You Choose!

Most of the time, given the opportunity, I prefer not to choose. My general preference, when the time to choose arises, is to let my spouse or friend or client or employee make the choice for me: where to dine; what to work on; where/when to exercise; which movie to watch or music to listen to.

This is not a comfortable or flattering thing to admit about myself, especially since I am the type of person who likes to ‘work out’ my body. How strange then to realize that I am quite lazy when it comes to choosing in the realm of the everyday and mundane. How hard is it really, to make a choice? Why would I rather deflect an opportunity to make my own choice onto others? And yet, to not choose is making a choice too, isn’t it?

“The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.” “Life has a peculiar feel when you look back on it that it doesn’t have when your actually living it.” Donald Miller

Perhaps the problem with choosing comes from the fact that there is so much from which to choose. If choice making was always about this or that; black or white; yes or no; stay or go, perhaps choosing would be easier. On one hand I wish that making a choice was a one-and-done deal, like when I say I choose to lose weight, gain strength or improve my health status, then BAM, my choice is made and I’m done. Wouldn’t that be grand? No more decisions to make. But that system wouldn’t work too well for me if I made just ONE unwise choice. How could I undo a poor choice if I only had a one-and-done choice making system?

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Fortunately, for all of us, life is full of choice making opportunities, except when our perception tells us otherwise. If we feel stuck, plumb out of choices, then it’s time to remind ourselves this one thing: as long as we are breathing, we may choose; and we may choose as many times as is needed and we may choose differently every time.

Even though I am a lazy choice maker, I am grateful this life I live is not a one-and-done game of chance. No, this life is more like playing the slot machines with the statistical advantage stacked in my favor, because I am privileged to choose; and my choice to choose means I may choose over and over and over again…or not.

In this life, it’s a happy, powerful sentiment to know we have the authority to re-write our life’s story line if we find our story less than meaningful. If by our choices we choose to do the same things enough times, eventually the statistics play out in our favor and our choices become our habits (for better or worse); then our habits create our life (for better or worse). So here’s to the wonderful, wacky world of choice making, and here’s my note to self: You CHOOSE…like your life depends on it!

The Compost Pile

Compost! Perhaps this is a strange topic for rumination in a health and fitness blog, but sometimes I just have to write about stuff as it inspires me. The topic of compost first cast upon my imagination a few days ago when I read the quote (below) on a friend’s Facebook page.

Compost is proof that there is life after death.

As the CEO of our local worm farm, my friend is a specialist in all things concerning the nature and composition of soil. The vitality of her worms depends largely upon the quality and nutritional value of their food source, which is of course, their soil.  And because I am a person who often reflects on life and death from time to time, the topic of compost seemed a likely candidate for my next writing compositon…no pun intended. And I could not help making a connection from the science of physics in regards to life and death and compost because one of the rules of physics asserts: the law of conservation of energy states that energy can never be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. (The HeartMath Solution)

So then, I must conclude in fervent belief that all of nature, science and faith points to life after death. As a believer in the ‘afterlife’ of the soul and in the rules of the physics of the universe, this everlasting energy cycle, which had no beginning and which knows no end, means, I believe, we each will continue on for eternity, never to be quashed or destroyed.

Now, back to compost, which is indeed very alive even though it is de-composing. On this point we must never forget that compost is not fodder for the burn pile, but rather it is food and nourishment for the soil. The rearranging of its chemical and physical composition gives nutrients and life power to those things rooted for growth in the ground.

But first and foremost, it must be acknowledged that it takes a certain amount of time before compost may become a suitable growth medium for soil. A compost pile must be exposed and mixed with the elements of water, light and oxygen in proper proportions to become a vital soil supplement. Days and days of patient, mindful administration go into successful composting.

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty. Try to be more like the ground. ~Rumi

A similar process of composting is necessary for the growth of my life, my soul. It is in those things which annoy or vex; those things which I may dismiss or consider as dead or dying: relationships, attitudes, goals, or whatever…which may instead just need more mixing or exposure to grace, kindness or patience. My acceptance of this process rather than my contempt is what is needed for the material on my compost pile to eventually become a source of deep nourishment for growth and change in my life. And this one thing I know without a doubt: to live a full, vital life, one must grow.

Rumi gives me some insight into the beauty of composting when he says that we should be more like the ground…open, receptive, non-judgmental. There is a gentleness, a humility in this sort of thinking and believing. But it requires an element of faith in the unseen, microscopic reality which operates on the principle of life after death. Ahh, behold the lowly compost pile.

The Master Piece

What would your life look like if you considered living as though it were a commissioned work of art? Your very own master piece?

I am an artist at living, and my work of art is my life. 
Suzuki  Japanese philosopher

What media would you use to create your life? Would you sculpt in clay? Carve from wood? Chisel from stone? Write with pen? Color with water, or oil, or ink?  Would you build your masterpiece from metal, rock or paper? Would you craft in the science of body, mind or spirit? Would you compose music with voice or instrument? Would you console with open heart, hands, and arms?

If we want our lives to be works of art, we must be willing to take the time and risk the intimacy required for creating an artisan life.
The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art
Erwin Raphael McManus

When the art critics come to review and behold your art, what would they observe? How would they describe your masterpiece? How would you describe the work of your life? What do you desire for your masterpiece to communicate to those beholding it? What do you consider to be the crowning feature or achievement of your masterpiece? Does your masterpiece contain flaws or imperfections? Are those flaws to be hidden or exposed for their intrinsic value and beauty? Does your work of art excite, intrigue, inspire, or delight those who observe your creation?

Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage ~ Ann Patchett

Tell me…show me…I want to know and experience the shared joy of your Work of Art, your Lifeyour Master Piece!

Just Breathe

Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! (Psalm 150:6 ~ Amplified Bible)

Sigh, without making a sound in the vocal cords, and imagine an all-compassionate presence of Yah. Imagine that each breath is itself a blessing. Yah holds and embraces us, Yah is our inner source of strength, and in each breath, we bless Yah for as long as we live, which is our “forever.”
(Ecstatic Kabbalah ~ David A Cooper)

This is the air I breathe, This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread, This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I ~ I’m desperate for you
And I ~ I’m lost without you

(Breathe ~ Lyrics: Michael W Smith)

Focus your attention on your lungs, as if only your lungs exist. Feel the pleasure when your lungs expand to fulfill the biggest need of the human body – to breathe. Take a deep breath and feel the air as it fills your lungs. Feel how the air is nothing but love. Notice the connection between the air and the lungs, a connection of love. To breathe gives us much pleasure. Just to breathe is enough for us to always be happy, to enjoy life. Just to be alive is enough. Feel the pleasure to be alive, the pleasure of the feeling of love…
(The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz)

Quote

Live, Laugh, Love

Life must be lived with a writer’s courage. Just as a blank page cannot be improved, nothing can be done with an unlived, untried life. To dare to live will involve mistakes and missteps. You and I will end up with choices we regret, opportunities we missed, words we wish we could go back and say or leave unsaid. Perfection is impossible. But a rough draft, no matter how flawed, sits within reach of an artist’s redemption.
Michele Cushatt ~ Undone, A Memoir