8 things I learned about life from the characters of Twin Peaks.


Here’s the thing about life — you can find meaning and guidance in everything and anything and all that lurks between the two. If you’re looking.

When you believe in pronoia, you’re attune to the voice of the universe. And the voice of the universe is prolific indeed. It shouts at you from radio ads, it calls to you through sale racks, it whispers in your ear via Starbucks baristas. It has many messengers.

As I’ve written before, I’m not a huge fan of the idiot box (as my gram so fondly called it), but there are a few TV shows that have carved notches in my heart. Shows I’ll never forget.

One of these shows was Twin Peaks. I watched it on Netflix a couple years ago, and it made a home in the nooks and crannies of my consciousness. David Lynch is my celebrity soulmate.

Is it dark? Sure. Is it weird? Absolutely. It is a bit disturbing? Yeah, that, too. All of which may make it seem like an odd choice for a girl who writes about happiness.

But here’s the thing about the cult masterpiece that is Twin Peaks — like the owls, it’s not what it seems.

Underneath its dark premise, I found it optimistic and spiritually sophisticated and frankly, hilarious.

Now that the show is officially getting a follow-up via Showtime (BEST NEWS EVER), I thought this was the perfect time to share some of the lessons I learned about living a happy life from Agent Dale Cooper, Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the Log Lady and, heck, even Roger Horne. Go grab a cup of damn good coffee (and a vegan donut) and get to reading:

(And because I love you, here’s a photo of me as Laura Palmer, Halloween 2012. You’re welcome.)

twin-peaks-gift-gifEvery day, give yourself a little present.
Agent Dale Cooper
Coop. Gotta love Coop. Despite enduring circumstances that would leave anyone a little bummed out (from the woman he loved dying in his arms to being shot and left for dead by his best friend’s lover), he was a ray of sunshine — always upbeat, always full of faith, always looking for the best in folks, Coop was a dyed-in-the-wool optimist. And he believed in relishing the smallest of pleasures — namely, hot cups of black coffee, jelly donuts and cherry pie. The joy is in the details, and Coop knew it was the little things that make life worth living.

Don’t give a damn what other people think.
The Log Lady
log-ladyThe Log Lady had style. Seriously. Those glasses, that sweater, that pitch gum! She was an icon. And despite the sideways looks she and her log companion were subject to, she didn’t give a damn what other people thought. She ate out with her log, she went to parties with her log, and she foretold the future with her log. Her log didn’t judge, and it was a hell of an accurate eyewitness. Bottom line: Log Lady was unapologetically herself. As we should all be!

Love big.
Albert Rosenfield
albert-rosenfield-loveRosenfield rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He was abrasive, insulting and snide. But underneath it all? LOVE. Oodles and oodles of love. In his words: “While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I’ll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method… is love. I love you Sheriff Truman.”

Friendship is everything.
Sheriff Harry S. Truman (and Dale Cooper)
truman-cooperArguably the greatest bromance of our time, Coop and Sheriff Truman had chemistry for days. Instant buds, the inseparable duo solved mysteries together, risked their lives together, ate donuts togethers. Did just about everything together. They had each other’s backs every time it counted — Sheriff Truman gave Coop a job when the FBI kicked him to the curb, Coop was super cool about the fact that Sheriff Truman’s girlfriend shot him and left him for dead. They were always there for one other, no questions asked.

The only thing to fear is the absence of love.
Maj. Garland Briggs
Love-is-not-enoughClearly the most spiritually advanced human in the town of Twin Peaks (how he produced a son like Bobby is one of the show’s great mysteries), Maj. Briggs had much wisdom to impart. And his answer to Windom Earle’s question, “what do you fear most… in the world?” says it all. In his words: “The possibility that love is not enough.” Because what else is there to fear, really, but that? Maj. Briggs understood the monumental importance of love. Without it, we can’t have happiness.

Age ain’t nothing but a number.
Nadine Hurley
nadine-twin-peaksIt may have been a coma that gave one-eyed Nadine a second chance at high school, but how she got there doesn’t really matter. What does matter is: she nailed it. Nadine blew everyone away with her endless enthusiasm. And skills. Skills in wrestling. Skills in cheerleading. Skills in the bedroom. She went for it, and despite being a 35-year-old high school senior, she proved that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Society’s definitions of age are nonsense. Happiness is found in defying them.

Anyone can change.
Ben Horne
roger-horneIn a true story of redemption, Ben Horne underwent a serious ethical overhaul after his Civil War-inspired psychological breakdown. It was hard to see the good in Ben, but his transformation was clearly legit. Though some of his born-again antics may have caused, ahem, problems, he had good intentions. Either way, it’s important to remember that change is ALWAYS possible, no matter how miserable or amoral someone might be.

Put yourself out there.
Annie Blackburnannie-blackburn
Even after a suicide attempt, followed by stowing away in a convent for (how long? a decade?) like, ever, Annie was still able to open herself up to the love of Coop. She got a job dealing with the general public, went for boat rides — even entered a beauty pageant. Annie wasn’t afraid to take risks. Leaving your comfort zone is a must when it comes to a well-lived life. So how’s Annie? She’s just fine, thank you.

Am I missing anything? Any epic life lessons you’ve learned from Twin Peaks? Tell me about ’em in the comments!

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1 Response

  1. Bishop C. Knight says:

    Yes, yes, and yes again. This show really is about loving big and being yourself. I hope you’ll post more during the Twin Peaks Revival. Thanks and happiest holidays.

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