Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gumbo of our Being

What we choose to do and who we choose to be. That's always the question we face. What I choose to photograph, whether it's places, people, events, scenes, whatever, it's always my choice. What I choose to feel. Or maybe not so much choice or just thoughts, feelings and emotions, all in one, a jumble of each into the whole. The gumbo of my being.

Can we choose the gumbo of our being? Or are we driven by an innate sense of being, in part from our instincts and intuition in concert with our thoughts, feelings and emotions? Or are we being someone and doing something amisdt our experience? Some would say it's the old nature versus nuture or our nature versus our experience argument and debate. But is that really what it is?

Or are we just like gumbo soup, something we make from what we have (being) and what we can find (experience) and even then we don't control what happens or how it turns out, except we're the pot, the contents and in the end, the soup in the bowl of our life and being? What and how much of the gumbo are we really in control of beyond our experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions and then our actions within the whole?

Is the gumbo of our being just the result of everything from our life, and is the reflection of our experiences with our senses thrown in for flavor? And what is our gumbo versus what it is to others? Do they see the same gumbo we think we are, or a gumbo seen through their senses? We all see the world through our senses, including everyone we meet and more so we know.

So what is the gumbo of our being to them? Clearly not the same, but is it something which matters beyond knowing? After all, we are already here, the gumbo of our being, as everyone else is the gumbo of their being. So does it matter beyond knowing and enjoying it? Being who we are, our gumbo. And who they are, their gumbo.

All that gumbo, and we're just one bowl from the pot among many pots over time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Perspective About Life

I watched a movie about Dan Millman and his fight to get back into being an international gymnast help his college team win their first national championship. It's an interesting movie less in terms of his experience and fight back, but more for the role Nick Nolte plays as a mental mentor who taught him about life. And that's what was interesting.

We all like short, usually one sentence, saying about life, such as one that's interesting, "There are no ordinary moments." While we can examine and espouse this saying ad naseum without any better insight than when we started because that's the problem as well as the beauty of something so simple. The simple is complex and the complex simple. It's how you see life, your perspective on being and doing.

What also caught my notice was the three "rules" of life, which were more a perspective to keep in mind.

Paradox. It's about the whole complexity of life and the world we live in today. In short as said in the movie, "You surrender the very thing you never had and never will, control." That's the one thing we fight our whole life for only to discover we're fighting a something so dynamic the best we can really do is constantly react to it. We have to simply decide we can only do what we can in the place we're at and at the time we're there. The rest is what happens.

Humor. It's about maintaining a perspective of knowing that being serious only finds you more difficult to understand and accept the paradox of life and the world.

Change. It's the evitable reality of the world today, nothing stays the same. Change is the normal order of the world, and it's how we adapt and adjust to it that matters.

It's hard not to see the simple truth in those rules. It's what Taoism teaches with being open to the reality of the moment to see it in all it's comlexity and simplicity. As they say, not a bad approach.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Life We are Given

There are times I find myself just wondering. You know the wondering about the life we're given. I know this has been the mental plague of man ever since it dawned on him, always wondering the great questions of a life, the world and the purpose of anything and everything, and all related to the life we are and have.

Like duh, no one has yet found the answer, or at least one we all find useful and helpful, but it's always a good tavern conversation question. Or not.

Well, almost, because it seems when facing death, it's a common to ask the question of ourself and our live. Kinda' late maybe, but maybe it's been the perpetual question that never fully invaded our consciousness enough to warrant more than a passing thought while drinking beer somewhere there is good music, interesting and entertaining people, and lively, spirited conversation. And of course great beer and good food.

And sometimes it's one of those things you think about before and just after you retire. We see these stories of people who accomplished a lot after retiring from their first job or career to move into another and do great or important things. But these people are very rare, why they're noted, and 99.999% of retirees just live out the rest of their live at some level far less important or accomplished.

In short, just another life. Something my father did, putter his life away when he retired in his early 60's. He simply faded into nothingness where no one, not even Mom, paid much attention to him beyond the occasional conversation and important events. He lived after retirement for three things, their 50th wedding anniversary, paying off his 30-year mortage and living to see his 75th birthday.

Those accomplished, on the day of the last one he went to bed, never woke up and died two days later. It left a lot of confused people, but in the end, he was tired of life. He lost the will to live beyond those three goals years before when his health failed and he couldn't find something to do beyond existing. He faced his existence and decided his fate.

As with him, we face the reality of our existence. It's the accepted fact or realiy, take your pick, that after 50 or so, it's all downhill and the best we can do is slow the rate we age, both mentally and physically. Of course, within the framework of our genetic history and our environment.

At after 60, it picks up speed where you can't change anything except if you're lucky or gifted with good physical and mental health and being fit, and then hope fate doesn't change that with some event, a disease, accident, or something which makes just living a challenge, or worse. That I discovered this year and know it's my future.

It's my existence as given. Change is possible, as the specialist said, but not much realistically. It's what I face, as we all face ourself, in the morning when we wake up. The choices we face with the life we're given.