The root of the English word crisis comes from Greek, krisis. It was a surprise to learn that the word indicated a turning point in a disease where the next decision seals the fate of the patient, rather than simply a moment of deep jeopardy.
In my mind, this crisis point appears as a dusty plateau where a traveller agonises, time very much against her and with the sun bleaching spots onto her eyes as she tries to think. She must choose the correct direction or suffer. Her suffering will certainly be life changing but also rather vague in nature. #crisis
So, we are truly in a crisis. We are having to make decisions about our futures.
The traveller faces a stressful conundrum and cannot move forward until she has decided. Her orienting reflex, in my mind a dangling lump of flesh humming with hyper sensitive antennae, scans the environment for something of significance. On the threshold between stasis and transformation, time slows.
Stick or twist?
In life as in backgammon, you cannot go backwards. Time won’t permit it. At least, not as we know it. There is only forward. In his collection of writings, ‘Civilisation and its Discontents’, Freud suggests that human behaviour betrays an obvious aim and purpose; the attainment of happiness. Reading this somewhat clinical viewpoint reminded me that much of my decision making is framed by either of two motives: the avoidance of pain or the pursuit of pleasure. In deciding on a path, I balance a few probabilities and, once all the data has been collected and analysed, I usually go with my gut. It may as well have been decided on what I had for breakfast. #freud
'In life as in backgammon, you cannot go backwards. Time won’t permit it. At least, not as we know it.'
Bouncing a ball down a sun splashed lane on Monday, I pondered on the nature of paths, both asphalt and symbolic. Something, at some point, decided to go in this direction. A few leaves were disturbed, the odd nettle was trampled. The next animal (a vole perhaps?) came by and saw that something ‘had a reason’ for going this way. #paths
I assume there must be a degree of blind trust in our decision making. Is it simply, ‘something has already trampled the nettle so there’s less chance I’ll be stung?’ Are all paths simply paths of least resistance? But what if we realise the paths we have followed to date now lead to oblivion, like burning fossil fuels or choosing Amstel over abstinence, nightly? What if there’s a dragon in view further on, draped across the way, dreaming of gold and barbequed damsel? Only a fool would continue to take that path.
But we did and do still. #pathofleastresistance
In all of our story telling, going back to gatherings round fires, there are metaphors of a notion of Becoming that involve stepping off the path and into a necessary unknown. A leap of faith. In correcting our behaviour, this idea of Becoming is available to all. It can signal the end of lifelong habits such as game playing, addiction, propagating limiting belief, delusion; anything in fact unrelated to the unconditional present. It requires courage, an awareness that there is only Now, and a welcoming of how that feels, right now. It requires stoicism.
There are times when the path becomes unclear and all before us seems perilous. We typically ask ourselves, what have other people done in this position? That’s fatal. They did that, then, for their own reasons. Don’t look at the goal. That lies in your imagination, in the future, and the future hasn’t been lived yet. Trust your next step, trust that you’ll make another, in the direction that feels right, instead of the one you think you should take. There’s no one looking over your shoulder. Your fear is there to protect you. Listen to it. Thank it and move on. #becoming #trustinyourself #faith #leapoffaith
'In all of our story telling, going back to gatherings round fires, there are metaphors of a notion of Becoming that involve stepping off the path and into a necessary unknown. A leap of faith.'
The orienting reflex is an organism’s immediate response to novel or significant stimuli. In this we are all teetering rather heroically on the brink of something rather new. We are learning a lot about ourselves. We are becoming resilient. #orientingreflex
At the top of the lane there is an historic church. It’s a humble structure surrounded by weathered markings of long dead Kentish folk whose paths ended here. On the South aspect there is a bench beneath an unkempt young pine where I frequently spend time with my senses. I sat here on this sunny day and watched an ant go about its business. Later, from my periphery, I caught a glimpse of a woman’s ankle, a flash of bright flesh beneath a swathe of blue fabric and white plimsole, her light step then disappear beyond a hedge. I immediately rose and made towards this vision. Instinct, like a dog to a squirrel. On recognising this I stopped and grinned, before returning to my path, to my ball bouncing and to thoughts of pathways to love, and the risks thereon.