The Danger of Triumph
I love that the world is full of stories of “I fell down, and down, and down, and then I got up and look at what is possible for you!” The famous video of Arthur healing himself through yoga is a heart soaring example. I think of that video, that man, all the time.
His story inspires you to be your best self, to believe that what you most want is possible no matter what.
Yet there are also narratives of triumph that chafe me, that feel oppressive, relentless, like chains pressing on my messy humanity.
I want to inspire by example but I do not DO NOT want to feed the madness of mono-dimensional triumph. It doesn’t leave any room for living. It’s so wound up, so rah-rah, it makes me want to swill tequila and watch Barbara Stanwyck movies.
Too much triumph exhausts me.
Narratives like “I had this disappointing /life-threatening/awful thing happen but hey, in hardly any time, using my own trademarked ideas / special meditation technique /green juice, I got back to wealth/enlightenment/health AND now I am even richer /more enlightened/ healthier. You can too!”
It is not my concern if these stories of triumph are genuine – most probably are! – nor to propose we don’t need these stories. We do! My creeping feeling of ick is what happens to me if I focus on triumph: I lose life. Triumph happens after the fact. It’s summary, not lived sensory detail (to borrow a parallel idea from fiction writing). Arthur had experiences of triumph along the way, of course, but it’s a lived experience, coming and going, increasing and decreasing.
It’s also addicting and dis-empowering as if I can just find the right pill / technique / class I will be able to be as triumphant as ______.
And yes, I do know that I can contribute to this bellowing of victory wrestled from the jaws of my character flaws. My relentless desire to frame what I learn in a way that is of service to you can creep into a feeling of tidy endings and lessons learned that I don’t like, and try to stay away from, but then I wonder… did I? Where is the line of authenticity and service? Stumbling around in the dark looking for it, that I am.
Here’s is my small point: if you feel less than triumphant 24/7 or if you have bought the program/ tried the meditation technique/ drank the green juice and you are still flailing about, come on over and we’ll hang out. It’s Friday, there may be tequila.