Many years ago, the book “Broken Open” by Elizabeth Lesser came into my life. As I was supporting myself and my loved ones through a very difficult time, the book became one of my life rafts. From what little I remember about the book now, I don’t think I had anything in common with the story. However, I would cling to each and every page of that book.
I was comforted by the fact that someone out there had it a lot worse than me. But, I’m not some evil person delighted over someone else’s suffering. I was comforted because Elizabeth shared her experiences and uncovered the deep wisdom within her trials. Each chapter assured me that I could get through whatever life threw at me and that there was a lesson hidden within each trial. It strengthened my faith in myself and gave me the motivation to continue to figure things out.
One of my favourite quotes in that book was, “We’re all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride,” by Wavy Gravy the clown-activist. The chapter dedicated to this quote couldn’t be more fitting for another situation than the one we are all in right now. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from this chapter that beautifully explains the deeper wisdom within this quote…and our situation today:
…I have co-opted the phrase (“We are all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.” by Wavy Gravy) and I use it to begin my workshops, because I believe that we are all bozos on the bus, contrary to the self-assured image we work so hard to present to each other on a daily basis.
…Every single person on this bus called Earth hurts; it’s when we have shame about our failings that hurt turns into suffering. In our shame, we feel an outcast, as if there is another bus somewhere, rolling along on a smooth road. Its passengers are all thin, healthy, happy, well-dressed and well-liked people who belong to harmonious families, hold jobs that never bore or aggravate them, and never do mean things, or goofy things like forget where they parked their car, lose their wallet, or say something totally inappropriate. We long to be on that bus with the other normal people.
But we are on the bus that says BOZO on the front, and we worry that we may be the only passenger on board. This is the illusion that so many of us labor under- that we’re all alone in our weirdness and our uncertainty; that we may be the most lost person on the highway.
…It may be the first step to enlightenment to understand with all of your brain cells that the other bus – that sleek bus with the cool people who know where they are going – is also filled with bozos – bozos in drag; bozos with a secret. When we see clearly that every single human being, regardless of fame or fortune or age or brains or beauty, shares the same ordinary foibles, a strange thing happens. We begin to cheer up, to loosen up, and we become as buoyant as those people we imagined on the other bus. As we rumble along the potholed road, lost as ever, through the valleys and over the hills, we find ourselves among friends. We sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Excerpt from Broken Open