Not long ago I saw the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and a host of other stellar actors. It is a beautiful and sweet film that has a lot to say about accepting “what is” and co-creating with it, one of the fundamental concepts of Transformational Presence.
The film tells the story of a group of British retirees who choose, each for their own very different reasons, to retire in India where, at least they think, life will be less expensive and much more exotic! They have each seen advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and are filled with visions of a new life of leisure. However, when they arrive at the hotel, let’s just say it doesn’t quite meet their expectations!
Yet here is where the beautiful message begins. Each of the retirees responds to their new circumstances in different ways – everything from indignation to curiosity to absolute delight. Those who choose to be curious, to explore, and be open to discover what this new life might bring for them, find their lives transformed. They break out of old beliefs and patterns and discover a new sense of aliveness and joy beyond what they could ever have imagined. On the other hand, the character who adamantly refuses to find any new opportunity in her new surroundings becomes more bitter and angry with each passing day. Her attachment to the life she had expected in her retirement years keeps her from finding joy or delight in anything.
The charming young hotel manager, Sonny (played by Dev Patel), does his best to handle his new guests’ complaints and make them happy. The aging hotel belongs to his family. Now a young man establishing his own life, Sonny’s dream is to restore his family’s palace to its former grandeur and to run a thriving business there. Whenever things get difficult, Sonny calmly responds, “Everything will be ok in the end. And if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” You soon realize this is the mantra by which he lives his life.
Though you might consider this mantra naïve and disconnected from reality, Sonny’s total faith and belief that everything will indeed be ok in the end carries him through. And amazingly, things keep getting more and more wonderful for those who are willing to let the unexpected potential that is awaiting them unfold.
“Everything will be ok in the end. And if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” Everything that happens, whether or not it is what we expected or desired, becomes our next co-creative partner. Life goes on. It’s up to us what we make of it.
Where is life asking you to ride a new wave of potential – to let something happen that you never even imagined – something that could transform your life in some simple or profound way? Take the chance. I highly recommend The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. These sometimes crusty and always delightful retirees and the young hotel owner offer us great lessons in accepting “what is” and creating a new life!