Monthly Archives: December 2012

decisions

yesterday we went car shopping. after driving the sixth test car, in which we were quite interested, the salesperson made us a very tempting offer. we did the rational thing and retired for a family powwow to a nearby fast food place. after briefly going through the pros and cons of another car that was quite attractive, the decision to accept the offer came fast and unanimous.

then we finalized the deal, and the question of warranty insurance came up. my husband left the decision up to me. it had gotten dark outside, i was getting tired from a day of car shopping, and suddenly that decision, which was much less important, and involved much less money, suddenly began to wear on me. after 30 minutes of back and forth, we finally came to a decision on that one, too.

afterwards we went to an east indian restaurant. i hadn’t been to one for a while and chose to eat a bit more than i had planned.

(hold on, i’m going somewhere with this :))

before i went to bed, i realized that i hadn’t done any exercise yet. what to do, what to do? go for a

the fool, a tarot card

image by ark in time on flickr

walk, use the stationary bike, or dance downstairs in my studio? argh! i hadn’t been outside enough and the stationary bike would be really easy, and my studio is beautiful! then i decided to just quickly draw a tarot card and drew the fool. pretty clear image: the fool is on a hike. so i went for a walk.

what i found really interesting was that each step underscored what we know about decision making:

the first step, when we decided to buy the car, was very much carried out along the lines of rational decision making. we gathered all the information, didn’t get swayed by cute arguments (“it has heated seats and adjustable cup holders!”) and didn’t act without reflection.

and then decision fatigue started to set in. i started getting tired, my glucose level went down, and things started to slow down.

by the time i reached the east indian restaurant and one of my favourites, palak paneer (spicy spinach with fresh cheese curds), was particularly well cooked, ego depletion was in full force – all my rational “muscle” was used up, and my food choice was made by that little gremlin inside of me jumping up and down, slobbering with anticipation of devouring yet another tasty morsel.

it was the last situation that i found perhaps the most interesting. typically i consider myself a happy and vigorous decision maker (note to self: ask family how delusional i am with that assessment.) and yet, here i was like a deer in the headlight – quick, tell me with way to go! it looks like indecision is not as well researched as decision . but there was another level to it: i knew at some level that i did not want to choose any of the options. but because a) i want to see myself as someone who engages in at least moderate exercise and b) the option of not doing anything was VERY tempting, i could not add that forth option. instead i head to tell myself that “i don’t know what to do.” i knew EXACTLY what i wanted to do, which was nothing! having removed my favourite option, the next best thing i came up with is to shift the burden of decision to someone/something else. i wonder how often that happens?

by the way, the walk was lovely. the moon, still almost full, poured a magical light over the neighbourhood full of sparkling christmas lights.

christmas, sin and innocence

kayden, a baby the christian story is one that keeps intriguing and baffling me. what is this thing that we’re celebrating today?

in the mountainous region of the german speaking alps, where i grew up, the image of the naked little baby jesus in the manger is the predominant one for the christmas story. maybe this is one of the things that pulls us so, maybe this is part of the new covenant: replacing sin with innocence.

not that i know what sin is, or what innocence is, but i have a sense of them: that innocence is the fresh, unspoiled purity of a newborn – oh, more than that: it is the embodiment of the deep, all-loving awe that inspires us as we see, feel, connect with such a precious being.

sin, on the other hand, that word makes me think of burden, of separation, defilement and the destruction of innocence – an image that comes up is that horrible one, of the newborn thrown out in the garbage.

this is extreme. both images, in fact, are extreme, and if we pitch them against each other, we will only experience unhappiness. what can we do, then, and, seeing that today is christmas eve, what can we take from the image of the newborn baby jesus?

i know that nothing will stay fresh or unspoiled forever – be it a newborn, a landscape, a beautiful object, a relationship. that includes my relationship with the divine. but what i also know is that purity appears again and again, and even more so, that i can always reach for that deep, all-loving awe. i can always keep my heart open for that, and that will, i hope, protect me. maybe not from the smaller burdens that i heap upon myself and others as i imperfectly walk through the day, unmindful and disconnected so often, hurtful sometimes. i fervently hope, though, that the knowledge, memory and experience of the purity of this all-loving awe will protect me from the ultimate sin of throwing away that wondrous goodness.

and that even if i do, there is a chance that the ever-returning purity of love and grace will touch me and awaken me from sin, that this awakening will come in the middle of that cold night and touch me with its light.

this is what i muse today, this christmas eve morning. may you all be blessed.