Tuesday, March 23, 2010

why we do this, revisited

I still don't really know why we do intense, demanding, exhausting rides.
let me be more precise: I am unclear as to my own motivations to do things like that.
some possible reasons:

because it's there.
because it's good for me.
because I feel like I should.
because if others are doing it, I can do it.
because I'll feel better for having done it.
because it will distract me.
because it will hurt and sometimes hurt feels good.

these are sounding a little sick, aren't they?

I don't know that we can really understand our motivations behind much of what we do. yes, I vacuum and dust my house because I enjoy being in clean environments. but why? what lies behind that?
like the clean desk theory: we've all heard that a cluttered desk indicates a cluttered mind.
and that a clean desk implies an obsession with neatness. but what if one just functions best when they know where things are? how deeply do we need to look into our behaviors?
anyone who has read more than a handful of my posts could probably assess me as having the following traits:
determined, focused, committed, rigid, tenacious, dependable, purposeful, unswerving, stubborn . . .
I'm certain you could probably find a few more.
I accept all of these things about myself, yet there are times when I am truthfully a little uncertain of my motivations. the surface layer, yes. but down deeper, hmm.

then again, although the unexamined life may not be worth living, the overly-examined life can be exhausting, draining, and circular.

this morning I visited with some good friends whose dad (father-in-law, grandpa) had just died. he had been diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma years ago, and after three years of chemo and eight years of remission, his body finally gave in to it. the last days of his life were spent at home, with hospice support, and this touches just a little too closely all of my sensitive, achy places.
in talking with this gentleman's son-in-law this morning, I shared that I had, quite predictably, been thinking a lot about the whole life-transition-death process, and I still don't really understand it. my friend replied, I don't think we every truly do.
I think he's right.
I think what we do is to work through as much as we can, come to agreements with our higher powers and our inner selves, make peace with where we are, and let it settle into the backgrounds of our lives.
I thought I had it figured out years ago, and now I find that I really don't.

so we examine as much as we can, digging as deep as the ground and tools we own will let us, and then we have to patch things back up and move on. sprinkle a little water, hope that through our digging we planted something hopeful, rich and positive, and find the faith to keep moving forward. faith that what we don't understand will someday be shown to us, faith that we operate in our own best interests, and faith that the universal goodness within us all is somehow working together to move us each toward our own best self in our own best future.

No comments: