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?
There is nothing wrong with asking another person for their opinion about a course of action you may wish to take, but you should keep in mind that you are you, and the only one who can actually make the choice for you is you. It can be extremely tempting to ask for someone’s opinion, follow their advice, then feel free to blame them if things do not turn out as you would have liked them to. This action you’ve chosen to take does two things: it spuriously absolves you of any responsibility for consequences of the action, though this may backfire if positive consequences ensue, and/or it creates an enmity or distance between you and the person whose advice you sought. In any case, if you develop the habit of claiming no responsibility for any of your actions the effects of doing so will primarily be felt by you, not others, in a negative way. You will be deprived of the satisfaction you can receive by making good choices, you will be deprived of learning opportunities, you will be deprived of the respect of others, and more. Isn’t owning your choices more positive than rejecting them?
It may have been our duty at some time, or we may have kept vigil out of love, or out of faith, and when we’ve kept vigil we generally feel a sense of responsibility and solemnity. Our vigilance is not meant to disturb its object, rather to allow it to continue whatever it may be doing without disturbance. This object may be a living being or one no longer living or never living, but in any case it is deserving of respect; other emotions and feelings may be involved but respect is the one most needed to feel the desire to keep vigil. And though vigils include wakefulness and watchfulness, this does not necessarily mean that one must be watching over someone or something besides oneself. Much of the time when holding a vigil it can also be called a meditation directed from you to yourself or prayer directed to a spiritual mentor or your version an all-powerful moral authority. A vigil can also be a way to bring people together in common cause, to express a similar feeling about a certain issue, to mourn specific people or events, or to celebrate the same. Holding or keeping vigil is a way to confirm a sense of community whether in a group or alone. Shouldn’t we respect people who respect something and express it?
Undoubtedly we’ve all heard someone say to us during our lifetime that they know exactly what we need, what would be good for us, what will make us feel better. At times we may actually be looking for help; for advice, a sounding board, options to cogitate over; frequently though, we are merely asking for input and not for instructions. When we know the advisor quite well or are related to them it can be very difficult to continue the relationship in harmony if you decide to opt for a different course of action than was suggested. Since when we are close to someone we don’t want to hurt them it can be hard to take the path we have chosen to take; we must do so though, or we will be mired in conditions not of our choosing. There are others, not necessarily close to us at all who see themselves as wonderfully intuitive people with vision who can tell your mind and heart at a glance; these controlling people may think they are acting in the best interests of everyone, including you, and are puzzled and may get angry when people don’t do as they have said they should and believe that is best for them. With these people you have two options: you can face up to them and let them know you will run your own life and go your own way, or you can remove yourself from their presence and influence. In any case, you are free to choose your own life’s direction, aren’t you?
At just about this point in the holiday season many of us begin to think we will never make it through, we feel somewhat, or very much, out of control and have no idea what to do to make things better, not only for us, but for those around us. After all, this season is supposed to be about joy and celebration, of beliefs, families, loved ones; but it can get so frantic and frightful, with wounded feelings and smashed sensibilities looming all around us. And we still haven’t gotten all of “it” done. At the first sight or sense of these kinds of feelings it is wise to take a step back and ask ourselves why we’re doing whatever it is that is causing stress and contention; if we find that it isn’t crucial to our happiness or well-being, or of that of those we truly care about, then we should stop in our tracks and turn our attentions elsewhere. The point of the holidays is not to see that everyone except yourself is happy, well-fed, and overindulged, the point is that everyone feel merry and joyful, and you, too, are part of everyone. It is a time to allow yourself to float down the river, past the rapids, and to the calm, smooth water of enjoyment. I wish everyone the very best, myself included. Don’t you wish the same?
Once we get used to something, it’s familiar; once something is familiar it is no longer threatening by its strangeness or its oddity. If there is no way to avoid being around something or someplace different than we’re used to we become habituated to that new or different thing. Then, when we’ve become habituated, we assume that everyone will like, understand, or want what we’ve become familiar with and consider normal. We find it very hard to understand when our lifestyle or way of thinking is rejected by others. We very seldom stop to think that, of course, they are habituated to their own lifestyles and frequently we will reject theirs in turn. This can become a damaging cycle that leads to more and more and greater and greater misunderstandings until someone takes those misunderstandings and creates threats or worse from them. It would be so much easier for those of us who want to stay indoors when it’s cold to do so and not to deride or question those who would rather be outdoors. Preferences are not a matter of right or wrong, they are simply preferences and should not be taken as a personal statement to a specific person or group. If you like & prefer what is familiar to you, won’t you let others like & prefer what is familiar to them?
Since we are alive we must always be in motion one way or another, even when we sleep. Unless we try to keep track of all our physical movements and our thoughts and dreams all the time, an impossible task, we will generate unintended consequences. In fact, most of the consequences that result from our actions are unintended, and mostly go unnoticed by us, though perhaps not by others. The majority of these occurrences do not immediately, or will not, cause harm. Oddly enough, those consequences that are thought about most, and even carefully planned, are the ones that cause most damage because we cannot know how every little things can and connect with or react to every other little thing, thus our good intentions fail and can bring about negative or dire consequences that require more fixing than maintenance of the planned improvement; or cannot be fixed at all. You may want to choose to do nothing, even though you are filled with good intentions, when you really don’t know enough about the situation to attempt to change it. And you may want to think carefully instead reacting blindly to situations that have aroused your joy or fury. Haven’t we all done things with unexpected, positive or negative, outcomes?