Recently, a single comment in a Ted-Talk interview by BJ Miller caught my attention. I don’t recall the context, or what he was talking about exactly, but I do remember I had been struggling to deal with a painful breakup and there he was, talking about healing and compassion, metaphorically turning anguish into a flower – whatever that meant!
As hurt as I was at the time, I was willing to listen to anyone who could make sense of what I was feeling, and maybe offer a hint of life beyond heartbreak. I listened intently as Miller spoke intensely about something seemingly meaningless—holding a snowball on a blistery cold winter’s day.
“I cannot tell you the rapture I felt holding it, coldness dripping, the miracle of it all; fascination as I watched it melt and turn into water. Just that moment, just being any part of this planet, in this universe, mattered more to me than whether I lived or died. [That snowball] packed enough inspiration to try, and to be okay with whatever happened.”
I considered his message a slap in the face by some higher power, telling me I needed to get over myself; that heartbreak would not in fact end me.
“Little things are not so little,” he continued, adding that all things were meant to be felt and experienced while we were alive, and in the position to experience them.
“We’re rewarded for just being, loving our time by way of the senses, by way of the body, the very thing doing the living and dying. As long as we have our senses, even one of them, we have the possibility of accessing the things that make us feel human, connected, having impulses that make us stay present, no need for a past or future.”
His words took me to a place of serenity: no snow, only silver sands, a familiar coastline and irresistible cool turquoise waters. Oh, but that snowball . . .
“There is liberation in the realization that we can always find a shock of beauty, of meaning in what life we have left. Like a snowball, lasting for that perfect moment, all the while melting away.”
At that moment, I felt a glimmer of hope. My heart felt a little less shattered, and his words reminded me of a saying that had to do with people coming into one’s life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I had yet to meet the latter but the good news was that living, loving, and even being hurt meant that I was in fact rolling with the punches, and would live to love another day!