Choices – Possibilities or Regrets

Many odd and questionable adventures resulted from my vow to not be “that” old lady rocking on her porch regretting missed opportunities.

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/ Or: A Fragment of Life

Still, there’s an old adage that claims people regret what they didn’t do more than what they did do.  So I did – and continue to do … thankfully not in a rocking chair – but curious about how the cards are playing out with the hand I was dealt.  I find myself mostly grateful, sometimes cranky – occasionally aware that grace intervened.

We choose – or choose to ignore stuff every day.  Sometimes small seemingly inconsequential choices have deep repercussions.  Turn left, turn right.  Speak up, stay quiet.  Choose.

Tuesday I adopted a new puppy – my first little boy.  Two months ago it was just a spontaneous; okay – impulsive email about cute schnauzer pups.  Now I’m telling my friend Margaret that being home all day is helping me teach him the best places to potty – outside!  She responds: “a stay-at-home mom” – Hilarious; me, who never had or raised a kid.  Was that all choice?  Nah, just circumstance associated with lots of choices.  Now my maternal instincts, what there are of them, are channeled to furry critters.

The rear view mirror of life gives me perspective on my deck of cards.  Whichever way I go – or don’t go – the other choice disappears.  Yearning for what isn’t may not be surprising – might even be normal, but doesn’t seem productive.  Seeing the good my choices create feels better.  This week – it’s Riley.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

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Ready

Wyoming us“To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment.” 

 – Erich Fromm; The Art of Loving

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The Good Life

July'13 funny 14The Good Life “..enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, meaningful.  This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted.  It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities.  It involves the courage to be.  It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.  Yet the deeply exciting thing about human beings is that when the individual s inwardly free, he chooses as the good life this process of becoming.”  –– Carl R. Rogers

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Monkey Mind

Monkey Atlanta Zoo
Atlanta Zoo

For the times I get hijacked by the committee in my head . . . a nice reminder from Deepak Chopra’s book, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof:

“There was a monkey who was shut inside a small room in a castle tower. Nothing was happening in the room, but the monkey wasn’t content to sit there.

“The monkey could only divert himself by going to the window and looking out at the world. This distracted him for a while, but then he started to think about his situation. How did he get in this tower? Who captured him and put him there? The monkey’s mood began to darken. There was nothing to do, no one to talk to. These thoughts made him more and more depressed. The room seemed to close in; the monkey started to sweat anxiously. No, he suddenly realized, I’m not in a room, I’m in hell. Quickly his depression grew into anguish and anguish into torment. The monkey saw demons all around inflicting every imaginable pain.

“This is it, the monkey thought. I am in eternal hell. And so the torment continued, getting worse and worse. The monkey saw no way out. But gradually it actually got used to torment, and then a bit bored. How much time had elapsed? Years, ages-the monkey couldn’t remember. But in his mind he saw images of the nice room he used to live in. It wasn’t such a bad room, not really. In fact, it was rather pleasant to be by oneself looking out the window at all the fascinating things going on outside.

“Bit by bit the demons stopped torturing the monkey and withdraw. He began to feel better, and soon the day came when he found himself back in the room as before, only now he was feeling optimistic. Life was free of pain, which is enjoyable in itself. The monkey grew more cheerful, and then . . .”

“. . . The monkey is going to heaven.”

“He starts to feel better and better, until he imagines himself in Paradise, and instead of being punished by demons he is being soothed by angels. Ah, the monkey thinks, I am in eternal bliss.”

“Until he gets bored again. . .”

“The monkey is the mind, sitting alone in the tower of the head. As the mind expands with pleasure and contracts with pain, it creates every possible world, constantly falling for its own creations. The monkey will believe in heaven for a while, but then boredom will set in, and being the seed of discontent, boredom will pull him out of heaven and back down to hell.”

“. . . So we’re all trapped. That’s horrible. . .”

“Only if you agree to be trapped.  I didn’t say the tower was locked” . . . “There is an infinite domain outside the castle walls. Take your mind outside the walls. There is freedom outside, and having achieved it, you will never be forced to go to heaven or hell again.”

Italy2 128
Venice, Italy

Good to know the door isn’t locked!  Trick may be getting my tush over the threshold.

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