Sunday, December 5, 2010

Life isn't always about what we want...

I've been thinking a lot about that idea. It seems to be a popular message. We quote it as the reason why we can't always do the things that make us happy, or why we must do things that don't make us happy. We use it to reason with a child when they balk at doing something unpleasant. And while it seems true in a lot of cases, I suspect it's really not true in most. Because I'm coming to see more and more that what we want usually determines exactly what our life is all about.

What we spend our time thinking about is usually what motivates us much of the time. If we think about food all the time, we usually have deeply rooted issues with eating and food. I've heard so many stories about people who have dealt with starvation or abject poverty that spend the rest of their lives making sure there is always food to be found nearby. They often create little caches of food around them to make sure they will never go without again. And what about individuals in the world who seem driven to achieve great things. When someone analyzes their lives they usually discover that the drive was almost always internal and self-sustained. What those people wanted became their lives.

Which makes me wonder what is it that I want out of life. What do I think about repetitively? What's on my wish list? It's kind of an interesting experience to ponder that idea. Because obviously there are things that we want that we often wish we didn't want. What about those things - those natural tendencies that we struggle to overcome and eliminate from our lives because we feel they are destructive or wrong? Isn't our daily struggle often all about that battle? Perhaps it would be better to rephrase the statement as, "Life is always about what we want and what we choose to do about it." Maybe if we realized that we would be think a little more about the choices we do make.

I had a pretty good week. It was exhausting and filled with busyness, but it was good. I got to see that my pottery is a worthwhile quest because much of it sold in the sale. I got to feel like my contributions at work are also worthwhile. I got to spend time with my husband remembering what a blessing he is in my life. I got to feel a little of that Christmas spark that always helps me feel the excitement of the season. And when I analyze it based on that statement, I can see how directly my happiness relates to how well I discharged my agency.

There have been times in my life when I've felt trapped by obligations that I resent and they've built up to the point where I almost become angry and resentful. And when I really think about that I realize it's because I've been feeling that my agency has been violated. I have been denied the opportunity to really choose for myself what I should be doing. Whenever I make sure I have opportunities to choose what I want, I'm better able to deal with those "no choosing" events and get through them emotionally sound. Funny that it's taken so very long to figure that balance out. I don't always get it right, but when I do, a busy week isn't so bad. I'm hoping to keep that balance intact for Christmas. I'm not advocating doing whatever we please all the time, but rather giving ourselves the opportunity to see our agency positively in action from time to time to make sure we still feel that we are the ones determining what our lives are all about. Because that's really the purpose for us all being here on earth, isn't it - learning to be the masters of our will in choosing the right path.

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