Monday, March 2, 2009

Excerpts, Spring 2007; Choice vs Decision

From a journal two springs ago

Mon 1034

Perhaps something I should do is to take notice of each moment that requires a choice from me; and of each moment I make a choice

There’s a deeper, more automatic level of choice, such as, even though I choose each minute I sit in this chair, I don’t have to think over it each time I choose. That’s one of those things I guess our minds recognize, that this is not a choice that needs to rise to the front of someone’s awareness.

This idea of making choices intrigues me. It’s another thing like matter breaking down to molecules down to atoms and etc. How far into infinity does it go? Because if I’m making choices about who I think I’ll marry, or if I want to go to Colo or Alaska, those are obvious points of choice, but how intimate do these choices go? Can we really take responsibility for every choice, no matter of how micro a level it is on? I choose to sit in this chair; I choose to be writing this…are we ultimately operating from increasingly smaller levels of choice that go very deeply into our very moments?

Perhaps these are the things that Sharon can give me support it…to see if I’m on the right track.

What kind of choosing is involved when there are positives and negatives regarding either alternative. I guess it means there might be a part of me that is driving the choice a certain direction—some old belief, or maybe some circumstance—legitimate situations where there either is no choice, or at some level we perceive there is no choice, I mean, to us it feels as if we had no choice.

Like I had a choice about leaving home today and maybe visiting with Don. I felt ambivalent about it. And I remember a real pull of tension inside when I was making the choice. My pleasure at being home conflicting with feeling (with some intensity) that it is time for a visit. That’s where the desires that influence the choices conflict and seem to be at an impasse. And it does have that two immovable forces in collision feeling to it too. Lots of energy pushing in opposition.

Perhaps it’s helpful to have an ability to assess more consciously the choices we usually don’t know we’re making.

What Tina said really struck me; about how all the time she and Gene ‘choose’ to be together.

It’s on a deeper level than the fact that

Joy called, quite a while ago, and so I didn’t finish that sentence. Maybe I’ll remember it later, just like I remembered what I’d read in the Buddha/Married book…something one of her interviewees did: set his watch to beep every hour so he would be reminded to check in to himself and be aware of how he felt. I didn’t set my watch, but I’ve been reminding myself to do it. Probably not regularly, but still, I wouldn’t have thought myself capable of having that kind of awareness.

So Joy and I talked about choice. I almost get this apprehension of ‘choice’ being a sort of core of being. Something elemental, as if ‘choice’ is the essence of god. Like maybe it’s choice that holds our very atoms together—if it is random where an electron will be, isn’t it a matter of ‘choice’ where it is?

So anyway, at any given moment we are making a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. We often feel as if there IS no choice, when that is a mistaken belief. Joy said since she’s been a teenager she’s lived her life at that level of choice—knowing she’s choosing something and what the consequences are, I have lived long at a level of believing my choices were limited. That there were areas I believed I didn’t have a choice.

And choice implies responsibility, which I guess means knowing and accepting the consequences of one’s actions.

I suppose knowing yourself, means knowing when you’re making a choice at many deeper levels of choice. It’s funny how the word “choice” differs from “decision”. Or decide. Now I can choose whether to pursue that or not—the difference between divide, and choose, and if it means anything.

A little later yet:

I wonder if some of it is the beauty of this day. I felt a desire to go out and explore our property. This is a good time for it because the new growth hasn’t choked off the deer pathways. I saw a herd of elk a few weeks ago heading for the little creek and they made some pretty clear paths. I’m a little surprised at just how spongy the ground feels, though. It’s very soft and it just makes me wonder about how solidly some of the trees that are close to the house are rooted. Anyway, there was a very pretty light on the ferns and trees. A lot of moss. I felt happy, or buoyed, or something, walking in there.

I was also heartened by some insights yesterday afternoon before they came home. The fact that the ways I object to Gary’s treatment of me—has to do with my sense that he’s treating me as if I’ve meant him ill will. As if a question I’ve asked him has been directed personally at him to criticize him. I think that’s a lot of what I react to, is he’s treating me like someone who has deliberately done him harm. It’s just never occurred to me to step back from my reaction and address that. Perhaps in each of those moments I can stay present long enough to tell him that when I say something, my intent is to inform, and not wound. Perhaps he really believes I’m trying to wound him deliberately when I ask him to change his behavior.
Somehow, yesterday, I saw a logical way where maybe we could find our way back to being warmer with each other.

Sometimes, I’m honestly not sure if I loved him for the right reasons. At the time I thought he delighted me, but had I known then what I do now (and I did have some hints), would I have assured myself I loved him? Maybe the main reason I “loved” him was that he seemed like a suitable partner to marry, and I was tired of being single. Maybe he was just the most likely person around when I began to really WANT to have a marriage and a family. That made him look pretty good, and tipped my perceptions toward feeling I was “in love” with him. I honestly don’t know whether that was the case or not. I should have gotten it how he takes honest communication personally, feels criticized and then behaves resentfully; there were strong messages in the doubts I had about his mother. So I’m just not certain from this vantage if I’d REALLY loved HIM, or if I loved the possibilities of getting on with my life that he represented. Which may have led me to see a relationship with him through a softer lens than I might ordinarily. So the standard idea of trying to recapture something lost by thinking of what drew us together in the first place; I’m not sure that’s really valid here. I don’t think I’m really choosing Gary…I’m choosing AGAINST disrupting our household, putting our boys through a few brutal years—I just don’t honestly know that this is something they could pass through unscathed. If Gary and I can’t do marriage very well, I can’t imagine that we could have anything but an emotionally upsetting divorce.

I AM going to try, though, to stay present so if he acts passively aggressive to me I can breathe a little space into it and instead of “hit him back”I can reveal myself instead.

Anyway, all this stuff I’ve seen in him these past years tells me that if I feel he resents me, then that means he must feel he has a reason to. And perhaps what’s been missing is that I haven’t explicitly told him in those moments that I haven’t intended to wound him.

I had a thought, an optimism, maybe that that could turn around our dynamic. Maybe let us feel friendly toward each other again, even affectionate, and be able to have the boys have a home grounded in good will, if not necessarily romantic love…

1 comment:

Lori said...

I am curious how your past and your present fit together. Did you clarify that you hadn't intended to wound him? Was he able to hear you?

You have made me think about some of my own relationships.