Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Making decisions

Life as of late seems to be stacking high with decisions. 

I'm not sure if I was always terrible at deciding upon things or if this has been a recent development since high school.  Of course concerning the past, the further back I go, the details become rather foggy. Needless to say, let's bring it all back to the present. The here and the now. 

In life, with everything we do decision-making is inevitable. Every moment of every day, we indeed make choices.  Sometimes we are aware of these choices, others they come from our sub-conscious. We don't even think of them, they just happen, though somewhere from inside us, we have made a choice.

Making decisions. Sigh.

Well, rather, let's take a look at this from a different perspective.  The future.  Another unavoidable subject.  It will come. 

Until scientists are able to invent the human-life remote where we may put life on hold, we shall continue moving forward, our footsteps like the minute hand ticking away on a clock. For as far back as memory will allow, I have been a non-planner planner. What will happen in six months, is as much a mystery as to the existence of giant squids. I've no idea. And yet the time has come where logistical planning seem to be oozing out of the woodwork.  What am I doing from now until summer? What will I be doing from summer until fall? What are my plans and ideas for fall into the winter? Where do I see myself in five years? (ok luckily, I don't yet have to deal with this last question! Phew!)

Not only have these questions been swimming in my own little head, but they seem to spill forth from those around me.  "Fern," they ask, "what are your plans? what are you doing? where are you going?" My answer is oftentimes the same response I offer my own querying mind. "I am not sure yet...but soon I will have an answer"(oftentimes, not said with the utmost of certainty).

I'm not sure. That may very well be my epitaph at this point of time. 

What makes decisions such a difficult task for so many people, myself included?  Why have I placed so much value on the outcomes?  Why oh why, was I given the strong qualities of stubbornness AND being methodical? That just seems unfair! I truly envy those, who are able to just decide like a snap to the fingers. There done.  What are your secrets? Share the decision-making love!

The way I see decisions,  is like the way a person puts together a jigsaw puzzle. There are all these little pieces, with hints of a larger picture waiting to be discovered.  The whole time, you're just looking for pieces, and their neighbouring pieces but never the whole.  (but then really, how can you do a puzzle when looking at the whole? It may very well be impossible).  That is where I currently am at.  In front of me is a bunch of puzzle pieces,  all laid out ready to be put together. I look at each of them. The pieces I have are part of the same puzzle but do not fit together. There are pieces missing.  Maybe they are in the box still, waiting for me to find them to piece together just one section of the scene at a time. 

Currently, the part of the puzzle that I am focused on is an image of a house. Where's the roof? Have you seen a piece with a door? Mirroring my own wonders, of whether it is my time to move onwards, or to stay.  Am I happy where I am?  Where do I wish to be? Do I chose to keep walking away from the house in search of the mountains and wildflowers, or has the smoke coming from the chimney called to welcome me home for rest and repose?  

These are the thoughts that swallow me. It is time to take a step back from the small pieces of the puzzle,  take a deep breathe and relax, maybe make a cup of tea to enjoy, and then take a look at the larger picture.  From there, clarity will come and I be able to look once again at the small pieces, gaining a better perspective of how it will all fit together.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hands Gathering

"We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give"-Winston Churchill

Last night, I hosted my second pot-luck dinner. 
The whole day was filled with excitement, getting the house ready to host guests, preparing a yummy meal to share, and just the anticipation of what the evening would hold. 

Let me begin by saying that it was one of the loveliest evenings I have had in Bozeman thus far.  If you build it, they will come, and come they certainly did!  It began with a slow trickle.  The first awkward moments. Will anyone show up? Is there enough food? What am I going to say? We all experience it. Panic.  Then as if all at once, the flood gates broke and  great wave of folks came pouring in. The panic fades, the questioning subsides and the embracing of the evening ahead sets in.  Front door, back door, so many wonderful people bringing lovingly made food, ready to embrace the unknown.  

I have to chuckle.  Rewind to October.  I hosted a small Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. My roommate, Caroline, and I, having just just recently moved into our new home, had no furniture. Our dinner was served picnic style around a rug. We joked about having dinner parties, where our guests were to bring their own chairs.  Now, flash forward to last night, where everyone was content to sit on the floor in one giant circle, talking, mingling, eating and laughing. One person mentioned how I ought to get rid of the chairs entirely, as the floor was all a person could ever need.  I think as long as you are in good company, the furniture and surroundings no longer are of importance.  They become background, forgotten, non-existent.

New friends were made that evening,  incredible conversations were had, bellies filled with sweet love.  I sunk into bed, weary but smiling, my heart filled with light. As I drifted into sleep, I thought about how incredible we are to have the capacity of bringing people in.  All it takes is for one person. Each of us, with palms open, embracing one another, whether friends or strangers, and saying "I want to know who you are. What is your story?" 


As children, we are fearless, asking questions. Going up to strangers.  Taking a closer look and wondering.  Where along the line of growing up, do we lose that curiosity and the fearlessness of approaching others? Is it a learned behaviour?  Or do we simply lose interest, for as we grow, we are over-stimulated by so much in our surroundings? I wonder.  Upon looking back, I realize that there are great periods where my curiosity sat on the back burner, but as of late, I have begun to renurture that seed. This world, all the people and places around us, from the exotic to right outside our doorstep, holds so many mysteries, discoveries and stories.  How can we not be curious to it? 

Somedays, while out walking, I feel that I am seeing a place for the very first time.  I notice details that go overlooked, I hear an accent from a passerby speaking, and wonder where they are from, what brought them to this place and what they have seen.  I notice the twinkle in a persons eye, and am curious to the things they have experienced.  Never stop being curious, strike up a conversation with a stranger, maybe the person in the grocery store, a passerby, or even your neighbour.  For you never know what you might discover. 

 I feel as folks departed into the night, back to their homes, or onto the next escapade, they left feeling full.  Not just of food, but of life! That wonderful feeling of sharing an evening in the company of others.  I shall remember this gathering for years to come, and feel inspired to keep these dinners happening.  In a word, I would say the night was nourishing. In both mind, body and soul.