A thought for November

A thought for November

Given a wide enough window we would see that everything is ephemeral. The universe and even time itself will both one day cease to exist.

The most powerful realization I’ve ever had is that the only thing that is forever is love. Love once given can never be taken back. Sure, you can mess things up or grow to hate someone that you once loved, but those memories, those feelings that love granted to you, they will always be there.

It’s a powerful thing. Though we are not gods, and can not create the universe, all of us have the capacity to love and change others forever from their perspective.

One of our simplest and most basic actions can best the universe and time.

Just a box

Just a box

Bring home a box and a cat will instantly be enamored with it. Why? It’s just a box. It’s not a special toy, it doesn’t move around, there are no flashing lights inside of it. There is no glitter, no other cats to play with inside, and no treats.

The shape of the box doesn’t seem to matter, and it doesn’t even seem to matter much how well he fits inside of it. What is it about a new box that is so interesting? Why does a new empty box seem to be my cat’s favorite toy above all else?

To analyze his reaction, it helped me to think of the new box as a metaphor for something new coming into my life. Not just anything of course, but someone, or some thing that changed me for the better.

Viewed from this perspective I again ask why a box, and what did it take to make my cat as well as myself really happy? I’ve come up with a few possibilities, from the perspective of a cat of course.. probably..

A new place to explore

The box presents a new and completely fresh place to explore. The cat has no idea what is contained in the box and has to go inside for a look to see. The possibilities are boundless. There could literally be anything at all in the box. Once you get into the box there is no telling how large it actually is on the inside! Maybe you could spend the rest of your life looking around.

A new adventure

I was pretty bored with my old box, but this one will be different. I can bring some of my toys in here and find ways to play that I never thought were possible. Maybe I can bring my kitty friends with me and we can find new and exciting things to do. Can you imagine all the new things that we can try now?

The unknown

I have no idea what might happen in this box. It is scary, but it is also exciting. There would be little point in life if we always knew exactly how each day was going to go. Even though I am uneasy at first, I really like this feeling.

A place to feel safe

Inside this box no one can hurt me. If I want to be hidden I can stay hidden. If I want to be seen, I can invite my most trusted friends in to share this experience with me. I am safe here. No one can attack me because I can see anything coming at me from here. This box shelters me and keeps me warm. It wraps around me when I am feeling afraid and gives me comfort. In just being there, it promises I will never have to be exposed out in the open and alone.

A place that feels like home

I think I’ll snuggle up inside this box and take a nap. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I’ve left little bits of myself here. I see some of my fur, a couple of my favorite toys. See over there? I made a little mark with my claws once when I was in here chasing a fly. I recognize this feeling and this place. It is so familiar to me.

I’ve been so happy here that it almost feels like home.

But it’s just a box.

Learning to float

Every day I learn more and more about myself. I analyze the events of my life and try to make sense of it. I try to see the patterns in the chaos. I choose the directions I want to go in. I do my best to blaze a trail that will lead to success, happiness, and wellbeing for those that are directly and indirectly linked to my work.

We all have responsibilities and burdens to bear in our lives. We carry on, we do the best that we can to resolve issues and problems that arise. We try to keep people around us happy, trying hard to keep our dreams moving forward. Where things get difficult to deal with is when we are bombarded every waking hour with the consequences of these responsibilities. Where every phone call, every email, and every discussion is laden with more choices and more paths into the unknown.

When you’re trying to blaze a trail, there will be many times in your life where you won’t hear much other than the negatives about what you’re doing, or not doing good enough, fast enough, or thorough enough. When things are working out well for those around you, they will tend to just be content and continue forward with their own plans utilizing your work to help them along. So mostly, when you hear about something, you’re going to hear what others perceive you are not doing right. You’re going to hear this from your family, from your friends, and in the business case, you’re going to hear this from your customers. The wider the trail you choose to cut in your life, the greater the opportunity for disappointment. You’re already pushing as hard as you can, sometimes too hard, and it’s not going to feel good enough.

This can be taxing. It saps your life force in ways that are difficult to describe. We’ve all felt it before. It is the origin of not wanting to get out of bed. It is the origin of feeling tired after you’ve gotten enough sleep. It is the origin of avoiding people you love. We deal with this in different ways, some better than others. Some of us deal with it by not dealing with it and just pressing on, ignoring the feeling and moving forward until suddenly we just cant anymore. Burn out.

But burning out is not an answer. It will do more harm than good. You pushed on until you couldn’t anymore and now it will take you twice as long to recover. You will do twice as much damage to your personal relationships and your own wellbeing. You need to learn a better way to deal with this before it gets out of hand.

I spoke to a friend of mine about this recently, and she eloquently termed properly dealing with these constant bombardments as “learning to float”. The bombardments are like quick sand. They will never stop. They do not always contain problems in them that can be solved, maybe none can be solved immediately, and not always problems that you can solve alone. The more you fight against it, the further you sink until they feel like they’re burying you. The only thing you can do is give yourself some time to float. Disconnect for a while. Break away from the bombardment long enough to reconnect with life and to realize you are a very small piece in a large and ever changing puzzle.

This is a lesson I am trying hard to learn, to take these small chunks of time that I need between the dawn and the dusk and brush off the day that I may analyze everything from a clear perspective, unburdened by baggage. I will learn to do this in the same way I learned all about letting go of fear, but hopefully not in such a drastic way…  That’s another story for another time.

Peace and happiness to you all. Let’s learn to float down the river together.