Month: July 2016

Create the past you want

It’s an insightful way to consider the actions and decisions you take today.  We like to think we can direct our futures, and to an extent, that’s true.  But any guarantee is a myth. Thinking you can control the randomness of the future is an illusion. But there is one guarantee:  Each action you take does becomes an ineditable, unchangeable fact of your past.  You must identify with it for the rest of your days.  It becomes part of a moving picture you compile moment by moment, day by day, frame by frame. When you reach the point where more days lie behind you than lay ahead, what do you want as your legacy, your testament?  Now, while you can, build yourself a past that will give you pride and peace, and not sorry and regret....

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The reward for gaining knowledge and awareness…

…may well be isolation and solitude. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek them, but in the process, a couple of things may happen: You may find you need others less and less, maybe losing tolerance for the mundane that characterizes so much social interaction. But you may also find that the unaware and unknowledgeable lose interest in you. There can be several reasons for that, but let’s leave it for now. The whole thought just seemed to merit mention…and maybe a...

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I recently had occasion to think about death…

…that is, a death you see coming. You’re going over, or going on…or just going. Time and geography and people coalesce.  Whoever else is present, they are not participating.  There is only you.  It reminded me of my father, who died at 78 from a massive coronary.  He’d had a couple earlier heart attacks, and my mother hated for him to be in his garden, out of sight.  She was afraid something would happen and he’d have no one.  But he would say, “Dying is something I have to do alone anyway.” I have no insights or wisdom to impart, only the image of that existential singularity of time and place and person.  It brings clarity:  What must we do now?  How must we live?  What must we believe and act on that will make that last conscious thought one of peace and acceptance, and not one of regret and longing?...

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I’ve decided that time is indeed money…

…or very like it in one respect, anyway. It has to do with how we use the time we have, not the time we want. With money, there are two ways to be rich, by having more or by wanting less. Truly happy people are the latter, I think. They aren’t constantly striving for more, nor do they become slaves to debt. At sixty-four, I’ve become only too aware of time. I’m well past the good old days of youth and even middle age, when time felt a lot like credit. Like my credit rating, as long as my health was good, time was plentiful and mine to squander. Now, though, like someone crippled by debt, I see it never was like that. If I’m to be content, I have to decide very consciously what activities are important to me. Then, I have to focus and let others fall away. It’s like watching the little convertible pass me by as I climb into my truck…nice to have but out of my reach. My ADD self wants to travel, speak French and Italian, study history and philosophy and religion, meditate, learn the piano, build a house, write, be active in my community, host dinner parties, play in a band, read the classics, grow a garden, study photography, visit family, have a partner, work out, and still have time to sip...

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Are we self-limiting?

In the end, I think there two basic things doom the average, mentally healthy individual to unhappiness or discontent or mediocrity.  For one thing, we don’t understand how much control we actually have over our lives.  For the other, most lack the will or discipline or self-actualization or confidence to actively drive change.   It’s easier to convince ourselves that either we are OK with the current situation or that change is not within our purview. I emphasize that I’m thinking here of (more or less) middle and upper class North Americans, and probably most middle and upper class Europeans.  I don’t know about, nor can I relate to, people in poverty or in other cultures.  But I’m confident, even within whatever limitations exist, that few push the boundaries of personal change.  It seems to be within our nature to accept our situations…albeit, more often than not, grudgingly.  If change is to come, better that it come from someone else.  ...

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