Purple's Platitudes

nothing but words …

Mumbo Jumbo

03 November 2009


Sparks have been flying, thoughts synapsing, questions gurgling and bubbling on the surface, so here goes …

Reality – “it is what it is … but once upon a time it was so much more”. I’ve danced around and around with this idea. It implies regret, dissatisfaction with what is, a longing for the way things used to be. It is retro, looking back, wishful thinking, the grass is always greener disease, or more appropriately, the grass used to be greener. I think it is far easier to entertain this outlook, that things were good once, especially when our level of contentment is at low tide and it is hard to see anything good about anything in our current fog.

The key to fixing this scenario is not pining after what used to be and it also is not in trying to ever go back – we cannot, and even if we could, we’ve changed along with everything else and going back is meaningless because of that. Remember the old saying – you can never go home again? We cannot go back and try to reclaim something remembered for many reasons. Oftentimes, the memory is distorted anyway, and so if we did “go back” somehow things rarely mesh with the way we fondly remembered them. Memory is selective, highlighting and perhaps even exaggerating the pretty and the pleasant. We may physically return, but nothing remains the same so our destination must await some other direction, some other place, some other reality.

Forward movement is always possible – in fact, it is our only choice because it is the only directional choice we really have. Stagnation, standing still, remaining in limbo is one possible choice, but even in that, I believe, we are still moving forward in a sense, just not going anywhere. We are moving forward, yet remaining in the same place (by choice … choosing not to choose is still a choice).

When we choose to stay, to spin our wheels, to hope and dream but laugh those things off as silly daydreams, hopeless romanticism, the fairy tale happy endings, we often find it easier to settle for what is, longingly think back to what used to be, all without daring to imagine reality (life, love, fill in the blank with whatever fits) could ever really be any different. It is simply too hard to make any other choices. We surrender, settle, for reasons and excuses and rationalizations that are emotionally valid, maybe even solidly based on apparent evidence!! We simply can’t.

I think somewhere in life, this process does just creep up on you, grows, little by little, until one moment in time you suddenly find yourself staring into the mirror and you’re no longer sure of who is looking back. You stop in the middle of your busyness, in the midst of your living and existing and suddenly (or so it seems) you get a ghostly glimpse of who you are, of what you are doing, of where you are and you discover you have questions, rising up seemingly from out of nowhere, bursting into your awareness as if they just now surfaced and came into view.

Like it or not, whenever we honestly and fully face truth – whether it is the truth about ourselves, who we are behind all of the masks we wear, that image we project for others to see, and sometimes even to avoid seeing ourselves as we truly are, or the truth about the nature of our own reality we live in, by choices made or choices and opportunities ignored – we must make a decision based on that revelation. Revelation requires a response. Once we know, we are responsible for that knowledge. (to whom … is an entirely divergent rabbit trail, but suffice it to say, on a personal level we must do something, make some choice, change, move, something …)

I think much of our task in living is way beyond merely existing. I am a deeply philosophical creature, a questioning animal to the nth degree, seeking not just answers, but wisdom, and understanding of how to apply what I learn about myself and about the life I live and the reality of everything around me. Know yourself is still the ultimate advice in my opinion, followed closely by “the unexamined life is not worth living” which sort of expands the inner journey into the outer reality as well.

But, I also recognize the fact that facing truth is a frightening, disheartening experience sometimes. Our Ego development, from a young age, teaches us survival techniques that are more often than not counterproductive as adults. We learn to avoid, to gloss over reality, to only see and hear those truths about ourselves, about our realities that are warm and safe and familiar and comfortable. It is acceptable to dream, to reminisce, to juggle “what if’s” endlessly as long as we do not step away from our own reality.

But the struggle intensifies usually until we can no longer ignore it, we become “conscious” and aware. We see and hear and feel and it just becomes too much to just shrug off or sweep under the rug. We’ve been electrified and made alive. And in that moment, perhaps, we turn a corner and choose, decide, change and nothing can stop us from moving on, from no longer accepting what used to be or even what is. Perhaps this only happens within. Perhaps it happens on a grander scale, overflowing into life. But it happens. If we are lucky.

And if not, we chase away the dreams and the hopes and the truth we have seen and allow our fears to still the rocking boat and swelling waves of discontentment we allowed to move us slightly off course. We readjust, rationalize the sense of staying the same, of settling in and riding the storm out, after all, it will pass, eventually, just like every other time it has attempted to get your attention.

Naturally, we choose the path of least resistance – change is scary, hard, unknown. Sometimes the changes we need to make, the ones we can, are miniscule. Sometimes they mean redefining essentially everything about ourselves and our lives. No one can tell you what choices to make or not make. No one can tell you who you are. Unfortunately, I believe, this is your journey and only you can choose to be who you are and do what you believe you need to do.

Regrets are baggage, nothing more. I think we only have regrets because we are unwilling to assume responsibility for our own choices. Obviously, there are external variables we simply cannot control, but we always can choose our reactions to anything and everything that happens and in that is greater wisdom than most of us ever learn. It takes determination, courage, and yes, even faith and hope to be honest with ourselves about who we are, about where we are, about what we are doing, where we are heading … it takes even more of those qualities to dare to ask questions and patiently listen for the answers when they come.

Do we ever fully arrive? I certainly hope not! Life is characterized by paradox – every answer morphs into another question, every attainment becomes the beginning of another journey, every truth becomes one more stone in the foundation we must continue to build. Sometimes the Fool knows nothing more than that step over the edge into the next unknown.

One last reiteration: I am personally and wholly responsible for me, for my choices, my behavior, and the consequences and results of these things in my life. Yes, there are external factors and outside forces, some of which I simply do not exert any control over, but by and large, who I am and where I am in life is up to me. Life is what I make it! I can moan and complain and gripe and scream and try to be a martyr in the eyes of others and the world, or I can accept that who I am right now, where I am right now, has been entirely because of me and the choices I have made. Likewise, who I will be, where I will be in the next moment is also entirely up to me. I choose. Period. I can make excuses for not choosing differently or to justify the choices I have made up until now, but attempting to blame others, environment, circumstances, outside influences, society as a whole, religion, churches, even God, no matter who or what I try to shift the blame onto the truth is it is all just me.

If I don’t like who I see in the mirror – I either change that person (me) or I don’t, usually wallowing back into that transference issue and blame. If I am dissatisfied with any component of my life, same choices: change them, or not. Is it easy? Hell no!! But that is the essence, boiled down to the bone. Life and all its responsibilities complicates the picture and seems to limit our choices, but deep down, I am convinced that this is just another guise of rationalizing and making excuses. We are experts at this. But in the end, all choices and all change are possible if we face the truth and truly desire things to be different.

By the way, not every change has to be drastic and dramatic or severe. I also fully believe it is possible to change things within any situation without having to necessarily remove oneself from the situation. In other words, running away or fleeing or leaving or changing the stage is not always necessary to embrace real change. However, having said that, I also fully believe that changing yourself or your reality in even the smallest manner will ultimately mean someone else faces the same choices – accept the changes in you or choose differently too. That’s just the nature of the beast. Change is a constant, within and without. It is up to us to choose and control our reactions to it, both on a personal level, as well as an interpersonal one.

ok somebody duct tape my fingers together so I can’t write these overly long, drawn-out, philosophical mumbo-jumbo-ings (English is a living language, I just made that word up) that I am not even sure I understand. Maybe I should just write limericks or haiku or something? Maybe I can boil it ALL down to this: know yourself and be yourself, no matter what!

23 March, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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