Suffering is Optional

Did you know that Mary Poppins almost didn’t make it to the big screen? It was a book by P.L. Travers, the pen name of an Australian who moved to England to follow her dream of becoming an actress.

She published the work in 1934. Walt Disney read the book to his children who fell in love with the characters. Disney subsequently–and unsuccessfully–tried for twenty years before the author finally acquiesced¬†to a film adaptation.

And even then… the author hated it.

Interviewed more than forty years later, Travers said of the movie: “I’ve seen it once or twice, and I’ve learned to live with it.”

She went on to write seven sequels to the book, though all linger in obscurity. Upon her death in 1996, Travers’ grandchildren report that she died not loving anyone, and of course not being loved in return.

For someone who wrote such a pivotal story of the power of magic (and love) to transform the world, it feels like she spent an inordinate amount of time suffering. All ninety-six years, by the sound of it.

Yet to a limited degree, we all do this to ourselves. Even when life is GOOD.

Just last week I spoke to a friend whose entrepreneurial business grew unexpectedly in 2018… but what should’ve been cause for celebration was overshadowed by the increased tax payment.

An author whose book received 80 stellar reviews was positively flummoxed by a single 1-star comment from someone who called it “boreing.”

Even my alter ego, Ms. Sunshine, is ready to throw it all in when the mercury pool dips below 70 degrees. (Yes, my love is measured in Fahrenheit.)

So this week, I’ll challenge you to imagine a life that offers possibility rather than misery. The lemons will come. Embrace the suck!

And for heaven’s sake, if Steven Spielberg wants to make a film adaptation of your story… SAY YES!

Write with joy!

If you’re curious about the history of Mary Poppins, consider the 2013 movie Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.

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