Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Horse of Another Choler

 Habitual things such as writing every day, brushing your teeth, making sure Sally has water available in at least two different places, exercising, reading, and the like produce beneficial results much of the time; these are preferences for overall well-being, health, if you will, and the general sense of comfort.  With the possible exceptions of writing and reading, they are not apt to provide adventure or excitement.  You cannot, for instance, recall the last time brushing your teeth produced much in the way of excitement, although there was that incident with Sally's water dish that did produce rising cholers if not outright adventure.

Habit takes over when you make at home or order out the same thing for breakfast, forgetting the part about coffee, which is more related to identity than to habit.  Mornings, you begin to identify things after you've had a few sips of coffee.  Hand.  Cup.  Lips.  Habit often becomes so intense in its habitual way that it precludes such vital elements as pleasure, apprehension, the smug sense of self-indulgence, anxiety, and the like, all important spectators in the Today Show that is you rather than the one on television.  You spend time after those opening sips of coffee, thinking about the benefits of varying routines, thinking about the new sets of problems and accommodations change invokes.  This produces the immediate surge of anarchy you need to cause the day to move into some pattern suggesting adventure rather than routine.

Good as it is to get the endorphin surge from finishing a project, which in turn sets you about in scatter-gun fashion until you are kidnapped by a new project, there is adventure to be had when you are mid-project, not at all sure where it will take you.  It is not so much that you enjoy anxiety or uncertainty--you don't--as it is a need to experience these feelings, perform the emotional equivalent of keeping in touch with them.  It is numbing to always experience the sense of having learned something or to have made connections between two or three things previously discreet for you; there has to be some valleys of doubt, impatience, and anxiety in the interstices to help buoy the enthusiasm when it comes.

Sometimes when you are at sea, lost as it were in a revolving door of options, a lovely, warm sense comes over you, making you realize you are as well in your element when you are confused as you are when you are enthused, focused.  You find yourself using the line-of-sight method employed so many thousands of years ago by the early mariners, their memory banks filled with pictures of places by which they can now cast their course of action.  Confusion is as much a familiar sight as the stucco buildings you drove through in your last trip to Los Angeles.  Self-doubt is a great old pal, reminding you of class reunions, accidental meetings of old chums, even accidental encounters with former students who, by any account are doing well, perhaps better at their age than you when you were their age.

Doing what you enjoy seems at times as though you are playing out a habit, which of itself is not bad by any means; it is good to catch yourself tweaking and adjusting the exuberant feelings you experience in such moments.  Doing what you enjoy can lead you into that exciting state some favor when they gamble.  The state is called Risk, which is another acupuncture point on the metaphoric body of the spirit.

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