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Options and Actions

January is more than half over, and in spite of my best efforts, I’m noticing that I haven’t fulfilled my New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t really mean to make resolutions. Those kinds of goals seem like a recipe for failure, but somehow when the new year rolled around, I had all these things I wanted to do and ways that I wanted to improve my life and my self. So, I set goals, and even clarified my vision for the coming year.

January racing byAnd now it’s getting toward the end of January, and I’ve been noticing some patterns. For example, when I get stressed out, I want to get everything organized and cleared out. I think that’s because I feel like I gain a sense of control, and when I’m stressed, I want to know that I can handle it.

I’ve also noticed that I like to keep my options open. Not such a bad thing, except when it keeps me from doing what I want to do. The problem is that in order to go somewhere or do something, you have to decide yes to this and no to that. Every time we make a decision to do something, we implicitly decide not to do something else. How’s that for narrowing your options?

Where is all this leading? I’m beginning to realize that not deciding, not finishing, and keeping my options open are sneaky ways of not doing what I’m here to do on this planet. I suppose there’s some underlying fear of not doing it right, not getting what I want, not pleasing other people or even myself. But what I also notice is that I’m surely not going to get it right, get what I want, or please anybody if I spend all my time opening up the options instead of choosing a place to start. I’ve also noticed that once I get started, the path gets clear and I can leave those unnecessary options in the dust.

Someone dear to me is dying, and she says she’s not ready to die. For a long time, I’ve thought that life is short, and I want to enjoy it to the fullest. Now I’m wondering if my friend and teacher, Paul Rubin, might be right when he says, “Life is long, and if it’s not, it doesn’t matter.”

What would be different about our options and our actions if we believed that “Life is long, and if it’s not, it doesn’t matter”?


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