Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Holding On to Change

image from: http://sweetnostalgia.wordpress.com/
I am not known for holding on to things because I find them to be special or important. Nope, not me. I'm all about throwing stuff away. Hell, I've been known to accidentally throw my income tax return in the trash. My nearly 14 years as a parent have netted me only 2 (small)  bins of material parenthood flotsam, things like child created art projects and cards, along with some clothing items that I will eventually have made into a patchwork blanket of memories.  Letting go, be it physical, emotional or mental is definitely my way.  Unless, of course, we're talking about control.  That, I try to hold firmly on to most days. 

I've struggled for the past few months with some pretty major life choices.  For you kids out there know this: Life is continually about making decisions.  In recent years, I've often mistakenly thought that once a person had obtained their education and career, selected a mate and created a family unit, and purchased a home, all of life's major decisions are complete.  The future, now that I had a spare minute to contemplate it, seemed to me to be a matter of coasting without gaining speed.  The perceived lack of acceleration the result of the flatness of the terrain, stretching out towards tomorrows which  appeared to change very little from today. I was wrong - everything changes.

Many years ago I was frequently visited by a recurring dream.  The details have become hazy as time has passed but it basically involved my returning to a childhood home, a place that was as close to idyllic as I have ever known.  Unfortunately, the beautiful rural area I had known as a child had been developed - the small lake we used to swim the length of was now surrounded by cookie cutter homes.  The peninsula where we camped and picked blueberries had been built up beyond recognition and was no longer accessible for exploring or picnics.  Each time I had this dream, I would wake up in tears - not a particularly great way to start the day, know what I mean?  One morning, as I considered what the dream meant and why it occurred, I realized that there was a distinct relationship between change(s) in my life and the nightmare's presence.  As soon as the connection was made, the dream ceased.  Message received: change is scary

I've been waiting for an epiphany - a sign - a nudge in a particular direction for many weeks, to no avail.  There isn't going to be a moment of clarity or an obvious beacon illuminating the path I should follow which, honestly, sucks.  It looks like I'm going to have to take a leap of faith - something which clearly conflicts with my need to remain in control .  Letting go of the reins of control while holding on to something which has been life changing will be a challenge for me.  And so it continues...


  1. These posts always give me hope about my own life. You're an inspiration:)

  2. Once again, I find myself reading your words and actually seeing myself within them. I, also, throw everything away. If it isn't glued down or something that I find I will need within a short period of time (and by short period, I mean in the next few days) it is thrown away. I am very uneasy around "pack rats" and I need my life simple and uncluttered. Funny, how my husband is the exact opposite. I gave him his own office so I can look in a different direction. We built an attic in the garage and I rarely go up there so as to avoid looking at the stacks of boxes he has collected over the years. Letting things go is definitely my style and my way of survival. I do keep a few mementos of the kids growing years, telling myself that their memory boxes are really more for them to rummage through as adults than they are for me, now. Probably because I was not given any childhood mementos of myself, for myself, therefore, I don't even know what time I was born. Lastly, as you know me so well, I too, give up everything but control. I think that throwing things away, keeping life uncluttered go hand in hand with control. We must feel more "in control" without the clutter in life, whether it be physical or emotional clutter.

    Here comes the biggy. Control. Sounds to me like you are thinking that control in your life means organization, preparation, planning, etc. Then, you talk about not finding the beacon of light and having to take a leap of faith. Did you ever stop to consider that taking a leap of faith is "control"? I never did until I read the last paragraph of your blog. Way too many times, I have already had to take that leap of faith, thinking it was just that, faith and letting go of my control addiction. However, for the first time in my life, when I read your last paragraph, the words seemed to jump out at me and smack me in the face. Isn't deciding to take that leap of faith actually called control? You have now convinced me that they do go together, hand in hand. Since we are very comfortable with control (which is by no means a bad thing that we should be looked down upon for liking), I am feeling very strongly that you (and I when the time arises again) should not call this time in your life a leaf of faith. I think you should call it a decision that you have made to regain control of your life once again and that you should continue to control the path for yourself with which you are choosing. Good luck on your new journey of taking control of your life. You are strong, you are powerful and you can handle any challenge put forth. Challenge makes people like us even stronger. A leap of faith leaves people like us depending on others or letting others step in the way of outcomes. Take control of the challenge, embrace the challenge to make you an even stronger person and learn from the challenge. Do not be afraid of it and do not consider it a leap of faith, the only faith you need is the faith that is within side of YOU!

  3. You write, "Life is continually about making decisions."

    In truth, Life is the record of one's living. That's all it is.

    Living means acting. Acting arises only from belief -- beliefs that all future moments shall bring oneself to better being and thus only through acting can one gain those future states.

    Most exist. Most do not involve themselves in living. Existing is not living. Those existing are nothing more than breathing, eating and excreting machines.

    Making decisions implies forcing others to act as it means to present one way only for another to take (decide to accept it and follow) or not. Making decisions is what both the tyrant and the meddler does to others who are far weaker.

    Deciding implies action and it means killing off all other courses and ways. Deciding fixes someone on a path of cause to effect. Deciding is what one who is strong does. Someone who decides ignores the pleadings of others.

    Many confuse decision with choice. Choice implies sampling, chewing, tasting, nibbling. Choices can be spit out and new choices can get sampled. Choosing one choice does not destroy other choices, which await to be experienced or not.

    Decision is the state that arises because in the instant of deciding, all alternatives get killed off.

    Only when one moves toward self-actualization and embraces living by individualism can one gain the mind strength to ignore false decisions presented by tyrants and meddlers and to become one who decides.

  4. To Anonymous,
    As much as I respect your through explanation and opinion of the meanings of life, decision and choice, I feel uncomfortable with the finality.

    I agree that life is the record of one's living and that life means acting. However, I think that it is an extremely bold, judgmental statement to say that "Most exist. Most do not involve themselves in living." Have you some statistical findings to back such a strong statement by using the word "most?"

    I looked up the definition of decision and no where does it define that a decision "implies forcing others to act as it means to present one way only for another to take or not." Deciding would imply action, but action by coming to a conclusion. No where does it state that a decision, by definition, means "killing off all other courses and ways." Along with making a decision in life, people have the "choice" to constantly change that decision at any time they deem fit. So, in actuality, decision and choice work very well hand in hand, without hurting others. If one chooses to make a decision involving others, they may do so kindly and not as a tyrant would act. Another option could be to make a decision, either dependent or independent to change that decision by CHOICE to either help ones self or to correct a wrong decision. Decision is no way implied to be permanent. Choice, as you stated can be spit out and sampled again, however, some choices are permanent as well. Once you are done sampling, at some point you must make a choice that is in necessity of permanency.

    This blog, "Holding On to Change" is written from the heart and mind of ONE persons feelings and not once implying ignoring the pleading of others or by any means, hurting someone who is weaker.

    In order to achieve the individualism you mention, people must experience both decision and choice independently,in a state where they act alone and not involving others. Your writing refers to decisions and choices people make as affecting others and then you turn your focus on individualism. I can not follow the flow of your blog. We are talking openly here about human feelings. We are not looking to rip apart and shred every word until the words are a pile of saw dust. We are talking about our minds and our hearts, not about tyrants and meddlers. We are talking about decisions that can affect just one person. With that being said, decisions CAN be made by an individual which affects ONLY that individual, thus making that individual embrace living without involving tyrants and meddlers.

    In conclusion, life, decision and choice all have meaning that can be argued to a point. I do not think it is a fair blog to state that all three have ONE meaning and that they are not open to opinion. I also feel that along with opinion on these issues, life, decision and choice are all products which can be acted on as an individual or as a caring, sensitive person taking others into account without acting as a tyrant or meddler. I am sure that there are, unfortunately, people in the world that do make decisions as tyrants and meddlers and hurt others, but I can attest to the fact that the above blogs were not at all intended to be used in that manner.

  5. You don't look in the right dictionaries, Beth.

    Men can attest the word decision into English from the mid 15th century, in turn from the 14th century Middle French d├ęcision, in turn from the Latin decisionem "a settlement, agreement," taken from decis-, the prepositional phrase stem of decidere (see to decide).

    The word decide comes into English in the late 14th century, "to settle a dispute," taken from the Old French decider, in turn from Latin decidere "to decide, determine," literally "to cut off," where de- is "off" and caedere "to cut".

    My original comment asserts that if someone decides based upon what another presents to him or her, then it's only the tyrant or meddler who is alive, dictating what path that someone must walk. However, if someone ignores the tyrant and ignores the meddler and walks his or her own path, that someone can move toward self-actualization.