Saturday, January 16, 2016


When I step up to the mirror, I can see who I am. I think, or presume, I know who I am. I ought to know who I am, right? That image is I a reflection of my past. The grey hair. The scars. The furrows on the face. The beady dark eyes. The crooked teeth. Except for the teeth, I earned each of those dings. They’re marks on my soul calendar. My ugly mug is not the present or the future. Can’t see the future in a mirror. The “present” is, at my age, not on the trajectory toward growth. Maybe a rejuvenation cycle, and it’s not overly active for growth. Maintenance? Naw. Declining these days.
     So, who we are when we’re livin’ the dream is a sum of our past. Our default action-set is based on past experiences. We default to what we know we’re gonna do. We are fixed. Okay, I am fixed. I live in habits. The sum of what felt good. What worked. The expedient. The proven. Click, bang. Social psychological research shows that we – okay I - am twice as likely to choose something familiar when I take a risk – even when I know that the result will be a losing proposition – “better the Devil you know than...” We work from the sphere of “effect”, we don’t work from the sphere of “cause”.
     I live now in the past tense. What’s up with that? How could you be so stupid, Jean-o? Destined to repeat mistakes because it’s easier? As the Great WC Fields used to sneer, “Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump!” This is why Fields never carried much cash. He worked vaudeville theaters throughout the country and always deposited his earnings in a local bank under a newly created, outrageous assumed name. They gave him receipts which he carefully burned so no thief could steal his money. Did he write things down? Heck no. Did he remember? No. But, he felt real good about this clever solution to his fear of being robbed. And, he thought, he’d come back some day and they’re remember him –after all, he was a celebrity! Right?
     Past successes. Celebrity status. Big fish in a little pond. The past is quicker. Impulsively losing (again) is much easier than making the effort to think, plan and decide to do something else. Even on insignificant things like breakfast cereal, why do you buy that cereal? Think that’s connected to your diabetes? Effort. Who’s got time for effort? Not somebody as important as me! I’ve got things to do. I’m busy. Easier. No decisions. We feel comfortable with our comfy house-slipper decisions. Even if we’ve wound up in jail. Or sleeping in a cardboard box. Even at the bottom, the very bottom of the bottom, the power of the known, the familiar, the predictable is huge. The past tense makes us less emotionally tense.
So, I simply look at what is going on around me and project from the experiences I’m comfortable with onto the situation and act as if that is that old event, even if this newly unfolding experience is actually totally different. Or I see something, anything, that looks familiar, and that non-conscious cue is a trigger to an old memory and I flee the present with wings on my feet. Neat, huh? I do this because I am lazy. Change is hard. If you change, then I gotta change. So, I exert my unconscious authority and act without thinking and respond to “the way it is”. And, am I gonna doubt me? No way! It’s the rules.
     That’s when things get really tense. Most of these kind of decisions are wrong.

At least we should be able to move into the present, right? But, to do that means not basing decisions on the whole mass of past results we have carefully gathered. Is living in the present even at all possible? Are we are wearing our past like a suit of body-armor – to protect us?
     Not at all. You can step out of the body-armor into the present. You get there through creativity – creating something which has never been created before. A painting. A smile. A cake. A friendship. A kiss on the cheek of a child. A visit to a person who is ill. Something you’ve never done before is a creation. Creations only happen in the present. Small or large, they are the new. Never done before. Never exactly ever done again.
     Once you are in the present, where will you go? Now that you have stopped aging, because the present only exists in this moment, it is age-free living.

Time is a funny place. There is time when you look back – memory. But, when you look forward, what do you see? A non-specific potential. An expectation of something that might happen.  Plans. Hopes. Wishes.  Have you ever traveled into the soul realm of Wishes?
     It’s somewhere near the Neighborhood of Fear.
Man in the Mirror
I'm gonna make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

*PMA – Positive Mental Attitude
When I was a practitioner of PMA* I used to say, “Everyday in every way I’m getting better and better!”

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

The first six months of the The Three Simple Questions bLog is available in book form!

JACK MAGNUS / Readers Favorite Review:
BRENDA HAMMOND / GoodReads Review -
    "You should buy this."
MARK KRAUSMAN  / GoodReads Review -



No comments:

Post a Comment