fascinating to me since I happen to have two of them. There are remnants left of the little babies I doted over and rocked to sleep, but mostly now, they look and act like miniature adults, capable of thoughts and deeds often far beyond my expectations and comprehension. The challenge lies in warding off the “learned indifference” that sometimes comes with this. I find myself taking for granted the miracles that must happen in order for them to do what they do. And then, as fast as I have forgotten their miraculous nature, I am reminded of it in some endearing act that they spontaneously commit.

My daughter recently competed in a dance competition which provided a few of those moments. When we were backstage, marking her dance, her shoes came untied. Her coach sat with her, patiently providing both of us a lesson on the subtle art of tying a point shoe, and marveling at the fact that while in a few moments she would perform one of the most difficult classical ballet numbers ever choreographed, she still hadn’t mastered the basics of tying her shoes. She performed like a pro under enormous pressure, to the best of her abilities. And when she finished dancing, she grabbed her teddy bear, and requested a trip to Dairy Queen and “Bounce World” subtly reminding me that while she can dance like an adult, she is indeed, only 10. These are the moments that reveal the truly profound nature of what our children are capable of and the delicate balance of transitioning from child to adult.

According to her coaches, this is the “competition of competitions” in the ballet world. It is a vital step to securing her place, as she will “be seen” by just the right eyes that will potentially open doors for her along the way. I don’t know enough about ballet to know if this is true. I trust the advice of her coach. But there’s nothing like a little pressure for a 10 year old to get her off to a great start! And thus begins the struggle as a parent to balance the innate love for dance with the “hysteria” of over achievement.

Dancing spreads joy instantly. On the positive side, it teaches her grace, poise, self confidence, discipline, how to deal with success and failure, staying “on center”, inner strength, physical strength, and the pride that comes from achieving ones goals. It will allow her to be fully self-expressed in a world where so many of us aren’t. And being able to touch others through artistic expression really is a gift to be shared. So, for the most part, I am supportive of this endeavor.

And then there is the dark side…politics, inequities in judging, abusiveness, mental games, the potential for obsession with self image, and the hype. Fortunately, the company my daughter dances in embraces and promotes the positive side of dance! It is during competition time that we are exposed to the dark side. Seeing her on stage melts my heart, as it would with any parent. But the thing that makes me most proud is that my 10 year old daughter, in all her ultimate wisdom and practicality, sees right through the BS!

She was fortunate enough to make it to the finals in New York, but she realizes that others in the company, who did deserve to go, (even more than her), were overlooked. The sadness of that fact stifled the joy of her accomplishment. Even at 10, she was well aware of the politics involved and the inequities in the judging! I didn’t have to explain it to her, she explained it to me as she recounted, (quite accurately I thought) who should have placed in the competition versus who did. As we were driving home she said, “Mom, don’t waste your money taking me to New York. I can see that they have already decided that I am one of those kids who will make it into the top 12, but has no shot of ever placing. So if you send me, you’ll essentially just be paying a lot of money to watch me dance on a big stage. We could do something better with that money, like save it!”

That is profound wisdom! She doesn’t need a dance competition to define her self-worth and she is willing to sacrifice her own dreams for the greater good, (in this case, the family finances). Her ability to quickly size things up and her willingness to see things for what they are will carry my child gracefully and decisively through her life. That’s the bright side, and I couldn’t ask for anything more!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mastermind Groups for Mastery of the Mind.

Last week, I pulled another book out of the archives for some spiritual stimulation—Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. To me, it is the original version of the recently popular pop psychology phenomenon, “The Secret”, and like most originals, far superior to the copy. It is a classic motivational book which reveals the spiritual secrets of success and riches per Andrew Carnegie. It covers such topics as the laws of attraction, faith, desire, visualization, strategy, planning and discipline and has provided inspiration and practical strategies for millions of people since it was first published in 1937.

One principle in particular, the principle of the “mastermind group” was something that I used extensively in my early career. I thought I was using it effectively, but looking back now, I realize I had misused the concept and then prematurely abandoned it. I viewed it as simply a form of networking, or creating proximity to powerful people with the expressed goal of meeting as many “potential customers” as possible. That was very one sided of me. No wonder it wasn’t that effective. Now, I understand that I had completely missed the point! Had I utilized it as suggested and intended by the author, I might still be using it today. I plan to reacquaint myself with the concept while simultaneously teaching this idea to my children. It will be interesting to see who they pick for their Mastermind groups. I am sure the creator of Pokemon will be on my son’s list.

A “mastermind group” allows one to select an “ideal” group of mentors, real or imagined who possess individual character traits that you value most. Members should be chosen carefully and studied intensely. He even suggests that you journal, “conversation style”, with your mastermind mentors on a regular basis to witness how they would approach opportunities and solve problems if they could speak to you. I think this is absolutely brilliant and it reminded me of some training I acquired recently in a seminar. It required that we “call upon” popular archetypes such as the “powerful magician”, the “fearless warrior”, the “stately King/Queen”, and the “wise sage” to help us find more creative solutions to problems.

It works like this…

Pick a personal problem or a challenge that has defied resolution, and then step alternatively into the character of the four archetypes mentioned above. See and analyze the problem (objectively) as if you were that character. It may seem utterly ridiculous, but it works! It’s even more powerful if you find music suited to those archetypes and meditate while doing this. Keep a journal of your thoughts after each meditation and then analyze your entries upon completion.

My theory is that the “mastermind group” will enable you to expand and intensify this process because the mentors you choose will reflect the qualities you determine are most important in creating the life you really, really, really want. Calling upon their wisdom through your own powers of imagination and visualization will unlock solutions and opportunities that you might not have otherwise unlocked. Selection of your group is critical because these members will help shape your destiny.

In these times of great uncertainty, I believe it is important for each of us to call upon our internal resources and use our imaginations to expand our thinking. The same level of thinking that got us to where we are now, will not take us to where we want to be. Remove the limitations in your life--call upon the Master Minds to create an inspirational Board of Directors for yourself.

I would love to hear who you’ve appointed to your Mastermind Group!

I offer mine:
Love/giving/contribution: Mother Teresa
Passion Benjamin Franklin
Growth and Education Ralph Waldo Emerson
Communication Intuitive Counselor, Tricia Brennan
Coaching Tony Robbins
Creativity/Ingenuity Leonardo DaVinci
Intelligence Albert Einstein
Persistence Helen Keller
Spirituality Dr. Wayne Dyer
Wealth Warren Buffet
Integrity/Ethics My Grandfather and Abraham Lincoln
Courage Ghandi

Friday, March 6, 2009

The 7th Thing I Love About Home School—School is Where You Take it and Make It!

“Do you mind if I get dressed real quick and just go check on the kids to make sure they are not killing each other?” I said to the mammography technician as she released my right breast and told me to get the left one ready. “You see, we’re homeschooled, so I brought them with me and left them by themselves in the lobby. I just want to check on them.”

“Excuse me? She remarked. I guessed this probably wasn’t a common question in her world. But boob smashing wasn’t common in my world either so I considered things “even Steven.” I suppose the pleading look in my eyes (which might have been the result of severe pain after having my breast smashed to ¼” pancake between two cold plates), told her not to deny my request. She reluctantly conceded. I grabbed my clothes and bolted.

20 minutes earlier, I left my children in the lobby with a backpack full of school work and strict instructions to complete 3 math pages, 2 grammar pages, 1 vocabulary lesson, 1 American History lesson, 3 chapters in science, free reading and foreign language by time I returned. I figured if I piled on enough in the expectations department, they were less likely to get into trouble. This elicited some interesting looks from patrons in the lobby. “Oh, and try not to kill each other, either.” With that, I turned on my heels and proceeded to my exam room. I smiled at the condescending old lady sitting who was disapprovingly watching this scene unfold and remarked, “Don’t worry, they probably won’t hurt each other too badly,” as I passed her.

For those of you who are concerned about child abandonment, I assure you that before I began “setting expectations” for the school day, I introduced them to all the ladies behind the desk and made sure the environment was safe. And, what I found when I reentered the lobby to check on them warmed my heart. They were helping each other with math and eating apples. No, they hadn’t completed even 1/3 of the work on my list, but I was satisfied that all was good. I kissed them proudly and proceeded back to the “torture chamber”. Disapproving old lady was more at ease at this point.

With one annual procedure crossed off the “to do list”, we headed down to the corner of Ocean and Broadway near the Santa Monica Pier and enjoyed a lovely lunch that I will remember for years to come. We had the best corner window table with an ocean view all to ourselves! We had missed the business lunch crowd and were pretty much alone. I quizzed them on what they had learned that morning, we talked about the animals we learned about on our field trip to San Diego Sea World the day before, and it struck me, this is my 7th favorite thing about home schooling!

I reflected on the past week and realized our bean bags were cold and lonely. We hadn’t been in them for 5 school days. Our “extenuating circumstances” had included a field trip to Sea World, taping of a podcast at my daughter’s ballet studio, a school performance, extra coaching in preparation for a dance competition, and a boring doctor’s appointment that was turned into a really memorable experience for all of us. Our books and our bodies had been in the car all week and the amazing thing is that we hadn’t skipped a beat. We were a little light on the core subjects, but we had made up for it with all the enrichment activities and time spent together enjoying each other’s company.

It really opened my mind to the fact that school doesn’t have to be contained within four walls. In fact, I am beginning to believe that within 3-5 years, a significant percentage of education will be delivered this way. It just makes sense with the high cost associated with providing an education for children and budget cuts that most states continue to face. Most top universities including Harvard, Stanford and MIT offer online programs and some even have programs for gifted children at the elementary and high school levels.

It’s a brilliant move on the part of the universities to “hook” their future patrons at an early age, and I think it demonstrates how powerful the option of learning beyond the class room really is—school truly is where you take it and make it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Are Your Defining Moments Defining You or Defying You?

By chance, I saw the movie, SlumDog Millionaire this weekend. I say “by chance” because I wasn’t planning on seeing it. Since it got so much “buzz” at the awards ceremonies, I was somewhat resistant to see it and therefore neatly “filed it” into my mental archives of over-rated Hollywood films. Within 10 minutes, I realized this masterpiece will probably be remembered as one of the top 100 movies of all time due to a great script and powerful storytelling. It’s my new favorite movie and one that revolves around the story of a young man’s defining moments and how they liberate him from the prison of his life.

I walked out of the theatre, I grabbed the the only scrap of paper I could find in my purse and began furiously scribbling notes about my own defining moments. I couldn’t wait back to become the “objective observer and look back at my life.” I wanted to know if my defining moments were actually defining me or defying me? My husband looked at me rather strangely, but has learned not to question these fits of inspiration.

Slum Dog Millionaire is the story of two brothers (Salim and Jamal Malik) orphaned early in their lives. They struggle daily for survival and learn about life through a series of compromises, challenges, and the occasional small triumph. One brother ultimately chooses a path of corruption and destruction and the other chooses a life of love, purpose and hope.

The story is simply told from the point of view of Jamal, as he sits center stage under the bright lights of scrutiny on the Indian version of the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Each question he is challenged to answer, forces him to recall one more of the defining moments of his life. Through this mechanism, the movie unfolds.

I drew an interesting parallel to my own life as I realized that some of these events were thrust upon him by fate, and others he created through his own choices. I began to consider the age old question of whether our lives are more influenced by free will or destiny. Is our destiny written, as Jamal believes in the story, or do we “sit in the driver’s seat”, shaping our lives through a series of choices, good or bad? Who really knows? I certainly don’t, but I am ever fascinated by that question and I change sides of the argument as often as I change my clothing. But, by witnessing the recount of his Jamal’s life’s defining moments, I began to lean towards “destiny”, at least for the time being.

IF so little is directly in our control, aren’t we better served by focusing our energy on creating an empowering meaning for the events of our life rather than assigning blame, feeling shame or wallowing sense of failure when things go horribly wrong? I can see why people so often turn to prayer or a higher source for faith and strength. I can also understand why discovering our own sense of purpose in life, can help guide us through good times and bad, and better cope with the challenges we might be presented as our life unfolds.

Back to Jamal….

In a strange twist of fate, the last question of the game show happens to be an unanswered question lingering from his childhood—a question to which he has never known the answer! Instead of crumbling under the pressure, he smiles in disbelief that his entire fate is hinges on this unfortunate question. He throws caution to the wind, trusts his instincts and chooses the answer required to secure the grand prize!

I believe this is a powerful metaphor for our own lives. Sometimes no matter how well you are prepared, you just don’t have the answers. There is nothing left to do but to relax and have faith that things will work out. If I may borrow a phrase from the movie, “It is our destiny—it is written!”