Embracing a perfectly imperfect life
As I began to write this article, I started thinking about a famous and unforgettable quote from one of my favourite movies of all time: The Princess Bride. If you haven’t yet been blessed with this movie in your life, I know you soon will after reading this blog post. Watching this movie, will give you a WHOLE new perspective on fairytales, life, love and living with abandon. Let me share with you why.
I first watched this movie when I was eight years old, and having watched it countless times since, I still thoroughly enjoy its quirkiness, humour and the light hearted way it so cleverly portrays the all important lessons of life. It is a movie full of memorable and quirky one- liners that stick in your mind, and pop in your consciousness, influencing the way you think and view things in a very humorous and profound way. If you’re familiar with the movie, you will know what I am talking about!
The Princess Bride is a real life fairytale adventure full of all the things that any good fairytale story should have– gallant heroes, sword fighting, princesses, romance, miracles, escapes, revenge and stories of true love. What I remember today, as I write this blog, is a very memorable one liner that has stuck in my mind, quoted famously by the mysterious ‘Man in Black’ , a gallant pirate, and princess Buttercup’s ‘one and only true love’.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, I will fill you in very quickly of the story, and the characters, that leads us up to the point where the unforgettable one-liner is quoted. It is a line that has a distinct influence on the way I view life and gives me a different perspective of the all important lessons we encounter each and everyday of our life.
Westley, a young farm hand, who works for Buttercup in their younger years, falls in love with her, but does not tell of his heartfelt longings. Instead, he works hard on the farm each day, diligently ensuring all her needs are met, and the farm is kept in perfect working order. Every time Buttercup asks him to do something, he shows his care and commitment to her with the line “As you wish”, but what he really means is “I love you”.
After several years on the farm and no indication from Buttercup that she feels the same love he feels for her (although, Buttercup is also secretly in love with him!), Westley’s yearning for adventure gets the better of him, and he takes off for the high seas. On his adventures, he is captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, and starts a new life as a deep sea pirate, dressing in black and covering his face with a mask.
Several years later, and still in love with the princess he returns to the shore, only to find his beautiful Buttercup has been wooed by the nations King, and has been cajoled to marry him. But, in one swift and fortunate twist, just before the wedding is to take place, the princess is stolen from the King by a very short, very annoying little man, a friendly Giant and a revengeful, and very troubled sword fighter ‘Indigo Montoya’.
Westley hears of Buttercup’s kidnapping, and hunts them down, managing to pry her away after a heroic battle of skilful sword fighting, and clever wit. Throughout the struggles to rescue the princess, Westley chooses to remain completely in disguise, dressed in black, keeping his dark mask on to cover his face. Buttercup is not aware of his identity throughout the whole ordeal. In fact she is repulsed by him, and the first chance she gets she pushes him down the edge of a steep grassy knoll.
As he rolls to the valley below, he yells out his dying love for her with the words he used all those years ago – “As youuuuuuuuuu wwwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!’,
Realising the “man in black” is her old farm hand and ‘her one true love’, Buttercup feels terrible and shocked by what she has done and throws herself head first down the steep grassy knoll tumbling down behind him, meeting her lover, battered and bruised but unharmed, at the bottom. Here they reunite, and declare their love for each other with a kiss. Aware of the Kings hunting party drawing closer and the sounds of horses in the distance, they have no choice but to enter the ‘dreaded fire swamp’ in an attempt to continue their escape.
Just before Westley and Princess Buttercup are forced to enter the dreaded Fire Swamp to encounter the perils of the deadly R.O.U.S’s (Rodents Of Unusual Size), the popping ‘Flame spurts’, and the ‘Lightening Quick Sand’, Buttercup starts to feel sorry for herself and begins to exclaim her burdens of a broken heart, her miserable life with the King, and that life has been one horrible painful thing after another, since Westley left all those years ago. And, it is here, that Westley quotes his famous, unforgettable one-liner.
“Life is pain, Heiness…, and anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something!!’.
I watched this movie for the first time when I was 8 years old and I have never forgotten the depth, the truth and the significance of this one line quote. His comment may seem harsh (especially coming from your one true love!) but it holds a powerful message.
Life isn’t meant to be easy, painless, or perfect. Life is meant to be all things, the light and the dark, the pleasant and the unpleasant, the agony and the ecstasy. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
But, what we must focus on, to help get us through the tough stuff, the imperfectness of life, is portrayed really beautifully in this movie when you watch it from beginning to end. The key message which we need to make the focus of our life is cleverly illustrated at the end of this fairytale adventure, so, you’ve got to watch it!…it really is very powerful and clever!
In its entirety, the movie shows us that the challenges, the difficulties, the pain, the R.O.U.S’s, the ‘lightning quick sand’, the ‘popping flame spurts’ and the imperfectness you encounter as you go through life DON’T have to bring never ending suffering or burden. They are the gems that carve a wonderfully adventurous, colourful, and rich life. What we must learn however, is how to navigate and negotiate them, and allow them the space and the freedom to give us the life lessons they so cleverly bring with them. We must learn how to bring full awareness to them, and to lean in closer, with a caring and compassionate ear, so that we may listen and hear their wisdom, and their truths.
Lasting wellbeing and happiness
Living a colourful, connected and meaningful life means that we experience all facets of life, including pain, sickness, unpleasantness, and unrest. These tricky experiences of life are like the winds and the currents against the wall of a mountain, or the banks of the river. If we shield ourselves from them, resist them or push them away, we will not enjoy the depths and beautiful patterns and carvings they make. They impart on us, an everlasting imprint that makes us stronger, more colourful, more characterised and more resilient. What doesn’t challenge us doesn’t change us.
May you embrace your turbulent currents and gusty winds of life, as opportunities for change and growth, and enjoy life with all its facets, colour and richness. May you enjoy your ‘adventurous fairytale’ with all its twists and turns.
Embracing the shadow and the light of our life; the perfect imperfectness. I believe this is the key to true lasting wellbeing and happiness.
Join me next time as I release PART 2 of my four part blog Series, where we go on to explore the topic of resilience.
Yours in fairytale adventure and lasting happiness,
With love and light