A lot of the time when we’ve worked incredibly hard, made difficult sacrifices, gone without those things we consider essential, and much more… we achieve our goal, we are on top of the world, and we have no one to share our triumph with. Not necessarily because we’ve alienated some people along the way, but because we have alienated ourselves; if we want to have sole ownership of the goal we’ve achieved, then we have to make one more sacrifice: we must be prepared to enjoy our triumph alone and refrain from talking about it to others who just can’t understand all the ramifications and who weren’t there anyway. Some of us can handle this well, by compartmentalizing or by not insisting on recognition and a permanent status change thus can move on to another goal. But some of us don’t handle endings well and want the kudos and recognition to go on and on, want to be treated differently or better, want this one achievement to be the sum total of all the effort needed in our lives and don’t even want to think of another goal. If you were to choose would you rather be lonely at the top forever for one achievement or to choose and achieve many goals feeling that loneliness briefly?
It’s hard to remember that whatever we do, we are affecting something or someone. When we eat a bite of food, or speak to someone we don’t know, or even stand and watch a leaf, a bird, another person, we are affecting things around us and affecting things farther away from us that we have no idea we are affecting. If we are planning to affect someone in a specific way; to give them a gift, help them with a project, ruin their day, we tend to be a bit more aware of the effects of what we are doing because we want everything to happened as we planned and hoped it would go, but even with very careful planning and using foresight we have no way of knowing that the phone would ring precisely the wrong second or that a dear friend happens to appear to rescue the object of our ire. But during our execution of events we may have caused just those things. Planning rarely seems to be completely effective in any circumstance; choosing to accept how events proceed and enjoying the variation made possible by seemingly unconnected acts opens us up the inevitability of the effects we are producing all the time. With this awareness, shouldn’t we be more responsible about our smallest actions?
Mostly when we see someone looking secretive, as if they are trying to hide something or themselves, or sneaking quick glances around them the word that might come to mind is furtive. If that word of concept comes into our minds we tend to label that person as furtive or acting in a furtive way. Sometimes, or maybe we call it right and it is all the time, that person is acting in a furtive way because they do have something to hide, they do have secrets they don’t want to or can’t share, or have a need to know who and what is around them. These things may be true and all that behavior may actually be drawing attention to a criminal or abuser of some kind, but that is not always the case. It could be that this person is trying to get away from an abusive relationship and is scared and confused; or this could be a very shy and uncertain person who rarely goes out in public; or this could be a person who just wants some alone time and doesn’t know how to go about finding it. As with most of our judgments made from very quick slices of whatever we’re judging they can wrong just as often as they can be right; isn’t it better to take your time when making judgments?
We’ve all been a situation in which we know we must have some specific thing or we’ll expire. We feel trapped in or surrounded by difficulties and unable to get a real handle on things to enable us to relieve the situation. When we find ourselves restricted like this, we may feel that the only way to retain our feelings of dignity and that matters to someone are to get something, something that has always been a dream for something that is a new dream, perhaps way out. And we may feel that we will do anything to acquire this thing; it has become a beacon to follow, to single mindedly follow so that we don’t have to think about where we are. This narrow, determined focus may actually be hurting us more than helping; when we’re so locked on to a single thing we may miss other opportunities approaching or approachable to the sides or coming up from behind. By continuing to keep our heads turned in only one direction, the chance to interact and consider different paths to freedom is lost and the acquisition of our goal may not help our situation or may feel hollow. Wouldn’t it help us more by broadening our focus to increase our chances of success?
First responders are a light in the darkness of a turbulent night, they are a light in the darkness of ragged tempers and despair, and one of the hardest things they must do is to retain a light in their hearts for themselves. For first responders are members of that group of people who are defined by their profession and judged, without separation, as a member of that group. This may not seem to be a bad thing since these people do such difficult, demanding things in their jobs, yet remain compassionate and kind; they are set up on a pedestal for children to emulate, and with just a saucy grin (female or male) can coax a ticket to the fireman’s or policemen’s balls. But it is important for us to know that these men and women have fought hard to gain their positions and will fight hard to retain them, they have a very solid, almost unbreakable base that has many pluses in their position, but can also prove fatal to close relationships and can lead to unhealthy relationships with drugs or alcohol. Yes, we should respect and admire these first responders, for they have done, are doing, and will do; they are, as a group, phenomenal people. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that they are human and deserve to be treated that way, don’t you think?
Many times when we are in free fall in our lives, when it seems everything is going wrong and you can do nothing right, the choice is made to throw up our hands in despair and let nature take its course. We react to whatever happens just enough to keep staggering on, but not much more. Unfortunately this can become a habit and a despairing and depressed mood may be come what is considered. If we allow this to happen we no longer have the capacity to enjoy a surprise, a sunny day, or even things as important as our children, besides showcasing a very negative approach to life. There are always choices that can be made to avoid these kinds of pitfalls: if we can’t get out of the free fall we’re experiencing, we can choose to begin to fly a different path instead, we are free to choose free flight. Like a skater during the free skate part of their competition, we may be constrained some of the time, but we are not constrained all the time. Instead of allowing constraint and the ingrained habit of follow other peoples’ paths, we truly can choose to be ourselves and hack out our own paths. It may be difficult indeed to do so, but isn’t it worth it?
Solidarity feels wonderful to those within a group and expressing their solidarity in various ways both private and public. Why, being able to publicly express your togetherness and unity of thought is one of the most appealing things about any kind of purposeful meeting of like-minded people. Any group of people can devolve into a mob, but with effective leadership the group can become a powerful voice for whatever it is propounding; it will easily recruit converts as well. However any time a group finds itself in the power of a dynamic leader, they may be headed for a fall or disillusionment; for once the consensus has left the group and the group members are in thrall to the leader and the leader’s coterie, and then – a class system is born; one that might make sense at the beginning of any leader’s term, but when allowed to continue, does continue with the separation of groups. At that point it is very difficult for the groups to come together again, or even to admit that they once held similar or the same views. This is where commonsense begins to disappear when merely a sense of common goals or feelings held in common could benefit us all. Isn’t it a shame that we don’t seem to be capable of even that?