Monday, July 18, 2011


So help me Zeus and All His Glory, but I just ate a partially frozen Crunch bar for breakfast... and I don't even like the bloody things.  I am a chocolate snob, and most commercially made milk chocolate isn't worth the caloric intake, in my opinion. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking-more for you!) But it was sitting there in the butter keeper under the box of Land O'Lakes...taunting me. So I ate it. The only thing I enjoyed about it was the crisp snap of the chocolate slab and the cereal crunchies: otherwise, it could have been made out of sweetened cardboard for all I care. It was a choice-probably not the best for breakfast. I'll admit that I had been up all night, so it was only breakfast by a technicality ( it was 7 a.m.).

We make choices all the time: what to wear to work, what to have for dinner, what to watch on TV, who to allow our circle of friends. Everything we do is influenced by the choice we make daily. Turn left or right at the stop light? See? Nothing is simple, yet we often make choices spur of the moment, without thinking things through and without considering the outcome. I'm not saying that we need to become emotionally constipated by analyzing everything..that's hardly a healthy thing to do and tips the OCD sale just a bit too far...but I do think that the bigger things, the long range and father-reaching choices in life sometimes need to be examined with a little more depth than, say, having a candy bar for breakfast.

Dear sweet, gullible, innocent Forrest Gump would tell you that life is just like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're going to bite into....Forrest, buy the way, had better script writers than you and his life- although simple and filled with serendipity- always contained something exciting and news worthy. Real life isn't always that way. Most of it is, in fact, very ordinary and mundane....and I like it that way.  I like predictable and steady without surprises as a rule. Please don't up-dump my apple cart. It's often not what I end up with and sometimes I feel like I'm going from disaster to another, from one crisis to the know, the truly sucky stuff we all end up with when we just want a little normal and bland. Vanilla is good. That's why we crave it in coffee and comfort foods.

Conflict is not always a bad thing. I learned this from my friend and mentor Tom Crum. Tom is genuinely one of those human being that has earned the title of awesome. His methods of conflict resolution, stress management and peak performance mentoring  using ancient Aikido methods is being implemented  all over the world by  major corporations such as McDonald's and  The Disney Corporation. We are trained from the time we are born that conflict means there is going to be a negative experience. Conflict is always trouble: it is disturbing, upsetting, and creates a fight or flight response. That's what we're taught, but it's not necessarily reality. Through a workshop of Tom's I attended year ago and reading his book The Magic of Conflict, I learned that every conflict is an opportunity to learn and grow-for both parties- and it's how you approach the issue that determines the out come. The conflict can be about anything, but refusing to be open and resistance are the causes of most conflict going bad.( I guess the Borg mantra is right: "Resistance is futile." ) Conflict approached openly and with empathy resolves the situation and builds relationship rather than walls that dive us. Most Conflict is fear driven: you are going to loose something. What if you met conflict with the attitude that you were going to gain something instead? Now that's empowering and validating for everyone, and there are no losers .Everyone comes away feeling good about themselves and better about the situation. That is truly magick to me-bending the self-will and the situation into something positive and beneficial.

We chose who we become and how we move through Life. It doesn't mean we are wealthy, or meet society's definition of  being successful, handsome or worship worthy. For example, right now I have approximately $ 4.00 in assorted change to my name, a cup of fresh, hot coffee, there is some ice cream in the freezer for later, the house is quiet, I'm writing this blog and the whole world as captured in the moment is pretty freakin' awesome. I honestly can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. Satisfaction  means  creating joy from the things we have around us...and folks, I sometimes forget the lesson.  Just like you, I will hang on to old hurts, perceived snubs, invalidation and other crap and be perfectly justified in doing so...but I would rather be happy and satisfied with what I have in the present moment. It is not just about chopping wood and carrying water...sometimes it involves shoveling shit, too. Clinical depression steals my joy whenever it can and whenever I allow it. I can turn on some pretty convincing negative self talk when the chemicals in my brain are messed up and the synapses aren't firing correctly. It's taken a long time (and I mean years) to be able to recognize what's happening and take a step back to regroup. Depression is a disease and not a choice, but choices can be made that will help restore balance and make it less debilitating.

The main ingredient that's missing from many of our choices is presence.. I hate those types of catch phrases because they over-simplify the issue while sounding just a tad self-serving and smug. Being present in the moment isn't always as easy as it sounds-ask anyone who meditates. There are a million things bouncing around inside your head, distractions which Buddhists call 'monkey mind'. Fleeting thoughts, chatter and  flashes of stimulus keep us from centering as the mind monkeys scamper about. ( My monkeys don't just scamper, the little fuckers swing from tree to tree on vines across the room and scream.) I have to make the choice to sit down, get centered and ground myself to the spot and stick with it. My mind is pretty resistant at times and it's favorite trick is putting me to sleep during meditation, so yet another choice has to me made- to stay awake and be present. The desired result of nothingness comes when I choose to let go of my expectations of what meditation ought to be. Like many people I simply try too hard.

The underpinnings of my personal spiritual practice center around clarity, focus and purpose, which echo the arcane teachings of the Magus: To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent. These, too are choices which concern not only the individual aspects, but their synergy to the Whole Purpose, the outcome which for me is connection to the Ultimate Divine. In simpler terms: if I sit down, shut up and hang on, God/dess usually shows up in some form or the other.

Choices affect our past, present and future...and everything thing is a choice. Living is a choice. Not living is a choice. How and what you choose is a choice. Having a candy bar for breakfast is a choice...which reminds me, it's past lunchtime and I thought I saw a Snickers bar in the back of the freezer which would go really good with my coffee....


  1. And this isn't just for those who suffer from depression. We all go through this.. to sacrifice means to make sacred and every choice is a sacrifice. Our lives are sacred. I love this post, Kate..thank you for the reminder!

  2. I really enjoyed your post. Lots of lessons to be learned from what you are saying. Thanks!


Thank You for reading Broom With A View - Your comments are welcome and appreciated.