I have been posting to this blog site of Better Endings, in various editions, for well over seven years. In the process of developing ideas for the blog, I have come to understand how “Better Endings” is more than a literary device. It is a principle, a creative faculty, inherent to each of us as human beings because of our capacities for imagination and rational thought. We are capable, through language and memory, to reflect on our past, to mindfully experience our current thoughts and actions, and to anticipate and plan for our future.
We are never ‘stuck’ in the present moment—or bubble—of time. The philosophical admonition that we live ‘only in the present moment’ means different things to different people, but I find for myself it is not really about the Present tense or about time (or spacetime), at all. To be grounded in the Now can mean simply focussing your attention fully on what you are experiencing. If I travel to a past event through memory or imagination, I am Here-Now. If I recall a dream to explore its meaning, I imagine myself back in that experience to ‘replay’ it, and I am Here-Now. If I consider my future potentials to choose my best path forward, as I ‘preview’ a future potential, I am Here-Now. And if I reflect on a full process of how some event or attitude or situation has emerged, unfolded, and resolved (or its forward potentials), viewing that entire process as a single extended Moment is also being Here-Now.
The Principle of Better Endings allows you to regard and conduct your life as a transformational process of Becoming: where have you been, where are you currently, then where are you headed in relation to where/how you would most desire to Be? To develop the talent of future prospection—like mining for gold!—it is helpful to reflect on past events and situations to ferret out what has worked and what could use some tweaking for going forward in a direction most in keeping with your current goals or with your sense of mission and purpose. The principle of Better Endings lets you choose how you will respond in a current condition so you can ‘aim’ to achieve a ‘better’ future condition for yourself and all concerned.
If we think of ourselves as locked within some bubble of the Present (like in a level-balancing tool), then we might think of our lives as like floating on a raft being tossed about on the open seas of chance or circumstance. Hang on! We might say, “I don’t make plans; I like to let things happen and Go with the Flow, wherever Life takes me.” (If you have set the flow in motion in a particular, desirable direction, then yes by all means!) I get the dynamic randomity of that and the sense of surfing on the waves of life experience to develop resourcefulness and spontaneity in the journey or process of living, day by day. “The journey is more important than the destination,” someone framed in this perspective might propound. I totally agree with that idea! Still, how we engage in the Journey is part and parcel of living a fruitful, dynamic life. “Following Your Heart” to “Find/Live Your Bliss” requires more from you than ‘just getting by’ or waiting to see what will happen next.
Here’s the deal, from the perspective of the principle or faculty of Better Endings as I have come to understand it from practicing the art of ‘better-endering’ through the last several years:
If we regard ourselves as bobbing along through life in a Present spacetime-bubble, there is no reason for the future to be any more than a further unfoldment and extension of habits, conditions, and circumstances we have accrued along the way. We may become trapped in this Present bubble of time.
When I began the journey of conducting research that ultimately led to my book providing Life Mapping tools, Your Life Path (2018), I was inspired by a dream. One morning as I woke from sleep, I saw a white placard with bold black letters pasted right between my eyes, that stated:
|YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE |
TO REALIZE YOUR DREAM,
NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.
What a wake-up call! This dream vision led me on a quest to discover for myself what is my Dream and how can I realize It. This led to my research on life mapping as I piloted every step of that emerging process before sharing it with others. After teaching from that process for several years in a humanities course about Myth, Reason, and Your Life Story (co-taught with an historian of mythology), my book and more importantly the workbook for Your Life Path (2018; you can download the workbook for free from the right panel), this process has now led further for me to a new book manuscript (now with my agent) of the title, Better Endings!
In the last three and a half years I have moved three times, following my own heart to realize aspects of my Dream. This shows how flexibility is an important component of applying the principle of Better Endings. There are no limits to this principle, of course. As we apply it to situations and choices in our lives, engaging with this principle of Better Endings helps us realize the manifold potentials of the Present Moment.
The future is not fixed or necessarily determined by past choices or conditions.
You are free to exercise your faculty to reflect on the past, to review current conditions, and to choose your direction forward, to Realize Your Dream!