Steppin over the Edge

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis Waitley

Oh, the nebulous world of Risky. The definition depends on the day. When I was young, it didn’t seem so risky to climb a ladder, reach a little to paint in that wee corner of the wall. Today, I am older, and the days of climbing ladders has ceased. It is deemed too risky. The wall may still need painted, I just have to find a new way to get it accomplished.

As a nurse, my mind has turned into radar to detect risk. As we rehab our 200 year old home, my job is risk management. With an adventuresome, courageous and competent engineering husband I stay plenty busy in that role!

I use the sliding scale of “risk : benefit” ratio. Many activities carry some degree of risk. However, the benefit may outweigh the potential risk. Conversely, the benefit may be low and the potential risk too high. On occasion, the risk is high for me, but the benefit for mankind may be huge.

“I wondered how many was like me. Like me wanted to be free. Had thought bout leaving, but stayed for some reason. Then somethin happens. Takes you over your edge-that edge of fear not knowin what’s on that other side. Not willin to take the first step to move to some new spot. Then somethin kinda forces your foot. An you step out.”    ” Leo and the Listener”, by Faye Hager

 

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Little Bits

“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self.” Pearl Bailey

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare

These are familiar sayings that we often recall when we are making a decision. We try and find our core which we believe will speak to us and provide us guidance as to a decision.

But does our ‘core’ change? Do experiences change who we are and therefore how we might decide? We are rehabbing a 200 year old home. As we work on the house, I often wonder how the house was originally arranged.  The internal walls have changed many times. Even the external walls have been altered in a few places. But the ‘core footprint’ has remained the same.

Perhaps it is that way with people. The basic core of who we are-kind, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful-remains unaltered as we journey through our lives. Yet, some have experienced hardships and become bitter, cynical, and even hateful. How does that happen? To which self are we to be true. The one pre-hardship? The innocent and naive person? Sometimes I mourn the loss of my innocence and naiveté. Or the new core honed by hardship? Honing can provide new skills-patience, perseverance and tolerance.

Truth, as we understand it, is also tricky. What we once knew-with so much certainty that lives were taken for questioning the truth (such as the world is flat, the sun revolved around the earth…many individuals were  tortured who dared to question that truth of the day). As we grow, learn, and explore our life we may alter our perspective. Is that being a fraud to ourselves? or is that becoming new and fresh again?

“I am a fraud. I have cobbled together my personality from hundreds of little bits. I am simultaneously the most genuine and the most artificial person you will ever meet.”  Sebastian Horsley

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Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

 

Decisions, Decisions!

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Clarity is a valued commodity. How many times do I wish I could look up in the sky, or down on the street and see sentences written by my future of exactly what I should be doing. I have never seen it, and it is not from a lack of trying!

Sometimes I am faced with a clear decision which must be made. I weigh the pros and the cons, discuss with friends, and seek ethereal guidance. I realize that the point of absolute certainty may never arrive, so I make the decision based on the facts I have at hand.

Other times, the need for a decision is not so clear. It isn’t that I must make a decision, it is if I WANT to make a decision. Wanting to make a decision changes things by choice. Sometimes other people are affected by that choice. If others would be unhappy with my selected choice, it could seem that I was callous to their feelings.

Yet,I believe that there are natural ‘change point’ times in a person’s life. Somehow your soul lets you know that it is time for a change. You don’t mean anyone ill will. You don’t mean for your decision to have any negative impact on anyone else. But you know that the time is right for you to make a change.

Such has happened in my life over the last few months. I have been at my current job for 13 years. I like who I work with, and I like what I do. Yet, when I read Steve Jobs tip: “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” I knew that his sentiment rang true for me.

I studied to be a nurse. I moved into the administrative role for the last many years. I have decided to return to working with patients. I will be directing a research department and working with the physicians and patients who come seeking clinical trials. Our first clinical trial is for patients who have had surgery for melanoma. Melanoma is not the most prevalent skin cancer, but it is one of the most progressive. We are working with a company to develop a vaccine to prevent re-occurance of the melanoma.

I am certain that when I look into the mirror in the mornings, there will be days that I wish I wasn’t going to spend my day at work. But if I have to work, I am pretty certain that when I look into the hopeful eyes of a patient who is seeking medical advances for such devastating diseases, that I will be grateful that my days of working will be in an effort to help those who so  desperately need help.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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