I don’t know about you, but the past nearly six months have been insane for me. I kept on working through the pandemic from home but lost fencing practice in the wisdom to close things down. Friends have been furloughed, lost jobs, or are facing sending kids back to school — or returning there themselves to teach — despite the ongoing battle with COVID-19.
Trump continues to undermine our democracy — and doesn’t give a shit about you, me, or anyone else in his quest to remain in power. This certainly isn’t helping with anger, expanding an already too-wide artificial divide, and contributing to uncertainty about tomorrow.
People have run out of cope and patience because of all this, and more. So, they are super-short-tempered, easily flustered, quick to anger, and take offense at the drop of a hat.
All of this impacts me, too. I feel the uncertainty and share it. Also, I fear for the United States amid this insanity.
Further, I worry about the mental, emotional, and physical health of all those I care about because they’re equally or more impacted by these things as I am.
With all of this happening, the fear, the uncertainty, the confusion — why do what you do?
Because what else can you do?
Life continues apace
We are in the middle of a pandemic that is not at all under control in the United States. The leadership vacuum cares far more about themselves and staying in power than stopping the number of people being infected and dying. Chaos dominates the news. Most of the answers to be found lead only to more questions.
Yet life goes on. You still get up in the morning and have a day. It may be largely unchanged from before COVID-19 — or it may be very, very different. But you are still alive, and life continues apace.
Sometimes that may not seem all that important. But it is. You are here. Alive, and experiencing life. What that means for you is different than what it means for anyone and everyone else.
Thus, every single day you are faced with choices. The vast majority are really small and often by rote — get out of bed, shower, get dressed, eat food, and so on. You go about and do them, often with little or no thought.
There are always bigger choices to be made. For example — doing what you do. How do you exist on this planet? Do you simply go about day to day inside a specific routine or process — or — do you choose paths for your life?
This is the essence of Pathwalking. Deciding that rather than let life live you — you will take control and live life. Everybody exists and works to survive. But not everybody seeks to learn, grow, evolve, change, and thrive.
Why you do what you do tends to answer the question of what path you choose to take — or not.
Live life — or let life live you
One of the choices you are always faced with is how to approach life.
Long ago, I observed that there are three primary ways to exist in this world:
- Let life live you. Follow the pattern, go with the flow, choose minor bits and pieces along the way — but for the most part you just survive day in, day out.
- Curl up in a ball and wait for death. You spend this life focused on being done. Maybe your attention is wholly on working for an afterlife. But you are miserable, constantly complain, and see no reason to go do anything but just wait out the end, whenever it comes.
- Take life for a ride. Like grabbing a bull by the horns and hanging on for dear life, you make choices to experience things. You decide on various paths, and you go about living life and experiencing much of what it has to offer.
There are not the ONLY options, of course — but for the most part, they are the ones I think dominate all others. Also — you will likely, throughout your life, live within each of these for a time. Circumstances, situations, experiences, and outside influences can and will force your hand and push you between these notions.
The choice is always yours when all is said and done. That may seem untrue, and occasionally suspect — but that doesn’t change it. Life is unique to everyone — and everyone gets to decide how to choose what it looks like for them.
Knowing that this choice is always available — the question comes around again.
Why do what you do?
Whatever you have chosen for how to live your life — any actions you take, your job, your day-to-day activities — do you know why you do what you do?
Also — the answer will be different for different things.
Why do I write? Because it makes me feel good. I take joy in sharing my ideas, stories, worlds, concepts, and everything else I write and share. Writing is nearly a compulsion for me. The need to write — self-help, spiritual, inspirational, science-fiction, fantasy, or whatever else — is like the need to breathe. I have to do it — and I love it.
Why do I fence? Because there was never a sport I had any real aptitude for before I took up medieval fencing. The body movement, the hand-eye coordination, the reaction time, and the overall spatial sense I have been developing through fencing for almost 29 years have been amazing. And I love to teach the game to others — especially others like me who are not built athletically. This is the thing I miss the most during this pandemic.
Why do I meditate? Because it centers me. Overall, I find it makes me calmer, and provides a respite during the day to re-center and refocus myself. The way I feel after I meditate helps me decide to do the things I do.
Your answers will be different. Not just because you do not do what I do — but because your why will be unique to you.
When you know why you do what you do it opens you to be more mindful, present, and able to roll with the punches when life goes sideways.
You cannot control outside influences
Nobody 10 years ago saw themselves living through a pandemic. I don’t think any of us thought Trump would be as awful a President as he has been. This world as it is today was not how anyone envisioned it being.
On a more personal level, you cannot control when a friend turns on you, a lover departs, a job is lost, or anything else of that sort that occurs in your life. All you control is you — your mindfulness and the choices and decisions that you make.
Why do what you do? Only you know the answer — and that’s what matters most. What other people think is not important because only you can live for you.
That is why deciding to do what you do and choosing whatever forms that take is important. This is a valid question that can be applied to many things. It can offer pathways, direction, intent, and purpose to your life and how you are living it.
The choices and decisions for your life are there for you to learn, find, and/or create. That’s ultimately one of the best things about life in general.
So why do what you do?
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as does why you do what you do.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on August 12, 2020.