Sam the Lion



Dear Tim, 
I went through a horrible divorce and then encountered serious financial and health problems. I am wondering if I encountered everything at once for a reason. I feel somewhat defeated and not at all interested in 'trying' to make anything work. I am so much better now, but exhausted by the look of my garden which is ravaged and barren at the moment. I think of Sam the Lion from that wonderful movie with Sybil Sheppard- The Last Picture Show, and wonder will I ever meet Sam the Lion? I am not worried about the future but do find myself surprised at how totally and completely cynical I have become. Perhaps it is better to watch from the sidelines. The view is nice. I hope you can help me to rearrange my thinking. To make matters worse I find myself crushed by winter depression. Will it ever end? 

Scorpio in Trouble. 

Dear Scorpio, 
I am sorry you are having a hard time lately. I am not quite of the opinion that everything happens for a reason, because it is usually taken to mean that everything happens for a "good" reason. I am very much of the opinion, however, that everything that has happened, has indeed happened, no matter how much we wish it hadn't. I think it is worthwhile to think about what has happened and why; What happened because of choices we made and what was totally out of our control. Some of the choices we made have resulted in pain and we would actually make them again, knowing everything, because they accomplished what we could not otherwise have accomplished. The price was just a lot higher than we thought it would be. It's good to look at everything. Choosing to not look at something, hoping it will change or go away, has disastrous results. We know this but we do it anyway because whatever it is just does not fit in our vision, our plan, our world view. Looking back we tend to go, "How could I have been so blind/stupid?!?" A more useful approach might be, "Wow! I wanted that so much that I was willing to ignore all this other junk." It is interesting how we have lived our lives so far. 
My experience has been that when a lot of bad things happen at once it is time for a change. You can think of it as,"the world telling you something" if you want to but I think it's just the way it is. You had a system. A marriage, a money plan of some kind and your health. Then you didn't. I'm guessing that some if not all of these had been pretty shaky for a while. So when one fell it was a chain reaction. Often where we fail in these situations is in taking care of ourselves. We are so busy keeping all the plates in the air, cursing ourselves for the late rent and the leaky roof that we fail to see what's really going on. That we are not sleeping or eating well. We are not being seen or heard unless we yell. We are lonely even though we don't have enough time to ourselves and when we do get a little we just drink or eat a bunch of stuff or run our asses off or try to do anything at all to try to soothe ourselves and that's fine but that little dream we had, that passion, that project is getting harder and harder to get to. And so it all falls apart. 
Now the thing about it falling apart is that it forces change. Things are not what you thought they were anymore. Disillusionment and cynicism are the proper attitudes for this situation. You just got hammered. Watching from the sidelines is not a bad idea for now. Observe. Closely. The world has changed. You have changed. From this new perspective maybe you can drop the script. Maybe you don't want to play that part anymore. Maybe that plot seems a little corny. Maybe the whole movie was just a vehicle for some other actor. What is the part you really want? It has to be a brand new one. What would you do if you were not afraid? Who are you really? I'm serious. Without all the,"Oh! I couldn't possibly"coy bullshit that is just a way of not admitting what you want. What can you do that you've always wanted to do for yourself, that you kind of always knew would be good for you? What would clear your head and your heart? What would comfort you? The good news is you don't have to do anything right now. Just think about it. 
The Last Picture Show. Now you're talkin'! Best American movie ever? Maybe. It shows us how awful people can be. And how fragile. 
Sam the Lion is a man near death. But he is full of life. He embodies what is best in us humans. His wife went mad and he's buried at least two sons. He's the real deal. He is an island of fair, generous, ethical and moral behavior. Yet his fondest memory is of an affair with a woman stuck in a lonely marriage. It is her fondest memory as well. What if they had not bent to convention and decided to live together? Who knows? And yet they are both very grateful for the time they had together. The question is not,"Will I meet Sam the Lion?". It is, "Will you recognize him?. Perhaps you have met him and passed him by or sent him away because he did not fit with your idea of how things work. Maybe he was more than you thought you deserved. 
Of course, there is one sure way to meet Sam the Lion. Look in the mirror. The part is yours if you want it. Spring is almost here. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

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