Erika Sunnegårdh

New York, 7 January 2007

Today my flip calendar says: “Until your knees hit the floor, you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It’s when it begins.”

So profound. I’ve heard that so many comedians are privately very serious and philospohical individuals. That makes sense. It’s as if, if you don’t “know” life at its most serious and base, then you can’t really make fun and light of it either. If you’re not standing in awe of the magnitude of IT, and the insignificance of the self, or identity, then you can’t bring comfort and light and perspective to any situation. And that is what is so funny most of the time isn’t it? The ability to observe the absurdity of human existence?

I’ve thought about this a lot recently, because I’ve had to re-plan my immediate future a bit, and also, really scrutinize what I have been focusing on over the past few months. I do believe that what you really, really invest your thoughts in is what you’re going to get. Whether you want it or not. Being the master of one’s thoughts and energies, and emotional investments is the key to the kingdom. Noone can control every thought – but being a watchful monitor of what one puts forth into the world, and into one’s own mind and heart, is what prayer and meditation, and really trusted friends are for.

I think it is easy, when things are going extremely well, to imagine that they are doing so because one somehow “deserves” it. And sure, on some level, one does. One works hard, puts oneself through years of preparation, and voila… overnight success, right? Being deserving is important. And knowing one’s value is crucial. No matter what the opinions and thoughtless ramblings of people less invested than say, my nearest friends or my mother…
But here’s a funny story. In the Summer of ’99, I sat on a plane, and the plane wasn’t doing so great inside the storm it had found… I was pretty scared, and had some “blessed” time to think about my life. I had recently taken a self-development course after which I had gotten in touch with pretty much everyone important in my life, and “cleaned up” our relationships. At the very least, I had told everyone important to me how much I loved them, and I felt, in that precarious moment, at peace with my past, and the people who had shared it. It was clear to me then, and clear to me now, that everything from that moment on would be a bonus. Icing. Cream on top. My turn to be alive for the purposes of the universe at large, not just my own.
It was an experience of centeredness in “truth” as strong as any I have experienced, and though I might venture to “prove” its relevance to others, it wouldn’t matter at all if I succeeded. It was an experience made for me and my heart alone.

But, in light of that experience, I must measure all my experiences since. In light of that, I must always ask why is this happening, and how can it be used? Certainly, when something occurs that feels uncomfortable or challenging, BUT, maybe even more so when there is great momentum and power, and joy. All experiences are created equal, and there is no measure of difficulty that light and grace can’t shine upon. Everything is an opportunity for learning. And every moment is an occasion to give. And to receive.

It occurs to me that what I can truly be grateful for is that 2006 included every kind of success and challenge, both personal and public – and in each, my willingness to be authentic has been tested to the max. And on some level, fear only enters in when the temptation for inauthenticity – or, hiding – enters in. Out in the daylight there is nowhere to hide – and nothing lurking.

No personal development course in the world can beat that.