A SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND LIFE-CHANGING CHOICE
“The difficulty in life is the choice.” ~ George Moore
Several years ago one of my best friends had a small piece of granite on his desk with some words that impressed me so much I made mention of the object several times. He knew what it meant to me and so he gave it to me as a gift during one of my visits. It is a gift that I have cherished.
The odd thing about this special gift that I have been looking at on my own roll-top desk for years is that I really didn’t get it. I thought I did, but I didn’t. I always thought there should be an “s” on the last word in the sentence—choices instead of choice. As it turns out that seemingly small difference is huge. Being under the influence of ADHD for over six decades, my life has been multiples not singulars. At least until now. I think I finally see the choice.
I understand that the single life-changing choice we all have every moment of our lives has many names and versions and comes in a variety forms; but it all comes down to “The difficulty in life is the choice.” The choice is how you approach life right now in the here and now, without the contamination of the past or future. Or more specifically, how you see and react to your own notion of “time.”
For some time now, I have been experiencing the burden of total overload with too many things to know, read and do and not nearly enough time to do any of those things as well and completely as I would like. The trouble is that I have always thought in multiples—choices, instead of one choice. The one choice is how I approach now—as a friend or an enemy, obstacle or opportunity. This is the grand daddy of all perspectives because it is the one which leads into all the rest, past, present or future. Talk about a viewpoint determining what you see, time alone can change the whole picture.
I have had my share of bumps, bruises and bleeding from all the choices I felt compelled to make during my journey in life. But ironically I have failed to make the only one needed—to not view time and the now moment as something that is to be conquered and controlled, but rather understood and joined. No wonder there seems to be so much to do and not enough time to do it and the overload continues to pile up.
The original intent of words was to invent a convenient way to accurately represent real things we were experiencing in life that we wanted to remember, learn more about, keep alive and share with others. But somewhere during the evolution of language, these words exceeded their original intent and started taking on a life of their own. They actually created new realities instead of just representing the ones they were created to represent. So we now have the classic case of the tail wagging the dog and wonder what is wrong with this picture?
Unfortunately we seem to have to use the very thing that created the problem—words—to solve the problem or so we think? Maybe that was what Einstein meant when he said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same type of thinking that created it.” It is becoming common knowledge that what we need to do is to step up to a creative, higher consciousness.
In the meantime, probably a good start is to take back control of our words, especially with this thing we call time. If I have my history right, it was the early monks who invented time, first by a sun dial and then by a sand hour glass, to order some regularity in their praying. Today, clocks, watches, cell phones, PDA, s, PC’s and calendars control our lives. Obviously we have inadvertently allowed this time thing to exceed its original purpose—to give us a sense of distance between activities so we could be more consistent in doing them. Of course we have allowed government to do that on an equally large scale.
Somehow we have become addicted to the mechanical, sequential nature of time as a reality all by itself, rather than remembering that it is a mere word trying to capture the essence of a non-verbal, experiential reality. But we all know there is also a psychological nature of time in which time flies when we are having fun and drags when we are waiting for clothes to dry in a dryer.
So the choice in life becomes do we want to continue being overloaded with the realities that words such as time have created for us, or do we want to make one single choice to simply things and possibly take a sling-shot ride from surviving to thriving. The simple choice is to stay safe within conventional reality and continue the illusion of controlling things, or to close your eyes, hold your breath and jump into the now moment with all fours. Of course this degree of letting go takes great trust that you are not jumping into a swimming pool without any water in it. That could hurt!
What keeps us from being more successful in dealing with the overload we are all burdened with these days? Lots of writers call it “ego.” But here again, the word itself has created a connotative reality that is bothersome. The bothersome part is that self-centeredness is ‘bad” while selflessness is “good.” Like all other dualistic polarities and divergent dichotomies, that will always be debatable, even this judgment itself. The moral flavor we put on all multiple choices creates a separate reality that makes the now moment an enemy and obstacle rather than a friend and opportunity.
Maybe we make this choice more difficult than it needs to be? Maybe mostly in our thinking and it is easier said than done? One thing is for sure though, when we over-identify with our selves, our thoughts, and our words (being certain these things are real) we don’t even see the choice. We are happy enjoying our successes in being able to accumulate our ideas and prizes over time and not inclined to see a need for any change.
But sooner or later, Dr. Phil’s piercing question becomes poignant—“How is this working for you?” It really can’t work very well today with the information overload we are unsuccessfully trying to deal with. And when one single, sensible choice becomes available that can have appositive impact—giving up the useless realities that our words (such as time) have created and letting go to the more useful realities they are supposed to represent—then it may be the time to face that what we are currently doing isn’t working very well. So what? We are bound to make mistakes but who says we are bound to those mistakes we make?
William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Reality Repair Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), Passwords to The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers). This article is part of his new book Reality Repair Rx coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer.pssp.net