All My Eggs

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As much as I dislike cliché it has its proper application and can be useful; for example, it’s been an ‘all your eggs in one basket’ kind of existence for a while.  I know when I’m doing the wrong thing — like emotional over-investment — but lately, it’s been a little more frenetic, a little harder to choose action from a personal point of view.  I’m trying to be hopeful and there are some things in the works that require me to place those emotional eggs all together.  Lots of eggs, small basket.  There’s been a certain impatience involved. 

People misunderstand so many things.  Patience is not reliable.  To borrow from Yoda, hope can lead to failure, failure to misunderstanding which leads to disappointment.  That means being upset.  That’s why putting your emotional eggs in one basket is a risky course to take (hence the cliché).

Being upset is something that we all share.  People do it in different ways; some get angry, some sad, some anxious.  I’m a great big jumble of all of these emotions and many more.  But what is the result of all this emotional jumbling?

The outcome seems to be a defeated, tired sense of being overwhelmed when we spend our energies in this way.  As for me, I’m really tired of feeling overwhelmed over the wrong life situations.  I’d rather feel stress over a productive thing than an unproductive thing.  If my basket of eggs is going to be broken, I want it to happen for something I’ve worked toward and not merely a bad choice.  That way the smashed eggs have a certain sense of validity and not a random, unreasonable quality; I can accept the former but not the latter.

“People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness.”

– Albert Ellis

Complaining is an easy way out, and doing something to ease discomfort can feel almost impossible, but the truth is that resolution of those discomforts can happen.  When you’re bipolar it can feel like nothing’s happening, like you’re standing still and there’s no motion in your universe.  It may or may not be true.  More than likely it’s a misperception, because the truth is, you can’t always see from the inside.  You can be making headway without seeing the motion of change.  Instead, you have to look at the truth of result.

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What is it we’re supposed to feel?  And when?  Is there some specific direction our emotions must take, or some guiding force that we’re supposed to follow?  God is well and good for some, reason is good for others, but I fear it is speculation that runs rampant in most of us.  I don’t really care what other people believe if it’s positive, formative, worth the effort, makes them happy and doesn’t impinge on other’s freedoms and civil rights.

Lately I’m uncertain how I’m supposed to feel, but I can say that I have made better and more informed guesses as time moves forward.  Good things come along, however small or large, but all of them are welcome.  Bad things happen, too, more than I’d like.  Both are valid.

But I feel more and more that if there is a way out of this ennui, if there is a way to be happy and have a sense of purpose, I’ve got to buckle down and make the hard decisions about what’s best for me, and making really true and good decisions is a big responsibility.

So what is this?  Why do I feel and what does it mean to be uncertain?  Does it mean always questing for answers or searching for ‘rightness’?  Does it mean being uneasy about the act of making a decision and not the decision itself?  Or is it merely the tension of the unknowable, the unsolvable?

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Some people pray, some very good people.  And while I respect that choice it’s not a good one for me since I am by definition an agnostic.  I don’t see prayer the way others might and although I understand the desire to pray, I don’t see me depending on prayer for result.  Praying to ask for change within yourself is perfectly fine in my opinion, but praying to make someone else solve your problems doesn’t work for me.

Some people dissect the problem, dissect the emotions, run them through the excruciating process of examining each and every emotion, each perception, and seek validation, seek motive.  I’m in this league but by no means do I choose to be in it;  I’m forced to it because some of the realities of my past makes this self-examination a requirement, as much as I dislike it.  I think most of us could say the same.

So with each day comes new insight that must be examined in minute detail, each and every decision questioned, all motives suspect.  It’s easy when in this mode of thinking to dither until absolutely nothing gets done and all you have is a great big bowl of emotional ‘scrambled eggs’.  All you create is a messed up emotional state of high anxiety and the perception of abject failure.  How very hateful.

Sometimes you don’t need to question, you need to knock it off and act.  You don’t always need examination, you need determination, you need application.  The last thing you need to exhibit is uncertainty and yet we all are victims of our own.  If you are always uncertain, then you are always unable — if you do not act on your best intention.

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

– George Bernard Shaw

When you’re bipolar and it comes to being certain when making decisions, questionable logic can be the very problem you’re trying so hard to avoid.  And acting out emotionally or (even worse) emotional thinking is usually a mistake, and often a very big mistake.  You have to learn to choose as best you can.  You have to do your best to make decisions that make sense, that you can act upon.

But we’re human, and humans make mistakes.  Humans don’t necessarily like to be the ones that are blazing the trail; more often than not, they like to follow.  It’s safer.  You never know what you’re going to encounter when you’re the one at the front of the line.  Humans encounter uncertainty from moment to moment.  So my being uncertain is all right and in fact, it could be considered the norm for everyone.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

– Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa is a great illustration of the best in a human, and the above quote certainly shows the depth of understanding she had of humans in need.  She believed very strongly that prayer works, true, and while we might disagree on the issue of prayer, one thing is true: she was an action person.  She went among the lepers, the most destitute and poor, the most downtrodden persons imaginable and she touched them, showed love to them, instilled a sense of hope.  She was more than just a nun with a noble heart, she was in the front of the line, blazing the trail.

I admire what she’s done.  I don’t know that I could do it, but then again, I’m not going to be canonized any time soon.  But the one state of mind that Mother Theresa didn’t radiate was uncertainty.  She knew exactly what her mission was.  How could a person not admire the certainty, the commitment and the result of her outreach?

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There are so many people who understand exactly where they’re going.  I would like to be more like them, better able to make clear-cut decisions without much fuss.  When it comes to working, for example, I can make very good decisions, make good calls, do the right thing.  But when it comes to my insides?  Well, that’s going to take a lot more work.  Like I said, I’d like to throw out the pain of personal decision-making and be my own go-to guy and just act, move forward with confidence, do the right thing.  I’d like to be my best and very own trailblazer.

Not as easy as it sounds.  But it is possible.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

I am, however, moving toward decisions that will greatly affect me, my future, my outlook.  There are many examples to illustrate but let’s take just one: making good beginnings.  Most people don’t consider what it means to make a good beginning.  In fact, most people don’t recognize a beginning at all.  But were they to spend some time thinking about it, they’d be able to follow the trail of a situation in their lives and go back to where it all began.

And a beginning can be as simple as saying yes.  Or no.  A beginning can be portentous or its potential hidden from view.  A beginning is a seed that falls to earth.

But what seed?  Where in the field was it cast?  We don’t always recognize that which we sow, and so do not know if it is a good thing to eat or a poisonous, noxious weed.

Does it matter?  Of course it does.  Can’t eat a noxious weed.  But it’s hard to know at first what you’re growing, and the noxious weeds that are the results of poor decision in your personal life can be really odious, indeed.  We all grow some weeds.

“Everyone has to make their own decisions. I still believe in that. You just have to be able to accept the consequences without complaining.”

– Grace Jones

But being aware of your decisions and more importantly of when you’re actively making poor decisions, well, that’s a great skill to learn.  It’s a true survival skill.  And making a fruitful decision is a wonderful thing: smells of good earth, rain, tending, and then growing to a luscious fulsomeness that brings you joy.  But decisions bear what fruit they will.  Sometimes the best decisions at the time turn out to be the worst decisions imaginable.  But you never know until there is a result, until it becomes apparent.  I’d rather bear the consequences of a decision made in good faith gone bad than make a bad decision at the outset and then complain about the result.  The incredible Grace Jones has it right.

I guess what I’m saying is that I must watch those beginnings very carefully until I know whether to pull the noxious weed or pluck the matured, perfect fruit.

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