The Illusive White Light

Over the past few weeks my wife and I have had the lovely fortune of having our grown daughter come and stay with us while she works from home. She lives in New York City; however, being that we are in the middle of COVID, working from home in Santa Cruz with a back yard and dogs seems to work a little more into her life-style as opposed to working all day in her loft on the Upper East Side.

During this time we have re-kindled our thrill of the Hunger Games quadrilogy and are working our way through all four movies. Last night, watching the third installment of the series, reminded me of a post I wrote five years ago. As a human, attempting to always work towards my best self, I truly appreciate reminders of the many distractions we get caught up in throughout the day-week-month-year. 

We are all prone to distractions. How do we recognize when we are becoming distracted and what tools do we use to help move us back on our desired track?

How nice it is to actually have a day off, in the middle of the week, with absolutely nothing planned.  Free time!  My wife and I decided to catch a late afternoon matinee.  The not-to-be-mentioned movie we were planning to see was foretold by our daughter to have an extremely long line.  She even went so far as to say that if it were here going to the movies, she would stop by the theatre early in the day and buy tickets ahead of time, because you don't want to wait in line all afternoon only to be turned away at the gate when it is your turn to purchase the tickets.

Being the risk takers that we are, we chose to take a chance and just show up, knowing full well that if the movie was sold out we would have just as great a time walking around town.  Upon arrival at the Cineplex parking lot, 45 minutes before movie start time, we realized that our sleepy town perhaps wasn't as up on this particular movie as much as the rest of the country.  We purchased our tickets, retrieved a large bag of popcorn, and proceeded to be the FIRST to arrive for the 3:45 viewing of this movie.

After 45 minutes of chatting and joking with my wife of nearly 25 years (it still amuses me that after many years of dating and 25 years of marriage we can sit in a theatre and entertain each other for 45 minutes while waiting for a movie to start) the previews began to roll.  During one of these block buster previews there were some statue lions that came to life and were beginning to look as if they were about to attack.  The fast thinking night watchman turned on his flashlight and began making circles on the ground and immediately the ferocious looking lions became ultra playful attempting to catch the white light as it circled around under their feet.

Later, during the middle of the feature presentation, there was this dramatic scene where the electrical power to the lighting was temporarily cut off and many people promptly turned on their flashlights.  The characters are tense and nervous; however, they notice the token cat following one of the flashlight beams.  They then begin playing with the cat, circling the light from the wall to the floor, temporarily averting their attention from the crisis at hand, watching the cat chase the elusive white light.

The white light is elusive, distracting, and unobtainable. The suggestion is that it doesn't matter what the cat may be doing, it can't help it, it needs to stop everything else and chase the light.  I would like to think that eventually, if the light kept moving, the cat would cease and give up.  I would also like to think that if the light stopped and then started again, the cat would recognize that it was a useless effort and not chase the light again.  This I don't know; however, I am sure, with a little research, one could find the answer from an almighty search engine.

Perhaps the white light is the beauty in the advertising pages of a fitness magazine.  We are looking for the elusive and unobtainable figure we want to see when we look in the mirror.  We spend money on health clubs, diet plans, trainers, garments and perhaps even surgery.  If we are fortunate, at some point along the path we may realize that no matter how we see ourselves in the mirror, this is the body we are meant to live in.

Maybe the white light we chase is the perfect job.  The one we read about in the trade journal with the fantastic pay and the title we know we deserve.  Yes, we have chased different jobs in the past; however, this time it is different.  We are sure that if we are able to move into this new position, all will be right.  We are good at what we do, we get the job, and after 8-12 months we find we are again looking at the job search engine. 

Yes, our job involves our skills and our ability to perform in our field; however, it also involves our ability to communicate and relate to our employees, peers and supervisors.  Job satisfaction comes from committing to be part of the team, assisting others in their efforts and receiving recognition for our efforts.  No matter what job we take, in absolutely any location in the world, it will still be you standing in your shoes performing the work. 

White lights exist around us, all day every day.  What about the perfect relationship.  You know, the one that doesn't require any compromise or effort to make work.  The one that after three months is dumped because it has become difficult, and besides, there is a white light that just flashed in front of me that caught my eye.  Perhaps drugs or alcohol has worked their way into your life as a white light.  The elusive and unobtainable emotional feeling you thought you experienced once, and now, against all better judgment and reason, you seek to find that experience at all cost.

I have chased all of these white lights at one point or another in my life.  Fortunately, through strong relationships, therapy, and commitment, I became aware of the white lights and began to recognize their existence.  The lights still flash and circle; however, I am now able to recognize that they are just a white light and I don't need to chase them.

Don't get me wrong, I realize more white lights exist and I most likely follow them without even recognizing what I am doing.  One that comes to mind this morning is the impulse to check social media while I am writing my blog.  I am never 100% in control; however, today I am not chasing the white light of the unobtainable physique, the elusive job, a relationship that requires no work, or a non-existent drug induced emotion.

Stay Healthy,