:: in transit ::
and transitioning from one thing to the next.
today is my first official day of many things:
- official meeting for the Dalí Project with my Cosmic Twin. possibly meeting Dalí himself
- official meeting with my Japanese teacher (well, one of them anyway). and an inspiration for a possible Japanese-Dalí combo meeting
- first day after being back to work at Santos Party House. negotiating my work-nightlife with my work-day life
- first day going to the park since i’ve been back to NYC
- first day feeling like EWDIR (Everything We Do is Right.) just kidding! i feel that way every day.
and so i get to thinking about transitions and starting new things. re-starting old things. and how to focus on one thing fully when there are so many things to focus on.
this problem, as psychologist Barry Shwartz has articulated, is reminiscent of The Paradox of Choice. when we have too many options, we don’t know how to choose. we believe that greater choice leads to greater freedom, but infinite freedom is paralyzing (which is kind of the opposite of complete freedom). however, when we have too few choices, we don’t have freedom of choice either because then there are not enough options.
and so how does one define the balance, particularly when we are self-motivated to do so? (this self-motivation occurs when one decides to shun the conventional societal systems, that many people rely on to feel secure in their personal, professional, and material lives.)
i started to really prioritize the many competing forces in my life. i ask my self: which are the things, people, and activities that i need on a daily basis? which are the others that i can let go of for today? which are ones for a weekly basis and which are ones to focus on whenever they call for attention?
the more clearly that i define this for my self, the more productive it seems that i can be.
and another big one in the priority-focus struggle, is the practice of creating “Edges.” there is always work to be done on everything—from creative projects to my living space to personal relationships to health and nutrition for my physical well-being. and more.
when The Night Bears were working on Assumptions Made in the Dark, we were looking at transitions in the sonic landscape. we asked our selves: which were places that needed an abrupt change? which were the areas that could fade into each other? and which could loop indeterminately until the next thing just happened and then the sound change could be triggered?
this process led to “Edges,” which was what John took to calling the changes in sound (that would inevitably apply to other elemental transitions within the piece). and after we performed AMITD, this process led to Edge-acknowledgment in other areas of my life.
as collaborators, John and i need to be very clear about our Edges. the two of us are prolific in terms of the amount of information that we are capable of absorbing and expounding on a daily basis. but it would be impossible to subsist in this manner for the whole of our existence. it would end up consuming us. and there are far too many other important areas of our lives that need attention. so we create Edges.
“i have to deal with ___________ right now. let’s talk on Friday.”
“i am out of town for one week for _____________. let’s touch base in seven days.”
these are clear and well-defined Edges that allow us to be fully present when we are needed, together and separately. (and our third collaborator, Zen Buddhist Supreme Munkus, seems to just get it intuitively. his way is really specific without necessarily ever needing to articulate it with words.)
and so i look at applying this to my personal life as well: when is the Fulbright due? okay, there’s a deadline. i need to focus on that in these specific chunks of time. when do we perform The Dalí Project? okay, this is when we need to rehearse. when is my collaborator in town? okay, we need to meet then because we can’t meet in person later. and so on. and the negotiations get more micro within each specific thing as well.
and so one important thing (as usual) is letting go. it is being clear about when it is really time for something and when it’s not. and giving one’s self the freedom and steadfastness that is required to truly let something go in order to focus on another. this is one way to narrow down the amount of things that we need to do, in order to have the freedom and ability to work on them all. this is, perhaps, one way to avoid paralysis in our spiritual Paradox of Choice.
there is a saying, “when one door closes, another one opens.” sometimes we are responsible for closing and opening them, and other times, the act is done for us.
as i close my journal and let go of this blog post, the train doors open.
and i am on to the next thing, with focus and fullness, and here in the present.
It’s like stepping into the unknown. And it’s not predictable. In any case, we know that life isn’t predictable, it’s just that somehow we think it should be. And you can say, ‘Oh, I like the unpredictability.” But only to a certain point—as long as it’s kind of fun and adventurous. I have a lot of relatives who are into things like bungee jumping. And all kinds of terrifying things…but everybody meets their Edge. And sometimes, you know, the most adventurous of us meet our Edge in the strangest places, like when we can’t get a good cup of coffee. We’re willing to jump off a bridge upside down, but we just throw a tantrum when we can’t get a good cup of coffee. So this place of meeting our Edge, it is a very powerful place for the person who wishes to awaken and open their heart and mind, the person on the spiritual journey. This place of meeting your Edge, when you actually come up against it and you start to lose it.
~ Pema Chodron ~
: photo by TJ Hospodar