Archives for posts with tag: choice

The menu of options in life is… vast. There is so much to choose from, so many directions one could take life, generally. A nearly unlimited array of choices in a complex choose-your-own-adventure experience that layers the consequences of our actions and decision making over a strange randomized mesh of other people’s free will and a sprinkling of circumstances builds our perceivable context, sometimes bamboozling us into thinking we lack control… or at least influence, and choice. Choice. I keep using that word. It’s a good word. It is a word with a lot of power.

Last night I saw The Hip Hop Nutcracker and enjoyed a rather comfortably adult night on the town that included a relaxed walk through a foggy, rainy, urban nightscape, a pleasant dinner, and a little pre-holiday window shopping. It was a lovely evening. Those were my choices.

This morning, I am contentedly grooving to a DJ’s mix that I adore (the DJ? the mix? both? 🙂 I’m just saying this is a good way to start my morning…or end my evening… or fill my time. lol). Another choice.

We don’t hesitate when we make choices about the music we listen to. That’s a pretty easy one, isn’t it? I like this. You like that. We share some experiences. We don’t “get it” sometimes. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to like music other people don’t care for, or to acknowledge it when I don’t like some particular band, sound, genre, or track.

Music. Clothes. Style of furniture and decor. Colors. TV shows. Foods. Times of day. Our internal “preferences” settings are by far more complicated than any software. We spend a lifetime “building our profile” as human beings. We spend more time becoming who we are than we do being who we are… It seems useful to be aware of that, and to choose. I don’t mean fall into, and then accept, what we are and what we do – I mean think it over, seriously, and choose, willfully.

Who are you? What do you like? What have you chosen? What experiences and choices are a core part of your “profile” in life? Which ones are “just a test drive”? We grow and learn and change (if only the tiniest bit) every day – how much of that are you considering, selecting, guiding, and living with your eyes wide open?

You know this life is yours, right? What are you doing about that? I mean, like, today? 🙂

I listen to the music, grooving and enjoying my coffee, thinking over life and love and choices, and feeling content on a Thursday morning. It’s enough. Hell – more than enough – I may even be… happy. Wow.

This too will pass. lol No kidding, that’s a given. There will be blue days ahead, some headaches, challenges… maybe I will fail myself – or you – or maybe I will fall short of expectations in a less meaningful way, but still feel dissatisfied? Ups and downs and incremental change over time; however far we come, there is farther to go. Choose wisely. Choose willfully. Be the verbs. (It’s sounds easy, but there are verbs involved. lol)

I look at the clock, and into my empty coffee cup. The music plays on… “…keep it moving…keep it moving… keep it moving…

It’s already time to begin again.

Are you familiar with CGP Gray? He’s got some basics laid out that chart the course to misery pretty well… so… go the other way? Do something different? At any rate, he’s right; you may already be doing the things necessary to be miserable, and if you are – the journey to less misery may be pretty well-mapped right here. I’ve spent hours, days, and years basically saying what he’s said so well and so precisely in one video. 😀

Enjoy the day. Enjoy the journey. 🙂

…Don’t forget to pause to appreciate beauty along the way. 🙂

A good day of house-hunting, yesterday, reminded me that the world is not what I expect, nor does it adhere to my plans, or limit itself to my beliefs or whimsical notions. It is what it is. I can change. I can, perhaps, change the world. The world itself can (will) change – may even choose change – but at all points, in all moments, it (the world) and I (myself) remain entirely precisely what we each actually are (in that moment) without regard to belief.

I am  a practicing non-believer, generally. I prefer my understanding of myself and knowledge of the world be closely tied to what is, and not at all dependent on what I assume, expect, want, pretend, or make up in my head – or what I’m told. It just simplifies things. My only requirements at that point become awareness of the world around me, and acceptance of reality. No “believing” required. (Reality, like science, does not care what I believe.) I see, lately, a rather sad surplus of human primates mis-using the words “think” and “know” as synonymous with “believe”, but I’m on to those verbal shenanigans, and I’m watching for it. Believe what you like. I’ll seek knowledge, and accept that I do not know what I do not know. (Your beliefs can’t really substitute effectively for my knowledge, nor mine for yours. I’ll do my homework.)

The wisest among us know to refrain from supporting decision-making with untested assumptions, magical thinking, and “believing” things without checking them out thoroughly. Strangely, in spite of the modern surplus of data, there is a clear shortage of wisdom in the world. lol

I sip my coffee, watching signs of spring coming, just beyond my studio window. Small brown birds gathering up soft bits of this and that for nests. A large flock of Canada geese strutting and posing on the lawn between the patio and the meadow beyond. Blue sky streaked with indecisive clouds of several sorts, as though the weather for the day is simply not yet decided. Rain spatters the window, but only for a moment. I notice that my coffee has, at some point, gone cold. I’m smiling, nonetheless. Why not?

I think about the houses that I saw yesterday. The one that I “liked” the best was also in pretty bad shape. No… I mean… like, seriously, not good. As in, not fully habitable. At all. The cost to make it a home would be prohibitively high (obvious structural repairs were needed to interior floors, and the roof, every scrap of carpet was so badly damaged and soaked in cat urine that the entire building reeked of it… and so much more!), but I did like the floor plan, very much. I made notes when I got home. I’d almost talked myself out of being mindful of the quantity of obvious deal-breakers, by the time I sat down to consider the day. lol I marked the address in my favorites on a listing website I use, to keep an eye on it… maybe a radical drop in price…? I was stunned to see it updated to a pending offer before I finished dinner. That change didn’t realistically do anything to change that it wasn’t a good choice for me, personally, so it was interesting to observe my emotional landscape shift and change with the new knowledge. I had already formed the belief that “no one would want to undertake all that, even at that price” and already developed an expectation in my thinking that it “might still be available months from now, at a reduced price”. LOL Silly primate. No means no.

I looked at a house that was well-kept, clean, cosmetically very pleasant, in a nice seeming neighborhood, a reasonable commute to work, and move-in ready… It was also at the top of my price range, and on the small side of what I am looking for – and didn’t actually meet most of my significant needs, carefully listed and carried with me. It was just the only house I looked at that I could envision living in, myself, fairly contentedly… and that was the case primarily because it was clean, well-cared for, and vacant. Those characteristics aren’t really the ones that meet long-term needs for quality of life, and being at the top of my price range just as it was, it would have been unaffordable to improve it. Another set of pitfalls avoided. I remember thinking “this is hard!”

I looked at a house that had many of the characteristics that would meet my needs over time – and even those of my Traveling Partner at any point he might choose to be staying with me. It was occupied, which for me complicates looking at it; I struggle to filter out the experience of the resident, and their use of the space. I do my best, and it is a learning process, and there is a lot going for this one, I think to myself… and begin to observe the process of my brain working to talk me into or out of it. The house is on the corner of a very busy major street, across from a brightly lit car dealership, next door to a very large multi-family complex that is noisy, and littered. Could I “make it work”? Probably, but the location is both less-than-ideal and also manages to be inconvenient to shopping and services I would, myself, need. How long would it take before my PTSD and noise-sensitivity resulted in feeling unsafe, or uncomfortable? It’s not the one, either.

There was a very cute older place, well-cared for, and fairly fancy for its time – lots of well-crafted built-ins. It was an “open house” and there was a lot of interest in the wee charming move-in ready house. The rooms were small to the point of feeling claustrophobic, and the basement stairs were the deal breaker for me, with tread so narrow it was necessary to turn sort of sideways to safely go down into the finished basement. The ceiling in the basement was so low I had to stoop in places – and I’m only 5’5″-ish. Uncomfortable, and the safety hazards revealed themselves quite quickly; my realtor hit his head going back upstairs, and I stumbled on the narrow tread, causing me to also notice the utter lack of bannister or rail. A bannister or safety rail is an easy addition… but the concrete stairs with narrow tread? No way. Shivers ran up and down my spine when I considered the risk of falling down those stairs and hitting my head.

I could have tried to talk myself into any one of them, I suppose. I choose, instead, patience and learning. Instead of investing in the belief that I must choose one as soon as possible and settle for all of the compromises on all of the characteristics I would want to build a home upon, I continue to study what matters most to me, building by building. Belief is pretty easy; someone says something with conviction, and I then accept the words as true, and build on that. No homework required. Learning requires more effort, more cognitive strain, more moments confronting the human being in the mirror and demanding a reality check; it’s uncomfortable. I’m okay with that. Non-belief is also a practice. 😉

I didn’t find a house I would want to call my own yesterday. I’m okay with that. I’ll begin again. This too is part of the journey.  🙂

Between what? Between plans and outcomes, perhaps, or between what was and what may be, at some future point – in either case, I live just the one moment, ‘now’, and what I choose to do with it seems to matter so very much more than what may be planned for the future, or may have been planned for the past. It’s a quiet morning to contemplate time, planning, and outcomes. I find change far less unnerving when I plan things out, then prepare a good Plan B, then follow that with some alternate plans, contingency plans, wild cards plans, and anticipate potential outcomes of the unplanned possibilities – rendering them much less unexpected. Doesn’t matter that much, though; life tends to be quite unscripted and spontaneous regardless of planning… Which doesn’t have any tendency at all to stop me attempting to plan my life. 🙂

flowers

Perspective. 

The emotional climate seems very nice ‘here’. The emotional weather lately has also been sunny and mild. Storms of change are on the horizon, piling up like distant clouds – will it be a spring shower, or a powerful thing crafted of nightmares, hurricane winds, and monsoon rains, that sweeps aside all other considerations for a time? For planning purposes, scale matters a lot – or seems to. Opportunity sometimes seems to transmute change from something uncontrollable and potentially devastating to something almost festive…a see-saw on life’s playground. Here I stand, between moments, between metaphors, staring at the horizon on this perplexing and wonderful journey… still smiling, still okay, and feeling fairly ‘ready for it’.

flowers

Life is busy. It’s easy to miss details that matter.

I need to get some solid contemplative time alone at some point in the very near future. I find myself considering a day trip to the coast or up to ‘the big city’ (Seattle is the nearest of those), or a hike out in the trees, somewhere more distant than nearby nature parks. In any case, I need time to sort some things out with care, whether it is at my desk, at my easel, on foot, or traveling by some other means; my mind needs time and opportunity to wander. Easily done… there are verbs involved.

Walking my own path, one step at a time.

Walking my own path, one step at a time.

Today is a good day to walk on, to consider the alternatives, to choose wisely and with great care. Today is a good day to take care of me, to love without reservations, and to listen deeply. Today is a good day to “stay on the path”… It’s definitely leading somewhere.

It’s raining this morning. It’s been raining most of the night. I love the sound of it on the eaves, windows, and chimney cover. I woke fairly early and meditated for some while as the dawn turned to morning, and the rain fell.

A rainy morning from another perspective.

A rainy morning from another perspective.

I find myself thinking a lot about perspective this morning, and my metaphors have gotten all jumbled up. I think of the unique individual nature of each raindrop, each wet blade of grass in the meadow, each insect chased by each swallow…and as each metaphor begins to take shape in some more meaningful seeming way, it crumbles under the weight of how similar each of these things really is, from my own perspective. Can I tell at a glance once rain drop from another? Or one blade of grass, one insect, or one swallow? Hardly. Not as a general rule. Few could, except perhaps those who make a committed study of some particular – raindrops, or maybe a certain very particular butterfly, or the blades of grasses. I spend some moments considering that. If I were to spend a great deal of my time studying just one very narrowly defined object, creature, event, or notion, wouldn’t I become highly aware of the most granular subtleties of every characteristic, over time? Would this alter how I view all manner of other things as well – changing the focal point of my perspective in some fashion?

The rain continues to fall. The ducks and Canada geese appear to be enjoying it greatly, and feasting on something they dig out of the mud between dripping wet blades of grass. I think about perspective as I watch them; if I asked them ‘how are you doing’ and asked also that they place their experience on a scale of 1 – 10, what would they say? I think about my own answer to that question. I find it a difficult way to rate my experience, because it requires thoughtful consideration and then probably some math to find an average; I am in a lot of pain today, but feeling content, serene, and pleasantly disposed toward the world…not quite ‘merry’. So… 1 – 10? 6? 7? ‘Better than average’? What’s ‘average’? My average? Or would the questioner’s perspective be their own understanding of ‘average’? I want to rate it twice – climate and weather. Because my day-to-day background sense of things (climate) is more a… 9. Which is nice to make note of. My right-now-pain-and-all (weather) is something more like a 6 with suggestions that a playful 7 is within reach, if I continue to manage my pain as best I can, and also hold on to some perspective – weather changes. I look out across the rainy meadow. Numbers don’t matter to raindrops. The blades of grass are not concerned about my perspective.

A runner crosses my view of the meadow, running through the muddy grass to bypass the flooded trail. He runs in a t-shirt and shorts, and the rain continues to fall rather heavily. The weather is not yet warm. I wonder what his perspective is on the rain as he passes by beyond the window, across the grass? Does he find his experience bracing, refreshing, and delightful? Did he seek out the sensations he is experiencing? Or his is morning run a matter of rigid habit, of discipline, and a personal will to refuse to be overcome by some raindrops? He chose – but what was it he was choosing?

Today is a good day to listen to the rain fall, and a good day to consider something from a different perspective.