CAMELOT DOESN’T LAST FOREVER

First of all, let’s establish that Camelot is a dream–the castle and court associated with the mythical King Arthur, who, according to legend, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The most popular version of Camelot is the Arthurian fantasy novel written by T. H. White, The Once and Future King, a collective volume of works published in 1958.  The story begins with Arthur’s childhood tutelage by Merlyn, a wizard who lives through time backwards. Merlyn, knowing the boy’s destiny, teaches Arthur (known as “Wart”) what it means to be a good king by turning him into various kinds of animals: fish, hawk, ant, goose, and badger. Each of the transformations teaches Wart a lesson, which will prepare him for his future life. In fact, Merlyn instills in Arthur the concept that the only justifiable reason for war is to prevent another from going to war, and that contemporary human governments and powerful people exemplify the worst aspects of the rule of Might. Arthur claims his destiny, as he is the only person who can pull the sword of Excalibur from a boulder. In other legends, this indicates he is destined to find the Holy Grail.

Arthur invents the idea of the Knights of the Round Table, a preview of what democracy could be, and in the process builds an immensely loyal team. But Arthur later becomes vulnerable to Sir Lancelot, the bravest of his knights, who innocently falls in love with Guinevere, the queen. This affair and other decisions ultimately split the Round Table, as King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot begin lead their lives like a “Candle in the Wind” which leads to the eventual downfall ideal kingdom of Camelot.

In the Lerner and Loewe’s musical treatment of Camelot, King Arthur meets a young boy who wants to join the Round Table. Arthur becomes inspired, reminded of the idealism that he once had as a young king. He muses to the child about what a great run it was:

“Don’t let it be forgot

That once there was a spot,

For one brief, shining moment

That was known as Camelot”

So what are the lessons learned?

1)  Camelot was built over time.  Are you patient enough in your pursuit of dreams?

2)  Arthur had a mentor. Who is your Merlin? Who can mentor you with wisdom to help you build your own Camelot? Who can add to your inner circle and mentor as well?

3)  Camelot was torn down in an instant with one fatal moment. Certainly, the love triangle of this story was the tragedy that brought down Camelot. Perhaps Arthur should have romanced his wife more. What can you do in your life to reduce vulnerability to any major exposure that might bring down your current Camelot?

4)  Trust and a degree of risk are essential for any Camelot to thrive. It’s not a wonderful place unless there exists a wonderful state of mind. What can you do to foster creativity and team innovation in your world?

5)  Camelot doesn’t last forever. Despite your best efforts, as good as things may be going in your relationship, school or work, things may turn sour. King Arthur found himself in a nasty situation–leading his army into battle against Sir Lancelot, whom he reveres, to win back Queen Guinevere, whom he knows respects and regards him but is now hopelessly in love with Lancelot. He proceeds with honor. Can you deal with a bad turn of events with honor, even though your Camelot is coming to an end?

6)  Take the high road and celebrate the run. There was no winning King Arthur’s situation, but he prefers to reflect what a wonderful run it was at Camelot. Do you understand that life is a gift, and so are some of the special moments in your life? If so, can you turn the other cheek?

There is one more lesson to learn if you are to live life in crescendo. It is indeed possible to have several Camelot-moments in your life. One “Camelot” might be mere days of glory, whereas another “Camelot” might be decades.  I don’t have a crystal ball for your own particular life, but I do know one thing: you will never recognize when you are indeed entering a period of Camelot in your life if you are harboring negativity from your past or even your present. King Arthur was an idealist who lived life in crescendo. Can you?

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