#014 | Life and the Universe

Life is the result of the universe being the universe


This whole Write You Heart Out production was founded on the premise of giving you quotations by well known or historically relevant and influential people. But this quote doesn’t come directly from anyone in particular. It’s more of a way I personally think about things now, and I wanted to use this as a platform to share it with you.

So for the first 13 episodes of Write Your Heart Out, I shared with you some wisdoms that I’ve picked up along the way so far. But for much of 2016, you haven’t heard much from me via this podcast. But I’ve spent these first three quarters of the year focused on becoming who I want to be–someone who has something more to offer, both to you and to myself.

So life is the result of the universe being the universe is a fact I picked up this year, and it has not only changed my perspective on existence entirely, but has made me a much happier person overall.

These words aren’t an actual quote, but they were inspired by a man named, Rob Bell. If you don’t know him, take a moment to Google him, and if you’re a podcast fan, go to iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you get your podcasts and find his. It’s called the Rob Cast and it’s soooo good.

Rob is a teacher, an author and a lot more, and just listening and learning from him has really changed my life. So accepting that life is the result of the universe being the universe is a major part of that.

So what does that mean? Life is the result of the universe being the universe. I spent the better part of my life–basically my entire life up til this year–believing that if I was good, followed all the so-called rules of being a human, and being perfect, that I would have nothing but goodness in my life–that I would soon get everything I wanted and nothing really bad would happen to me because I would have good karma from being such a good girl.

So I was good–and you can interpret “good” any way you want to. I was perfect, and I sat around waiting and waiting and waiting for all this good stuff that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I worked. I hustled. I grinded. Because part of being good is working hard.

But as I mentioned in episode 13 (the very last episode of 2015), I was still–after all these years of working hard and being good–I was still stuck, facing constant rejection in every phase of my life, constantly losing. And I felt like a loser.

The main reason I even started Write Your Heart Out was for myself. I was so depressed and so confused, so I figured I needed to literally write my own heart out, and share it. And I figured since I was doing it, maybe someone else might need to use writing to heal their heart as well.

So going into this year, I promised myself it would be different. I would be different. Listening to people like Rob Bell and Lewis Howes and Elizabeth Gilbert, I was like, “Look self, the only thing I can control is how I decide to deal with things that happen to me. I can’t control what happens. I can’t control when something happens–like all that good stuff that I felt cheated out of (the stuff I’m supposed to have right now after all these years of being good). Yeah, I can work toward what I want, my dreams, but I can’t control if it ever even happens; and I especially can’t control how it happens even if it does.”

But what I know now–what I practice consciously everyday–is that I can control how I react to whatever does happen. The house we’re in, the street we’re on, the city we where we live, the county that’s in, the state, the country, the continent, this world, this galaxy, this universe… it all was going on before we got here, and it’s going to be going on after we leave here. And it’s going on right now, just doing what it does, whatever that is. Stuff is happening.

Things are flying around, crashing, falling, things are being born, things are dying, love is happening, hate is happening, it’s raining, it’s sunny, it’s snowing somewhere right now, there’s peace, there’s war… Sometimes it’ll do something you like–like when you find love or get a new job, or win something–and other times it’ll do things you don’t like–like you lose something or someone, or you break up from that love you had, or you are let go from that job.

That’s the universe, just doing what it does. That, my friends, is what you call life– the result of this universe being the universe that it is.

If you’re a good guy or a good girl, things are going to happen. You decide whether whatever that thing is is happening TO you or FOR you. Or you can just decide to believe that it’s just happening and it’s all good.

So, I have a little story to tell right quick–something that happened just recently. So you all know from my last update, which is on my website if you haven’t heard it, that this year has been filled with quite a few–I’ll just call them “happenings”–for me career-wise as a writer/actor/director storyteller in motion picture entertainment. (That’s a way of trying to sum it up)

Well some of those happenings in this area have to do with my short film for Of Music and Men. I proudly say that it has been selected for thirteen film festival so far this year. Likewise it was not accepted for about 65 others, but things happen right?

Anyway, most recently, it was chosen to screen at Washington West Film Festival in DC (well just outside of DC in VA), which was a great honor since Washington West is arguably one of more respected and prestigious festivals in the area.

That being said, they go the extra mile to treat the selected filmmakers very well during their time there. It’s extremely professional and well-run. You can tell that the organizers take pride in presenting something worthwhile. So they put me in a nice hotel for the night before my screening, which my mom who came with me really liked; they have parties, professional photos, celebrities like the legendary Robert Duvall… I mean, the whole nine.

Anyway, so my film was set to screen Sunday October 23 at 11:30 along with two other shorts in their spotlight on burgeoning filmmaker talent in the area. So the first film plays. Then the second film, which was mine, comes on… And there’s no sound. I mean no sound at all. And then about 30 seconds into the mute film, it skips and goes to the next film.

That was strange. Myself and the entire audience just thought maybe there was a technical difficulty. So after the third film, mine comes back on, but it’s the same thing–no sound, 30 seconds, cuts off.

Uh oh. So now the organizer and I are trying to figure out what’s happening. It was particularly confusing because a month before the festival, I personally drove the film out to them, an hour away from my home (not to mention through about $30 in tolls), to take the film files in order to make certain that what was needed was received and converted for display on a movie theatre screen.

The organizer, bless her heart, started to freak out–obviously terribly embarrassed–as the audience waited while she and I tried to figure out what was wrong. After we both spoke to the theatre’s general manager and he told us that that was the only file they had and that there was nothing they or anybody could do, I turned to her–calmly interrupting her apologies–and said, “It’s okay. Things happen.”

We both went back into the theatre to the waiting audience–needless to say, it would’ve been the largest audience to see my film in one place at the same time–and she went to the front and told them that they wouldn’t see the film that day.

I still did the Q&A with the other filmmakers and got the chance to talk about the film, my goals and a bunch of other stuff. Afterward, the organizers were still apologizing to me and my mom, but I assured them that it was fine. Really. Things happens.

Who knows why that happened–why the film didn’t play, why people didn’t see it? Who’s to say the line of questioning about the film I got during the Q&A would’ve been the same had they seen it? Who’s to say I would’ve gotten the chance to impact that audience with the answers I did give the same way if those questions hadn’t been asked.

Again, no one knows why that happened–why the film just wouldn’t play, why the film was broken after being personally delivered to avoid such a thing. And that’s okay. Like I told them: things happens. You can spend your time stressing and saying “why me?” You can equally spend your time worrying about whether that happening has some divine consequence to it–like I used to do.

I don’t think like that anymore. I’m training myself daily not to think the way I used to–trying to piece together the occurrences in life to hopefully figure out where it’s going or if there’s some meaning or reason.

I don’t do that anymore. I don’t think that way. It’s not my job to think about how everything supposedly “happens for a reason.”

All these things are happening in us and around us and over us and under us, and we may never be able to piece it together nicely like that movie Crash. You may never know why anything happens–the things you think are good may ultimately not be, and the things you think are bad may turn out not so–so just accept that things happen. And move on in peace with that.

So that’s why I say and believe now that life is the result of the universe being the universe. My film didn’t play. It didn’t happen. It was no one’s fault. And even if it was, there was nothing that could be done about it then. It was over. And I still had my peace in the end.

So again, I know that I don’t carry out this podcast with the consistency that you–or even I–would like, but like I said, I’m busy trying to become who I am. I got that from the show Girls.

But seriously, I’m young. I’m accumulating wisdom, and honestly that doesn’t happen with the consistency I would like. The wisdom from earlier podcasts, recorded months ago, was the result of my own heartache and disappointment, and frustration, and resentment toward life. And maybe it came out sounding like wisdom, but it was probably more so pain.

So here’s your lesson for this time: think about things that have happened to you or for you recently. Try standing back and watching your life. Don’t think of it like a movie where you’re expecting the inciting incident to come together in your favor and result in a happy ending.

Just look at the scenes of this movie and accept them for what they are. It’s not a movie, so the scenes may not make sense to you–or maybe they won’t make sense right now. But that’s okay. Just allow yourself to see things as they are–things that are happen. Not to you. Not for you. Not against you. Just… happening.

I want you to practice just seeing this and not reacting in panic or stress, but just acceptance. And write it down. Write down a recent thing that happened that you allowed to just be what it was, and then think about how you wanted to react. Now write down how your two reactions differed and how you can make changes to your thinking about things in the future.