Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's all in the picture

As previous post attests to, my year is not exactly starting off with a bang.  Or perhaps it is, just not the bang for which we all hope*.

Which begs the question...

...for what do I hope?


Those are big words with a myriad of meanings, each meaning different depending on to whom you are speaking, what day it is, and if Venus and Mars are aligned.  Meaning of those words aside, I understand all too well the pit falls that come into play when running after happiness, measuring fulfillment, and longing for contentment.  Each action negating the thing for which you are attempting to attain.  The "running after" puts happiness farther away with each step, the mere act of "measuring" assures unfulfilled moments, and...well, certainly "longing for" pushes contentment off with a force equal to the longing.

                  Is there an equation for that?        


So here the deal:
                      I don't know exactly that for which I hope.

I can't name it, but oddly enough I can see my hope in snapshot form**.  I don't have succinct words to write about it, but I can feel hope in my bones when I imagine certain pictures in my head.  I have learned (although I have to remind myself of this often these days) that thinking about my pictures can break the negative cycle of "longing for", "measuring", and "chasing after."  Here is one of my favorite snapshots that gets me through these tough times:

Warm night sweet with ocean breeze, darkness with small lights, flowing soft cloth, light touch, glasses of wine, smiles and laughter, deep conversation, kind listening eyes.

I could go on, but you get the picture (ba da boom).  For me, when I don't know that for which to hope, when words fail me, and people do as well, I think about my pictures and the feelings they evoke.  The one I shared above is of companionship, warmth, and understanding.  For me it rings of touch, taste, and sound.  It brings contentment as I linger in the picture.  If I never experience that picture, it does not diminish the effect it has on me nor does it take away it's power to bring contentment.

...for what do I hope?

Perhaps I hope for the picture.  Or perhaps I simply hope for the feelings associated with the picture.  And if thinking about the picture brings those feelings, is that not enough?***

Perhaps not forever, but for me, now,
                                  's all in the picture.

Footnotes for the others who overthink.

*  Although here is exactly where I want to start talking about it, I'll spare you (for now) the lecture on Conscious Uncoupling, where I tell you how we are each others' teachers, where I explain how there are no mistakes only experiences, and where I tell you that even through the pain of change and the heartbreak of ending, there is good.  Instead of lecturing, I will ask each of you to get the book Conscious Uncoupling:  Living Happily Even After. I think EVERYONE should read it.  Yes you the happily married person, yes you the single person, yes you the person going through a break up now and YES YES YES especially you the heart broken person who can't seem to love again.

**  Glasser calls this a quality world picture: a picture you hold in your mind that represents the feeling/goal/value that you strive to reach or maintain.  Please forgive me as this is likely a bastardized version of Glasser.  Choice Theory deals with the values behind the quality world pictures, talks about the pictures changing but the values remaining the same.  I would say the value represented here has to do with my basic human need for deep intimate connections. But I have learned that thinking about my quality pictures brings contentment, a by-product of the process that I find pleasing.

***  Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate day dreaming your life away and not accomplishing things or even striving to make your pictures a reality.  I am not against measurements (do you know what I do for a living?).  I am no stranger to striving, it is a value I hold at my very core.  I also do not think that longings are even bad.  I am simply sharing something that I have found to be an effective way of calming my mind, adjusting my attitude, and focusing my energies.

Bella doing homework in Jamaica

And if you are lucky, and you pay close attention,
particularly in the quiet moments,
your quality pictures can come to life.