Monthly Archives: December 2011

Choice in the Present Moment

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been laying low and taking it easy.

There are a lot of things in our lives we don’t have control over. I’ve never really understood questions like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” When it rains, it does so without regard to where it falls. Good and bad things happen to everyone, and I would debate whether or not we can rightly classify people as inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We’re all just people, suffering and struggling in our own ways.

One of the biggest sources of suffering I’ve observed is the way we fight change. No, I’m not referring to my dislike of coins (Japanese currency is the worst, everything below a $5 bill is a coin!). I’m of course talking about changes in our lives that surprise, upset, or create difficulty. With the end of the year approaching, it seems an appropriate topic.

The passing of time and the transition from one moment to the next is perhaps the easiest change we can observe and is rather indisputable. You can sit in the same spot at the same time every day, doing the same thing, but no two moments are the same and you can’t revisit the past. The things that happen (or don’t happen) in given moment are subject to countless causes and effects of tons of things that we normally probably think have nothing to do with us.

That means there’s a whole lot going on that we don’t have any control over but could still have a profound effect on our lives (I recently watched Chaos Theory, a movie which illustrates this point rather well). The one thing we truly have control over is our choice in the present moment of how we respond to whatever comes our way. This includes our very own thoughts and feelings. We may not have control over what we think or feel, but we have a choice as to how we respond to those things.

For example, I seem plagued with technological difficulties. I know how to build computers and usually end up providing tech support to my friends and family, but sometimes no amount of care or knowledge can prevent them from crashing. Friendships and relationships can become damaged by gossip or misinformation that you didn’t even participate in. Sometimes we get our hearts broken.

These are all examples of change that we protest and resist. We suffer when we want our lives to be different than they are, or how we think they “should” be. We get attached to the idea of what we think we should be doing, who we think we should be. When reality doesn’t fall into line with our ideals, it’s a hard thing to accept. Maybe we beat ourselves up over it or take it out on other people. That doesn’t really get us any closer to making things into what we want them to be, though.

There’s nothing wrong with a period of mourning for the plans we had or the relationship we valued. The road trips we wanted to go on or the holidays we wanted to spend are now just ideas, memories of future events that won’t come to pass. Carrying these things around can make life seem difficult. But dwelling on them does nothing for our situation in the here-and-now present moment, and still we have a choice in how we respond and act.

All of this comes down to taking care of ourselves and making healthy choices, no matter the cards we’re dealt. 2011 is coming to an end, and it’ll never be here again. What will you do for yourself in the coming year, tomorrow, and in this very moment to take care of yourself?

I didn’t write this last part, but it fits well, so I’m borrowing it (thanks Kathleen!)

If you are someone struggling to eat consistently well, to nourish your body truly well, to stop exercising to work off food, to stop purging, to love your body, etc., PLEASE do every single thing you need to do to make that happen starting TODAY. It’s never too early to recover, but it can be too late –before you know it, it can be too late. …And I know no one ever thinks that they will be the next person to succumb to under-nutrition…but that thinking is often the reason people die. Realize that every day needs to be a healthy day. And if you need help, then reach out for it today. If you need to take yourself by the hand and lead yourself into healthy, then do it. Don’t wait.

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