Friday, September 02, 2005

Bad Luck, Decoded

Yes, more bad luck -- my front door won't unlock. The latch turns, but the deadbolt refuses to move. I thought to myself, "ok, I'm now well-practiced in asking for help -- maybe I'm supposed to try to figure it out myself now!" So I pulled out a screwdriver and took as much of it apart as I could, but still could not figure out what was wrong or how to fix it. So I put it all back together and lapsed briefly into a depressive slump.

The next day (yesterday), it hit me. My life has gradually been drifting into Reactive Mode. I'm taking these little glitches too seriously. I'm lapsing into an overarching sense of feeling set upon, or feeling beset by problems. I've been letting these external events define me, negatively: "I am one to whom these kinds of things happen."

What I need to do is work to regain a positive sense of who I am and what I am called to do in the world.

What's really ironic is that in all of my advising of students (I have 42 advisees), I've become quite eloquent in encouraging them to take active control of their lives and education, and to use their education and experiences to clarify their understandings of who they are in the world -- and yet I'm at the same time losing that very sense for myself!

This is the peril of busyness.

The more that things come at me, demanding responses, the harder it is for me to give myself permission to pause and remember who I am.

I had the right idea in the summer to be sure to take time on a regular basis to choose to do that which helps remind me of who I am and gives my life an overarching sense of meaning and coherence. (This is what "integrity" is all about.) I had the right idea, but, unfortunately, I have not been so good at putting it into consistent practice.

But now I realize the urgency of doing this. So, I am devoting this morning to doing this, and also to implementing a plan for how to keep doing this on a regular basis.

4 comments:

  1. The last few times that I've read your posts I've been struck by two things. One, is your ability to analyze your experiences and to gain such clear, rational perspectives. I'm always amazed at the almost poetic insightfulness of your breakthroughs.

    The second observation, I was a bit more hesitant to share. I am sure you are mindful of the psychology which suggests that the thoughts and the words that we use often help to formulate our reality. It crossed my mind several times that in a life as involved as yours and with so many facets, the title of your blog "Embracing Complexity" seems to invite some degree of complication or even chaos. It might be worthwhile to take a break and embrace simplicity for a time! ; )

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  2. Thank you for sharing your observations! I do actually long for simplicity more than complexity. But I've been trying to make peace with the complexity that keeps unfolding before me, because I used to be too afraid of this. My former quest for simplicity was a quest based on fear, really. I needed to find a better way, a more positive way, to accept and deal with those aspects of life that even fear cannot keep at bay.

    We think that fear protects us, but habitual fear (such as chronic anxiety) does not actually prevent fearsome things from happening, nor does it make us better able to respond to those fearsome things that do happen.

    But it is possible to learn to respond effectively -- it's just that fear itself is not the way. The way to respond more postively is through acceptance and certain kinds of reconceptualization.

    And, I guess that's really what this blog is about: my spiritual discipline of positive reconceptualization.

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  3. Oh! The following paragraph struck me with a force of recognition;

    My life has gradually been drifting into Reactive Mode. I'm taking these little glitches too seriously. I'm lapsing into an overarching sense of feeling set upon, or feeling beset by problems. I've been letting these external events define me, negatively: "I am one to whom these kinds of things happen."

    Yes! There is a great chance that this may be the lesson that the recent "bad luck" was intended to unlock in you.

    This has been a powerful lesson in my own life as well. When in these situations I finally summoned the courage to proactively regain control, (so difficult when one feels put upon) then the reverse began to unfold... opportunity. Great opportunities, as if I had reached a new level of capability that could finally appreciate these new blessings.

    P.S. About your dryer... I went to sleep one night and asked Universe for enlightenment. (I've lived without a dryer and can attest to the upset it causes. Have thus found myself strangely sympathetic to your plight, LOL). Awoke in the morning with a clear sense that it was "electrical not appliance". I wondered if you are using fuses and replaced with lower amp than needed, or if a new appliance on same power grid has been installed in the house (on same fuse as the dryer). Felt silly to provide this info at the time. Wondered if you would figure out the issue through conventional means (smile)! Any luck yet?

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  4. Yes, I've now had two weekends in a row in which my clothes dryer worked! And I sure have enjoyed it! It was an electrical problem. I don't know the details, but the wiring has now been fixed.

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