Friday, October 14, 2011

Out of the Padded Room: From Intention to Action

“Life can become rigid. It can also become pliable.”
If we consider for only a minute at the end of our day what we wish to accomplish when next we wake, we can begin to open our life in an entirely new set of directions. This “new set” has always been possible and despite what we do or don’t do, it is always within reach. We embark on this “new set” on our own terms.

This new ownership and direction is an eye-opener for many as we may have been filling our day with numerous actions and activities with no intention or direction, maybe even nourishment without any conceivable benefit.

What is the intention behind all of our actions today? What is it that we’re really after?

Are we checking someone else’s boxes for our life, or do we directly determine what boxes we wish to set out to check this day?

These are all critical questions that mostly are left to linger in the backs of our minds. Rarely do we even listen to these concerns. Even rarer do we bother to search our actions for any relevance in our daily living. We’ve locked away our living potential in a padded room.

Some of our activities are about nourishing ourselves or others, but if we do not set out the energy of intention that fuels all those activities, we’re placing all of that nourishment in a padded room. It’s as if we’ve been watering a plant in a room with no light; it’s not going to grow much, if at all. Also, we are unable to tell when we’ve added too much water. We may just be drowning what we wish to grow.

One can do much when locked away in a life of comfort and security without ever leaving that padded room. Oblivious to the events going on outside of our padded existence is like remaining in a burning building and wondering why it is that we’re suffocating without ever venturing out of supposed comfort to discover the answers.

How do we get out of this situation?

Unlocking that door requires looking for the key. The key is here with us right now, hidden in our padded room. Intention is like a light source, allowing us to find the key we threw into the darkness of futility. Do we turn it on?

We must tread carefully here. Lack of fulfillment of our intentions can be quite the weapon at keeping us down. Perhaps, our intentions are a bit diffuse or a bit too concrete. We must explore these intentions thoroughly.

What about what we want to do is unrealistic or even unhealthy? What about what we can do right here and now is not fulfilling? What are we doing? Why are we doing it?

Challenge your intentions thoroughly, but do not allow the challenge to diminish your capacity. We’re looking for what is possible now, not some outlandish ethereal dream. Perhaps, we will find a path to that Olympian existence in the clouds at the height of the mountain, but we must triumph over today in order to begin that journey to greatness. We need hiking gear and elements of sustenance.

Simple exposure of our intentions is the first step. Then, we set out on the actions and activities to fulfill those intentions. Some people have the best of intentions but rarely examine how best to actualize these in any real way. If we don’t construct a path to reach what we want in our life, we wait for someone else or some “higher power” to deliver them to us, becoming upset at those other people and other powers when nothing changes.

What works and what doesn’t can change from day to day, season to season, place to place. If we expect a walk in the park to provide relief always, we’re ignoring the reality of stormy days, dark and lonely nights and a bitter, cold winter blizzard. We must not become stubborn in our movement forward.

The ritual of coffee brewing can be highly charging for the day. However, some days there simply are no beans to grind. Can we really reason it out that without coffee we cannot function? This is another pitfall: getting stuck by the comfort of the padding of our room.

Becoming open to this present moment is a simple concept, but it is much more difficult to apply adequately and thoroughly. Deciphering if yesterday’s nourishment is today’s numbing agent is extremely difficult, as what wakes us up can also put us to bed. Determining the difference is critical in moving forward. The difference is our mental effort involved in what we’re doing. That effort is our intention behind everything that we do and don’t do.

Step by step, day by day we’ll begin to see what has little relevance to meeting our objectives. As we begin this ongoing dialogue with our day, we’ll find new ways of living. It is a natural outgrowth from connecting intentions with actions. The lines of cause and effect are difficult to decipher, yet imagine if we can find just one of those lines. Once we see how cause and effect interact with our life we can begin to affect both.

Can we remain in the padded room that has become our life? It might not feel like the cushy existence because we yearn not only for more but to do more. The padded room is painful for that reason alone.

We know there’s much to do. The building is on fire. Will we just stand by in our own darkness, suffocating on our ineffectiveness and disconnectedness? Or, are we going to discover our way out of the confines of our padded room living?

Can we not apply a minimum of effort? Can we not take that one minute at the end of the day to imagine what we want to accomplish when next we wake?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Etch-a-Sketch Life

We are composed of similar bits of matter and energy. Each gathering of matter and energy is dependent upon the whole of matter and energy for its existence. In fact, there’s a steady stream of matter and energy into and out of each of us. These streams tether us to the rest of the universe whether we’re aware of this fact or not.

Stop water flowing into our bodies, and we can die.

Yet, our deaths are not the end of what makes up this life. What happens at death is simply the further dispersal of the matter and energy that has been driving this entity called life. At death, this matter and energy begins to scatter back into the broader universal stream. Despite appearing eternally in flux, the whole has not changed.

The universe, just like life, is as an Etch-a-Sketch. We can draw all over the screen. We can make one shape; we can make many shapes. We can cover up old shapes with new shapes; we can also incorporate the old shapes into new ones. At any point in time, we can shake the Etch-a-Sketch and all of it seemingly disappears. Despite this disappearance, all that was ever on the screen remains within the Etch-a-Sketch itself.

Appearances are equally deceiving. Opening our minds to the exploration of this reality called life is a process. An infinite capacity for creation and destruction exists in each of us. Despite all that we can build and all that we can dismantle, in the next breath we can begin anew.

Challenging all of the assumptions of appearance without dismantling our life and our connections is difficult. However, the pursuit can yield tangible results.

At any stage in our journey, we need only shake up our assumptions and begin anew. Regardless of starting fresh or continuing to work with the shapes of today, it is only the appearance that has changed. The capacity for both remains.