I’m sure somewhere someone has written a thesis paper on the conversation that takes on our cars – you know, the way we talk to each other through bumper stickers.
Many of them say, plainly, “this is my identity,” “this is something I like,” or “I support x.”
Others shout at you. Some offer unsolicited advice in the form of platitudes. Some make bad jokes. Some get snarky. Many declare a position or political stance – as if you asked.
Some bumpers host a veritable sticker wallpaper. These people always look like they have so much to say and are sorry the canvas for their expression is as small as it is. Other cars have one bumper sticker, and I always think, Wow, you are boring.
Some bumper stickers arouse anger, others a chortle, rolled eyes, disgust.
I mean, there’s a lot to analyze here, right?
Anyway, Friday the bumper sticker that stuck on the dashboard of my brain admonished me to LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE.
Why not “love the life you live,” I silently asked the person in the car. And I thought about how those two phrases represent a constant battle I have inside my head between the two approaches to life: Either find peace, acceptance, be open to, aware of, and go with the flow of how things are, OR Follow your bliss, your heart, your passion, your sense of justice and work to change the world, your life, your relationships, your community for the better.
Image: Fat Buddha dueling with a stick-figure Jesus. Buddha’s weapon – a flower. Jesus – a sword. Both of them full of love and compassion for the world. Both of them significantly changing the world. And people on the sidelines arguing about who changed it for the better (the Crusades don’t help out Jesus’ side, for instance).
Of course, no one really wins this battle, and neither phrases or approaches wins me totally, either. Are they two sides of the same coin? Are they spokes on a wheel, revolving? What I imagine, actually, is a seesaw – once I put all my weight in one camp, I sink – and have to move to the other side. And I keep going back and forth and never settling on either. But then it turns out it was a fun ride. (I really miss seesaws, FYI.)
I get worried that I don’t have a single mantra to follow. I pick one path and it is just not enough so I pick another. And then I’m just walking in circles.
But on the other hand, I don’t think one mantra can cut it. You can’t slice the baby in half.
Both are true. Both/and.
Live the life you love, and love the life you live. And repeat.