think (feel) be

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

Fullness of possibilty

My mind is full tonight with the many thoughts of today, which were generated by a complete absence of technology, a full and complete being-with my children, and a deep immersion into the challenging beauty of nature. From these thoughts great things might happen. I will work to see that they do.

All habits

Begin with the first stuttering start. Over time, they become, for good or ill, part of my being-in-the world. Consciously or unconsciously I develop habits based on my daily actions. For good or ill, those habits delimit my actions and my potential.

Holding back

“The way you write…. It feels like there’s something more there. It feels like you’re holding back,” my mom said. The connection was silent for a long moment as I considered those last words.

I was defensive, which I took to be a sign that she was right. At least partly so. Most likely completely so.

“I’m not sure if it’s holding back,” I tried, “I think it’s distractions more than anything else. My thoughts are too scattered to really focus and write exactly what I’m thinking.”

Even as I said it I knew my reasoning was only partly true. I am busy and distracted—by work mostly. Also by my family and other projects and priorities. And I should be distracted by work (food, water, shelter and all that) and by my family (love, companionship, fulfillment, and so much more); it’s those “other projects and priorities” that hold the rest of the truth. The hard question for me is this: do I pursue those unnecessary distractions because writing isn’t important to me or because I’m afraid to fully invest myself? Why, precisely, am I holding back?

Assuming that writing is important to me, is it fear of criticism or rejection that prevents me from writing without reservation? Is that why I’m creating convenient roadblocks?

Assuming that writing is not important to me, why am I spending so much time thinking about it and writing about it? (Ha! Writing about instead of just bloody writing. The typical philosopher’s dilemma: too much armchair.)

As I write this my mind and my heart both tell me the answer is A: I’m deeply invested in writing but afraid of devoting myself to it. So I hold back because that feels safe—when I should be putting myself out there, testing my limits, pushing myself to be better, especially because failure at this time is so cheap. My livelihood isn’t tied to my writing. The only negative consequence of poor output would be a lack of interest from others, which is actually the best indicator that I’m not writing in the most compelling way. Which means more practice. Every day, really.

And no holding back.

Checklists

My life has become a collection of various checklists. Last night, as I worked through yet another list, this thought surfaced:

Am I checking boxes to measure progress and assure timely completion of necessary actions within a complex array of projects?

Or am I checking boxes to reassure myself that these activities are meaningful and worthwhile?

Chances and choices

Any chance you’d still be willing to coach?  I have been unable to replace you as of yet.

I pause. I’ve already said I don’t have the time to coach soccer. I’m far too busy at work. I’ve mentioned it to Denette many times. Yet I can feel my chest tighten when I read the words in the email. I can feel them pressing against my paper thin excuse, and I realize its fragility. Why, then, have I built it up to be something solid?

Why indeed. I have a chance to spend precious time with my son. I have the unique privilege of teaching the team some pretty important social, personal, and physical skills. And I love it. My excuse is feeling downright lame.

When I look out over the lengthening panorama of my time with Logan, I realize that there will not be many more chances to spend this time—this unique time—with him. So I have a choice to make. A choice that no longer even feels like a choice.

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