Written by Tara Sitser
(c) Feb 2022
Leadership Team Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project; Animal Rights Activist; Mom of Senegal Parrot, ToQer; Wife of Art Brickman; Chocoholic; Singer/Songwriter/Percussionist; Catch up on the latest Tara's Thoughts – offerings about climate issues, animal rescue, musings about current events, the written word and people who write. Tarasitser.blog
Written by Tara Sitser
(c) Feb 2022
This is an excerpt from Tara’s upcoming book Speaking Truth; Words that Matter co-author, John Glass. More details can be found at www.SpeakingTruthTheBook.com
“If you don’t have a plan for yourself you will end up being a part of someone else’s” –Jim Rohn
“It is much easier to act yourself into a way of feeling than to feel yourself into a way of acting.”
Many of us wonder what we are meant to be doing with our lives. We wait for some sort of emotional sign to tell us that we’ve found the right path in life. Some people do have a certainty about the direction they want to go. They are the lucky few who just know what their life is for. The rest of us search for our place in this world or just go along with the plans others have for us.
But we are given only so much time on this planet and we each have to decide how we want to spend that time.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
It is a common mistake to wait for the “right” feeling before you make a decision. That may happen. Or it may not, keeping you rooted in place while you wait for what may never come. Love, for instance, is all too commonly misunderstood as an emotional state. We want the fireworks and the “chemistry” to be the indication of who we should choose to be with. And when the emotional state changes or fluctuates we fear our love has died. But in fact, love is not an emotion. Love is a decision.
That’s a big left-turn from where most people sit so I’m going to say that again:
Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision. It’s a decision you make every day to act in someone else’s best interest. You don’t always feel the sparkle. That comes and goes. But you DECIDE that each day you will make the choices that support the well-being of your spouse, your children, your students, etc. We don’t always feel like cleaning up after a sick child. But we make the decision to do it because that is the logical extension of our love for them.
“Love is not a feeling. Love is the will to extend yourself for your own or another’s spiritual growth and well-being.” -Dr. M. Scott Peck
The same holds true for personal choices of career and lifestyle. Yes, there ought to be a balance between what your rational brain tells you needs to be done and the life choices that will affirm the spiritual and creative sides of your being. But those are also a product of your own understanding of who you are – an acknowledgement of the gifts you’ve been given. Not a surrender to an emotional state that may or may not have any connection to real world circumstances.
I knew a man who use to make decisions based on whatever popped into his mind first. He thought there must be something magical about that first thought because it came along with a feeling of discovery. That feeling trapped him into many foolish decisions and he continued to pay the price for his bad choices until he gave up the notion that it always has to “feel” right.
It all comes down to deciding what’s really important for you to accomplish before you die. Picture yourself on your deathbed looking back at the course of your life. What will you wish you had done with the time you were given here? I don’t mean take a cruise to Greece or play the harp. I’m talking about the activities that connect us to our communities. Things we can do that make the world a little better place to be. When you define what that is and decide to act on it then you will know you’ve found your path. And the better choices seem to be those that involve us in something larger than ourselves.
Another reason many of us don’t see our way clearly is the fear that we will be making the wrong choice. But there are very few choices that are so irrevocable that we cannot change our minds and say, “Well, I tried that and it wasn’t right. I’ll try something else now.” It is not unusual to reinvent yourself over and over as you grow and learn and change.
You only have one life. Figure out what is most important to you and you’ll know how you want to spend the time you’ve been given.
“The choice may have been wrong but the choosing was not.”
“Where your talents and the world’s needs intersect, there lies your vocation.” -Barbara J. Winter
My last post titled “Are You Sick Of Highly Paid Teachers?” generated quite a bit of buzz. At last count 122 comments on Newsvine.com [http://tinyurl.com/hue99jl]
Although clearly labeled satire there were those who took the piece at face value and went to great lengths to argue with what they thought the article was saying. Others expended a lot of energy talking about the “privileges” of being a teacher (short hours, 3 months a year off, etc. ) and asserted that teachers need to step up and shoulder their fair share.
Without re-hashing the conversation (you can read all the comments and my replies on my Newsvine page by using the link above) let me just say that, when read as intended, what is offered is a sarcastic title with a Stephen-Colbert-style text that actually DEFENDS teachers and shows what nonsense it is to think that teachers aren’t already shouldering more than their fair share for far less than they ought to be paid.
Sarcasm: Stating exactly the opposite of what you mean.
Satire: Using humor to show that a point of view or behavior is foolish.
Just recently I’ve seen a number of examples of sarcasm and satire that got interpreted by the viewer as though they were serious statements and a truly surprising misperception of a song lyric that really threw me for a loop.
The focus here is accepting that sometimes the world looks so completely different to the person standing next to you as to be unrecognizable.
The song in question was written by my good friend, singer/songwriter John M. The title of the song is “My Mother In Me” and is, to most listeners, an ode to his mother listing the many ways John’s mother contributed to what is good and right in his life.
“She taught me how to walk in the light and live by the golden rule
And sometimes how to stand and fight. My momma didn’t raise no fool.
What you see is what you get and if you like what you see
Look a little closer – That’s my Mother in Me.”
Someone took great offense to the song hearing – I know not what or why – that it was an insult to mothers. (??!?)
(By the way, it’s a great song. Click on over to John’s web site and give it a listen.)
It seems a great many people these days are looking at what they want to see rather than what is actually in front of them. Others project from within themselves something that isn’t there. Still others, I am told, have a physical brain configuration that makes them incapable of perceiving satire and sarcasm.
How do you talk to someone who is convinced of a reality that your senses and the best evidence available tells you doesn’t exist? Our perceptions are a result of the long chain of choices we’ve made up to this point in our lives. To change how you see something requires that you back-track and reassess previously held beliefs. (Education, by the way, is a big part of how we’ve come to hold our current beliefs. If you have the ability to think critically and analyze your reality rather than just react to it thank a teacher.)
There is an old Jewish saying that goes like this:
“If one man tells you you are a horse ignore him. If two men tell you you are a horse think about it. If three men tell you you are a horse – buy a saddle.”
There is a whole lot of the pot calling the kettle black going on these days. Now, before you react to that statement read on.
For those of you in what we call the “younger generations” who may not be familiar with it, that phrase has nothing to do with skin color. In my grandparents generation most frying pans were made out of iron. Which is a black metal. Most tea kettles – which sat on the stove opposite the frying pan – were silver. Probably made out of aluminum. So the pot calling the kettle black is a reference to those statements where you project your own choices, deficits or actions onto others. Generally others who might have the power to point out to you your own hypocrisy. Here’s one of my favorite Jewish teaching sayings meant to encourage you to look at yourself through other’s eyes before you decide what your reality may or may not be:
“If one person calls you a horse ignore them. If two people call you a horse think about it. If three people call you a horse buy a saddle.”
I’ll end this with one of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard anyone say. “Don’t believe everything you think.” Dr. Wayne Dyer