Some of us find meeting a challenge to be exciting, stimulating, and yes, a challenge; challenges are seen by these people as nothing to be frightened or apprehensive about, something to enjoy whether the challenge involves others or one is pitted against oneself. To most who view a challenge this way you haven’t failed if you didn’t reach your goal, you’ve learned enough or will practice enough to meet the challenge the next time or the one after that. To others of us a challenge is something to dread and to try to avoid at almost any cost. For these people a challenge is a very personal thing and meeting the challenge, or not, defines their very worth. They find it is better to reject all challenges than risk a fracture in their images of themselves or the world. These characterizations typify two very different kinds of people, those people of action and those who wait and see; those who stride forward and those who wait behind the scenes. But everyone must face, at some time or another, a sudden, drastic challenge that there could be o opportunity to plan for or to watch. The typical ‘let’s go out and get ’em person may become paralyzed and the watcher may react quickly and effectively. There is no telling what anyone will do when faced with an unexpected crisis. So how effective is it to try to plan for one?
Some of us think we’re always waterproof and some of think we never are – all of us are at least somewhat mistaken. One can be as prepared as a person could possibly be for wet occasions, but still get caught with wet feet or a random hair wash because you can never be completely prepared all the time; if you spend your life preparing for catastrophe, you may find one instead of avoiding one. It might be best to look at preparedness as something you strive for don’t reach; and learn not to beat yourself up over any perceived lack. There are those of us who don’t recognize mortality, breakability, or anything that might actually affect them. These people are risk-takers who go into things from small and inconsequential to huge and life-threatening with no concept of the differences between the two and with a reckless attitude that likes company to watch, to cheer, and to join in their efforts at proving themselves. These two attitudes and all those in between treat threats or challenges differently, but no one denies that fact that one of the things water does is drown people and you must be careful around it. So it is with all our world. Shouldn’t we respect our world and its wonders rather than try to tame them?
There are times in most of our lives when we feel as if we’re the only one to feel exuberant, our friends seem lukewarm at best about our mood; or we feel that we are alone in feeling down and that our friends are having fun and ignoring us as if we didn’t exist; or we feel so alone and misunderstood that the whole world looks out of focus and off-color. We are disconnected. And when we are disconnected from others and the world around us we easily become disconnected from ourselves. Oddly enough one of the best things we can do when we finally recognize that these symptoms are actually coming from ourselves and that others are not just acting strangely is to take some time to be alone, to take out and look at our feelings and emotions to find what is missing or recognize what we are carrying around that is too much for us. If we take care to be thorough and honest we can plan a long and lasting strategy to keep disconnectedness at bay. For humans are social creatures and must maintain a sense of community, large or small, to feel whole. Acting to dissipate and resolve the sense of being disconnected is better than crawling down a hole to escape it, isn’t it?
Missed opportunities always bother us; we feel we’ve lost something valuable, rather than potentially valuable and can work ourselves up into an unnecessary and possibly detrimental state of mind. Once one focuses on the lost opportunities staring one in the face a number of choices disappear, we find we have become very limited in our interactions with the world, and we no longer have effective control over ourselves. To rub salt in the wound, all of this may have occurred for no real reason at all. Many of the opportunities that appear to us are not really worth even considering; if we thought about that particular opportunity for only a short time we could easily see that getting all worked up over something we don’t want or need is non-productive, silly, and takes away from things we do need. There are times when we are faced with more than one opportunity; this is a time to remain especially calm and objective there is no reason to waste time and emotion trying to make use of both or all opportunities presented to you. What is stretched between many is not as well done, efficient, or appreciated as one’s full attention focused on one task or pleasure. Shouldn’t we pay attention when opportunities come chasing after us rather than leaping at every one of them?
We all have, at some time, discovered that we have been out in public, even among close friends and loved ones, and that we don’t look just as we would like to. Sometimes having a hem unravel, or wearing one shoe black and one brown, or going out the door without making sure we weren’t the victim of bed-head wouldn’t bother us, but the majority of the time we are mortified and want the ground to open up and swallow us than to have to bear the scrutiny of friends and strangers. What we fail to recognize is that our friends and family may have a good laugh at us just because they can, it is not meant to hurt. And some of the time they won’t even notice that there is something that you think is wrong. Strangers couldn’t care less how we look and act unless they’re directly impacted. No, the one that cares the most about our faux pas is us; our ownselves. We have such a firm grasp upon how we are supposed to look to the world that it bothers us to the extreme when we don’t live up to our own expectations. In living up to and achieving our own standards and hopes we give ourselves and others the best of us, don’t we?
Some make it a habit, some eschew it altogether, others may use it when feeling down or when there is an occasion to celebrate, but almost all people will accessorize at times. Accessorizing as enhancement takes many forms, from the sublime to the ridiculous. However we judge others’ preferences, we must remember that others are judging ours as well. As long as you feel comfortable using or wearing your accessories you should let any negative comments or expressions bounce off the armor of your surety; no matter what you wear or how your actions represent you, you will always receive some negative feedback. If you allow yourself to be swayed by the opinions of those you know and respect you are abrogating your own personal self; if you allow yourself to accept the judgment of those you don’t know you are casting away your self-respect. To support a strong sense of yourself, to expect respect and to like yourself, you must accept and continually reinforce your self-respect. Doesn’t the sense of independence demand this of us all?
Water is ubiquitous and it has been presented as the staff of life, necessary for any carbon-based creatures’ very existences. Water has been worshipped, demonized, blamed for drought, celebrated for plenty, and has had intent, positive or negative attributed to it. We know, really know, when we are thinking rationally, that water is an inanimate object and that there are no living cells, aside from those in solution, that are a part of water. Yet we persist in anthropomorphizing it and virtually every other inanimate object, along with the living ones. It is understandable that we create characters out of living things; they can at least be construed to have a brain, whether they have one or not, however giving something non-living sentience serves to point out that we must personalize anything that has any kind of power over us to be able to try to understand its power and its mechanics. When we humanize something, including ourselves and others, we are more able to understand it and predict its actions and deduct its motives. We try that with water, wind, fire, and more – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But would you really like it to?