On Choice

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“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” -Yogi Berra

Last week, I asked what people thought of Purpose; the idea that we each have a single Purpose. I received truly lovely feedback, much of which was at odds with what I think is the current overwhelming view of Life Purpose, ie:

Finding Your Purpose = Winning Life

I am obviously tinged with a certain ire, if you cannot tell from the above statement, for I believe that this focus on Purpose has been incredibly detrimental for many people, including myself. Rather than helping, I have come to wonder if this search for Purpose hurts people’s psyches more times than not. And why? Because, to put it bluntly, many of us are unable to discover that Passion, that Idea, that Thing that will bring our lives meaning and so we feel that we are somehow failing.

This idea is so huge; so encompassing; so IMPORTANT, I have fallen under the weight of it; as have others I have spoken with, all with the same weary, hallowed-eye look.

Then I realized something, something key:

Purpose is based entirely on Faith.

Faith that there is a higher being; that there is a plan; and that Something is influencing our lives and ourselves.

What do I mean? Well, Purpose must come from somewhere.

God and Purpose

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

“And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me…” (Quran, 51:56-58).

Oprah and Purpose

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become truly alive.”

** HAHAHA! **

Did I just put Oprah and God on the same level?

Only slightly.

I am pointing out that one most have Faith in God to believe His words on Purpose (whether it is a Lord’s Purpose, or the Sole Purpose of worshiping Him).

Just the same, one most also have Faith in the intelligence and wisdom of Oprah to believe what she says as well.

Faith.

Now, I came to the conclusion some time ago that faith is a choice. For example, we can choose to believe that God exists, or we can choose to believe that he does not exist. (Side note, Oprah does exist, in case you were wondering).

Personally, I decided to not make a decision on the matter. After studying for years, I came to the conclusion that there is no undeniable indication there is a God; just as much as there is no undeniable indication that there is Not a God.

It is up to Humans to decide on what we believe. Sure, society and family have key roles in belief a lot of the time… we believe in what those around us believe more times than not… but, it is still us choosing one thing or something else.

Choice.

Faith.

We get to decide.

And I think that is very much the same way with Purpose. I have spent hours in deep and dark depressions because I was trying to find my Purpose. I am not a passionate person (Passion, apparently, being the road map to Purpose); so I do not have anything that I am passionate about. I enjoy things. I like to read… some of the times. I like to watch movies… some of the times. I find archetypes and symbolism interesting… but I would not label those interests as passion.

(Even now, I am tempted to wonder if my interest in archetypes and symbolism is something Purposeful… even after hours and hours and hours of trying to retrain my brain from thinking in this way)

In the end, albeit not as thoroughly as I wish, I have come to the conclusion that Purpose is as much based on faith and choice, as believing in anything. And as such, it is a choice to believe that Purpose is a hyped up term that is propagated to help the human masses feel like there is something more to their lives and the world that they live in.

Or.

It is a choice to believe that there is a Purpose for everyone.

I tend to believe the former; which is bleak. But, it is like a story I once heard about Christian missionaries traveling to the far reaches of  Denmark. The missionaries met with these pagan worshipers as they huddled around roaring fires inside their halls, darkness howling with deep ice and frigid cold outside windows shuttered to protect against nature; and the missionaries told these Norsemen and women that the frozen wasteland out beyond their warm halls was like their pagan religion.

It was cold. Unknown. Blackness.

But Jesus Christ brought light.

The missionaries told them if they believe in the light and the warmth of Jesus Christ, that no matter the hardships of their lives, they would be met with peace and rest in the afterlife.

From what I understand, many Norse decided to believe in Christ.

They chose to believe in something that brought them comfort; and there is absolutely, positively nothing at all wrong with this choice.

As today, in the face of terrorism, and globalism, and most importantly ease of life in the first world especially, there exists a need to feel as if there is a reason for living. Any reason. And that is NOT a terrible thing.

Sometimes people really do seem to find that Purpose. I have seen it; that all encompassing joy in what they are doing in their lives.

Kudos to them (said only with a tiny itty bit of sarcasm).

But then there are the Others… cough cough… me. I start to think about Purpose and I spiral into depression because I am WASTING TIME!

I AM NOT LIVING MY POTENTIAL!

I am FAILING!

So I choose not to go down that path.

Choice.

In this day and age it is sometimes hard to remember that we have choices. When working the jobs we work, we think we HAVE to be there because we have to pay bills, and we have to support our families. Sometimes it doesn’t feel as if we have a choice when dealing with difficult family relationships, or hard friendships, or illness, or pain.

Trapped and shackled.

I am achingly familiar with these two feelings.

But, despite the risk of sounding trite and new-agey… there is always a choice in how we approach anything and all things.

For instance, lately, the fact that the U.S. President Elect is who it is, feels like a choice that has been taken away from me.  But honestly, I can choose to fight him and his administration by getting involved. Or , I can decide to try to give him a chance, or attempt to change how I view him (yeah, no).

Or I can decide to do something else.

There are always choices. And this, more than finding a purpose or believing in a God, gives me hope. I get to decide how I want to live my life. Sometimes it feels like there is something working against me, but that again is only a belief, a thought, and I can work to change that thought into something more productive, or more…hopeful.

My PERSONAL conclusion, then, is that Purpose does not exist, not for me at least, and that I will live in the moment, not worrying about if I am living Right or if I am walking the Right Path; rather, only focusing on whether or not I am living well, and by those rules that I have placed upon myself… to be kind, giving, and to never cease asking questions in attempt to understand.

And that is my choice.

Be well, lovely readers, in this Holiday season and beyond… and remember, there is ALWAYS a choice.

Reading Lives

Dawn
Dawn

An interesting thing has happened the last several weeks. It does not have to do with what I am posting, the exploration I’ve done in order to look into the shadows and shine a light; rather, it is the reading that I am doing as I peruse the countless blogs associated with wordpress.

I often despair at the interactions around me. The grumpiness. The hurry. The sheer frustration that peels off of people in chips bigger than my thumbnail.

But.

Here.

There is something going on in these blogs that is amazing. I sound cheesy perhaps, but it is truth. People are searching out truth.

It is amazing.

I have read blogs about women trying to find their sexuality in a world that works against that very sexuality. I have read about men doing the exact same thing with aching detail that shows, without a single limiting factor, that they too are moving against some limiting sexual construct.

There are blogs about people coming back from depression, anxiety, self-harm through all sorts of different avenues, but always with this blanketed feeling of hope.

There are those whose journey is physical. A wandering of wonder as they move from continent to continent, always with this idea of looking, examining, feeling the world in their bones and under the soles of their feet.

So much searching.

So many questions and attempted answers.

But so much hope as well.

It is this that I have come away from in my couple of weeks of being and seeing this community. I have issues. Serious and dark ones. Isolating factors that have created personality quirks that no one would want; however, I have found that there is a solidarity that exists. It does exist. These people might live in India, London, Scotland, Canada, or Brazil, but the commonality exists.

The world is a huge place.

Humans scattered all about it.

But we are so much the same. All of us.

I suppose I should have known that already, and I have, at some point… this thought is not unfamiliar.

It is awfully nice to be reminded though.

So, my dear, lovely readers out there who write your souls and who share your worlds, thank you!

It is an amazing thing you do.

Parenting and the Break of a New Era

Parenting in my house
Parenting in my house

Parenting is hard. In my opinion parenting is one of the best and worst things that anyone can go through. You have these amazing highs and then you have these amazing lows, and they can happen within mere seconds of each other.

There is this idea before becoming a parent that you will be able to handle the stress, and the complications, and no matter what happens you will always love your child. And all of this is pretty accurate. What you don’t realize is that there will be this terrible, horrible guilt that will constantly plague you. Why?

Because you will forever and always feel that you are doing everything wrong.

Because of the worry that something you are doing will forever impact your child’s life in a profoundly negative way.

Because of the need, the almost overwhelming instinct, to take away their pain, both the pain they experience now and the pain of the future; like the pain of bullies, of broken hearts, of not being good enough in someone’s eyes. Those pains that have never even happened yet.

My husband and I were married for six years before we decided to try for a child. We weren’t even sure we wanted to have a child; not sure if bringing a human being into this messed up world was a good decision. There was and is so much terribleness in the world, and we wondered if it would be fair to bring someone, knowingly, into the screwed up situation.

I remember at the time, I was talking with one of my co-workers who had two children of his own. His children were(are) adults and they were(are) fairly successful and normal human beings. He told me, as I was wondering in the wandering way I do, that my husband and I should have a child because we would raise a conscientious, kind child in a world of hate and terribleness. He explained that the world needs children who are raised by smart, loving adults because those children, in turn, would become smart and loving adults.

I liked the argument at the time and thought there was something to his point of view.

I question it now.

I look at my son and worry. Constantly. Hopefully only a fraction of my worry is apparent to him, because if any more is, oh boy is he going to need some therapy.

Seriously, I worry, because as the years have gone by I have realized that sometimes it just doesn’t matter what the parent does. We can be intelligent, loving and kind parents, and we might raise someone who will be addicted to heroine and steals for a living. We might help him through the rough patches in life (as much as we are able) and provide a loving home for him always and forever… he might still hate us and never want to come back to that loving home. There are so many negative outcomes, so many pitfalls facing my son as he gets older, and we, as the loving and kind parents, seem to have such a very small influence.

I am a reasonably smart individual, and I know that stressing and worrying about the future pitfalls he faces is not going to help the situation; so, instead I worry about the current pitfalls. Am I helping him enough with his speech issues (he has problems saying ‘k,’ ‘l,’ and ‘f’ correctly), or should I be doing more? Is there more that I should be doing for his reading? His counting? Am I obsessing so much that I am causing a psychosis in him?

9f507f11da50326da31415b94ef93caeBecause here’s the thing: I KNOW I have a myriad of psychosis, obviously if you have read anything that I’ve written over the last week, but hell no do I want those psychosis to move on to my child. Not everything is going to be rainbows and happiness all the time, obviously, but if I could somehow create a barrier between my psycho self and his fragile being, I would sleep better at night.

Where is the line? Where is the balance?

And of course, where is that point where social standards start influencing me as the parent? Where do my instincts come in? Do I even know what is good and what is bad for him? Does his teacher? Does his peers?

And I suppose that is where it is, because there is no answer but to do the best you can do and hope it doesn’t keep you up too much at night.

One step in front of another.

Pitfalls as they come.

And not lose sight of what is actually good for this little man who sits next to me on the couch, curled up at my side, warm and soft, smelling of shampoo and outside… me reading my book and him watching his show.

Cliche Number Four Billion and Change

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I have become a cliche.

Ha!

This amuses me.

As I type, I sit on my couch. My son is playing Minecraft. He is currently killing a zombie will simultaneously trying to save  his best friend. In an hour I will take him to karate. He is four. He has a red-stripe belt and is very proud that he is the youngest, but highest ranking belt in his class.

Tomorrow, I will take him to four hours of preschool. I will go for a run while he is in school. I will go to the grocery store. I will do the random chores I have to do to keep the house running. It might include picking up a Papa Murphy’s pizza, or it might not. This depends entirely on whether or not the husband is feeling fat. If his stomach is protruding too far past his pants then pizza is out. I am not sure what is for dinner then.

Saturday I will go camping with my son and husband along with another father and his two boys. I will effectively be the mom of the weekend, which means that I must ensure that everyone has food, is somewhat clean, and in general does not die.

On Monday, I will take my son to school for his fours hours. I will come home and do laundry, go to the grocery store, vacuum, and clean the bathroom.

Tuesday there is no school. I will try very hard to keep my son from watching too much television and playing video games all day. I will take him to the store. I will take him to the park. He will end up watching too much television and playing too many hours of video games anyway.

I will take him to karate.

Repeat. Repeat.

I do our families finances. I cook our family food. I do our family laundry. I clean the family home.

I occasionally golf.

I try not to gain weight by running and doing the elliptical.

I cry almost every single day while standing in the shower because I am ashamed at how terrible I feel about the privileged life I lead.

I suppose, my dear reader, you saw that one coming.

The dichotomy between having the privilege that so many women covet, and the terrible, horrible guilt of being miserable in it. Not because it is hard, though it can be a challenge, but rather, because it is not hard.

My brain has atrophied.

I am dying.

And I have no answers.

I have chosen this life because it the best for my son. He does not have to go to a daycare. I am raising him, not someone else. He has someone who can take him to whatever extracurricular activity he wants to be involved in with no worries. I don’t have to juggle work and school schedules, or work and sickness. I am on call 100 percent of the time, and not just for my son. My husband works continuously. He has a one track mind. The only thing he is able to accomplish is work. I allow him the space to work like that by taking care of everything else. The world would cease to turn if he had to do anything more than work.

I have PURPOSEFULLY and with FULL UNDERSTANDING made the decision to have this life.

I am dying.

Not in a real physical sense. I am in good health. We all are, thankfully. I would never consider suicide because of my son. But it doesn’t change the feeling. The soul-sucking, I am becoming less and less and less of who I am. I losing. I am lost.

And I have no solution.

I went to a therapist the other day. She essentially told me to stop complaining about my awesome life. Ha! That’s the thing. I KNOW about my awesome life.

Why can’t my brain get with the program.

What can I do to change? I don’t like being miserable.

Do you?

This is anonymous. I don’t want the vultures to come down on me, reminding me of how much I should be thankful for… my husband reminds me constantly, wanting to know what the f*ck my problem is… if I knew, I would change the problem.

It is identifying the problem. Figuring out the solution.

Welcome to the cliche.