Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Reflection on Control

This morning, I jogged around the lake close to my home.  The foggy cold paralyzed my senses momentarily.  But, once my blood felt safe to actually circulate throughout the entirety of my body and I could feel my ears again, I began to hear conversations from some people I passed on the path.  Since I am only an accidental eavesdropper, I caught just a few random words and phrases, but one sentence seemed to stick out.

An older couple walked towards me at a brisk pace.  They matched in their puffy down jackets, black jogging pants and gray beanie hats.  They leaned their heads in toward one another, while their arms pumped and their warmed breath smoked around them.  The woman spoke rather loudly to the man, probably from the physical exertion and of course the thick wool caps covering their ears. Just as they passed, she exhaled “the sad thing is, there is nothing you can do.”   Without context or any extreme inflection in her voice, I had no immediate emotion or image to anchor the words.  I guess there was a bit of concern in her manner, maybe a hint of frustration.  For the most part, the words appeared to have been thrown out there, more of a figure of speech or something to be said because there was nothing else left to say.

As I continued past the couple, I slowed to a walk.  My brain definitely tends to function at a slightly higher level when it’s not figuring how to conserve as much energy as possible while immersed in an aerobic workout (jogging) and not simultaneously providing a continuous stream of arguments against the benefits of the aerobic activity (jogging).  With the walking decision made, my thoughts turned toward the statement I had heard.  “The sad thing is, there is nothing you can do.”  Applied as a universal concept, I look at this sentence as potentially limiting and definitely just a matter of perspective.  Assuming that the latter part of this statement is correct “there is nothing you can do”, does that lack of control make it a “sad thing?”  Or does the realization that you have no control in a situation equal another emotional realization besides sadness, dependent on the circumstances? This could be anything from extreme anger to extreme tranquility.

Or does the realization that you have no control in a situation present a different perspective all together that suggests that “control” is conceptual, self created, system binding, defined inaccurately, a root of “how” humans are taught to think (along the lines of opposites – control vs no control).  Taking the perspective further, could it be suggested that we are deluded  to think that we have control and we only think we do because we don’t want to think that we don’t?  But are those two extremes of having and not having the only choices available to us?

I had asked in an earlier blog post ‘what can you control?’ and provided a possible answer, ‘you control you.’  Perhaps adjusting the definition of “control” would help to align the concept I was talking about before and the concept I am talking about now.  That is the concept of awareness, becoming aware of situations, intentions, and ultimately decisions.  This includes an individual’s involvement in that process, in order to engage one in one’s path, choices, actions and reactions.  The awareness concept addresses all of the details and hues of “control” as we may perceive the word, but without the lockdown effect of the word’s enactment.

So, released from a definition, the perspective is left without the influence of “control vs no control.”  The perspective is no longer in the same language, color scheme, style, landscape, etc since the normal definition of “control” wasn’t even in the foundation. That’s kind of refreshing.  The perspective does not need to go through the “control/no control” rigid filter to arrive at the initial understanding or direction.

Getting back to the sentence with this definition release –  “The sad thing is, there is nothing you can do” – the statement then becomes a simple awareness of the situation and a reflection of one’s choice within it. An act; a movement; another step on the path.

© M.R.Collier, A Way of Your Own, 2013

Relationships in the Present Moment

The most current of events that continues to impact my daily life and train of thought is my recent move from Belgium to the U.S. Pacific Northwest.  Even though time has raced by and already I have been in my new surroundings for almost two weeks, my feet still feel slightly swept so that I don’t quite have the full balance or steady methods to anchor myself.  However, piercing through all of the uproar and chaos during this change, the impact of “relationships” has cried out with the fullest gusto and has demanded some attention.  Imagine that, relationships needing attention…  I have noticed that beyond people, even how I relate or connect to things, actions or to situations has snagged my curiosity and has overwhelmed me at the same time.

When I think about the word “relationship,” my automatic word-association is to “romance” or “friendship.”  My second filter of word-definition jumps to what I learned in high school/college literature classes – “relationships defined by capacity of conflict.” These are the “Person vs Self, Person vs Person, Person vs Society, Person vs Universe, Person vs Nature” descriptions.  But, since relationships are hopefully not just about conflict, and not just about other people, how else can I be conscious of how I am connecting to everything?

I think that understanding how one relates to everything around or within oneself on all levels is possible, as well as important.  At the moment, of course, I am addressing some of the levels from my standard understanding because “what you know” seems to be a great place (as well as the default place) to start.  But, I would like to move on from the automatic and flow beyond my learned method of thinking or organization of thought to find a perspective that can handle the overwhelming that I am experiencing.

So….Relationships to everything, on all levels and sub levels. I suppose this train of thought could race to the umbrella concepts that span across my thought and that are ultimately affected by my associations, definitions and experiences to everything. I suppose one could say that the human experience and subsequent human expression could be defined through relationships on all levels.  But, exactly how can someone be aware of all relationships at all levels to the extent of continuous comprehension and to consciously live within them?

Maybe the relationship that pushes and stretches the boundaries of imagination and thought should be explored to find the different perspective.  Person and Infinity.

And how can I describe my relationship with infinity?  Well, it’s like a sling shot effect, or like the quick zoom-out on Google Maps.  The map is bursting at the seams, trying to hold infinity and in a snap, there is a zoom out and now, infinity looks like the tiniest dot within the landscape of additional infinity.  And what is that tiny “infinity” dot in relation to my life?  A focal point in my day, a mere moment, perhaps the present moment.

Can you ever be outside of the present moment?  Well, I think you can definitely be unaware of the present moment.  But, if the awareness is there, would it be possible to develop only my relationship with the present moment and thereby develop all relationships at once?

© M.R.Collier, A Way of Your Own, 2013