Sunday, November 12, 2006


Last spring I read a book called On Becoming an Artist, by Ellen Langer. Langer did write about her painting journey--the book was primarily about making mindfull choices. Langer is a psychologist teaching at Harvard. I found the book immensely helpful and practical regarding the confusing arena of making choices. She says "there are those who don't worry about making the right decision because they realize there are no single right decisions to be made." She talks about how fearful we are about making mistakes but that in reality "all decisions are made in ignorance" in that we can't foresee the future or know what any one decision will set in motion. The problem she says is not in not knowing but in thinking we should know. She advises us that "instead of worrying about whether we have made the right choice, we make the choice (we have made) right. We make it work."

Such an attitude relieves so much pressure from choicemaking. Oh, you mean I can't figure out the future right now, so I will just mindfully make my choice with the information I have at hand and as time passes I will adjust for the parts that don't work.

I guess I lived for years under the misconception that I was the only person who was uncertain, who didn't know what the future would be. Everyone else seemed to be certain about what they needed to do and how to do it. They seemed to know what the future would hold and they paved the path toward it with great striding steps. Whereas I fumbled and meandered as only a "type B" person can do. Like Demeter I searched for Persephone's whereabouts by wandering around calling into the air.

Nothing wrong with this except that I THOUGHT something was wrong. I didn't understand why I was uncertain and unable to plan. Now reading and studying Langer and other Eastern modes of thought writers, I am reminded that to take care of the present moment, my needs in this moment, is the work I must focus on. All choices are open to revision just like a novel or poem. Life is a process not a preconceived plan carried out by a programed robot. If I could remember such wisdom I would be much calmer. Good thing to have folks like Langer around to remind me. As they said in Shambala training: take it easy, no big deal, don't sweat the small stuff. Namaste.

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