Stock options are a wonderful real world counterpart for the metaphor of life options. Use it or lose it. The options are given by life freely and if unexercised they disappear again, just as abs under a pleasant poof of insulation. What is not used goes back into the universe from which it came. The universe is large and can accomodate much more than any one life. Any one life has more flexibility than sometimes we realize, perhaps because every moment is rife and ripe with life going on at simultaneous levels and the mental tabletop of what we can attend to can’t hold that much.
We live in something akin to an electronics store gone mad with woofers, sub-woofers, TVs and radios all set to different stations. Hearing the channel we choose to attend to takes the bulk of our concentration. Is it possible, in time, to stand in the ruckus and forget how to perceive anything but our focus? What about being able to perceive other voices in turn, bu habitually dismiss or denegrate them as unintelligible, inconclusive or useless? We can tune out what else is going on effectively (which is a useful skill) but if we don’t divert out attention occasionally, we can screen out smoke alarm warnings, our favourite songs, or other vital data that might be more useful than our usual station. Radio silence and motion are a balm. As is laughter. Life easily gets too all-important or trivial. Sometimes we need to stop listening from outside of us, outside of this moment, let the voices remembered, the notions fall to silence and motion of body. Shush oneself as many times as it takes to give a chance for lesser heard dreams to be audible, palpable.
Sometimes life’s journey is physical, sometimes spiritual, sometimes interpersonal, and sometimes these aspects intersect as they did for Brooke Broadbent on the walking the Camino in Northern Spain. His books and seminars on Beyond Fear: Recapturing Your Life (pdf) and his exploration of laughter (pdf) are enriching. To get in touch with ourselves, that quiet voice within is just the first step.
We need our unrealized wishes. One needs dreams to keep us reaching. Dreams without a need and plan to succeed in them are just hopes and wishes — liabilities that enable our inactions. We also need our realized actions and connections to be complete.
By a swift movement of the wist, instead of moving your can, dropping your cant of can’ts, one can be locked in a tower of hope by one’s own choosing. One can shut ourselves up there, and strand ourselves for rescue, instead of pragmatically bucking up, getting a move on and fixing what needs to fixed or Accepted as is unconditionally, no astericks allowed.
It is a journey finding, basking in and exploring the bliss that is particular to you and share-able for its universality. For some it may be whatever you conceive of as family, for some, a job. The concrete feedback on how you know when you’ve achieved it provides some accountability and whets the appetite to go on. The key is the journey. If you don’t get regular satisfaction, gratification at sustainable intervals, something has to change. It may be you. You’re the easiest thing to change because you can control you if nothing else on this planet. You, your restlessness to settle, your settling for restlessness, your resting in settlements, etc.
Garrison Steelle points out, “A life too tightly bound by rules and regulations is not free. Ideological slavery is every bit as limiting as though we were shackled by chains and beaten with whips. To that end, there is only one answer. Save your life: Break the rules.”
Observations: Beneath the furred silver of apple leaves budding, wild strawberries blossom and dogtooth violets bend open their petals baring their burgundy pistils, above newspaper sheets glide, riding draughts like seagulls in print on wind 10 stories high.