Luck

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The fun part is how new this word is 🙂 Just the word though, the concept and controversy regarding luck is millennia old.

And now for the analysis, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up 🙂

I am lucky. Very, outrageously lucky! It always appears to me that I do not control this luck, that it is somehow outside of me despite it happening to me. There is a good measure of self-fulfilling prophecy in there. I am by nature an optimist and my natural state of mind is happy. So it stands to reason (and to rationalists 😛 ) that I should feel lucky and thus influence my actual life in that direction. That’s fine, I don’t actually have a problem with this kind of self-fulfilling prophecies. And I recognize them when my intentional actions are actually part of whatever is happening in my life. Like choosing a pathway, listening to my intuition, stumbling over the right approach with a person based on many years of experience.

Where I actually talk about luck is where my actions, while intentional in the context I made them, have far-reaching consequences that no amount of intuition would have been able to predict. Like when I took my husband’s car one day and had an accident. My husband’s car escaped unscathed, but the accident would have seriously damaged my car… which said husband was taking to the mechanic, who lifted it and discovered two bald tyres.. I don’t want to know what would have happened had those tyres exploded on the big drive we had planned for the weekend… yes, it had been my suggestion to take my car to the mechanic in preparation for the big drive, but I couldn’t have predicted the accident, now could I?

So I am lucky. I have been lucky all my life. It really doesn’t mean that I win the lottery (small prizes, yes, when I can be bothered to play – rarely. That is chance, not luck as I describe it. It also doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to me. They do, and the effects are no more and certainly no less than for anyone to whom bad things happen – that would be everyone. Some of my personality traits (optimism, happiness, also an ability to see the good in situations) make it easier for me to deal with the bad stuff. But I don’t think that has much to do with the fact that I have become accustomed to hearing at least once a week from various people about how lucky I am. I have to pay attention. That is another factor, I notice how lucky I am, I feel it and I therefore act in possibly a more confident way which in turn opens more doors and makes me aware of more opportunities. But I am no more likely than others to get that job I have been looking for. Again, that has nothing to do with the luck I am describing.

Another thing is that feeling that luck comes from outside of my control, actually from outside of me. Like a gift. So I do no subscribe to the “don’t say you’re lucky or your luck will disappear” theory. On the contrary, I often acknowledge my luck. There is maybe a bit of superstitition in there, a reversal of that theory I described above: if I don’t acknowledge my luck it will disappear. I like to think that I am courteous though, so I acknowledge gifts 🙂

Fun analysis remains so if it’s brief. I am not complaining or try to understand my luck – no interest or benefit for me. I am intersted in the limitations (ah, that lotto ticket!) and grateful for the gift. I am also aware that I need to share it with others. Perhaps one gloomy day when things go wrong from the beginning, when you get discouraged and upset at “meaningful coincidences” (Jung’s definition of “luck”) that don’t coincide, I could come and tell you that things are going to get a heck of a lot better… and, knowing me, I will be right!

PS. Little bad things, when they do happen, always come in threes… I could have a bit of fun with that analysis, eh? 🙂

Spontaneous

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You don’t have to be a linguist to look at this word and recognize it as foreign, and rolling it over your tongue to figure out it comes from that family of languages which lilt their ways into clearings of white-washed sky over Mediterranean waters. Latin, we call it, and memories of dead dusty tomes piled up in libraries we see in movies are all we may have. And yet it wasn’t always so, and that language was spoken freely over many lands, and my land was one, too. Which I miss, and perhaps even more keenly now that I have just re-read The Lord of the Rings. Mortal I am, and yet immigrants will identify with the elves’ yearning for the oldest lands across the Sundering Seas….

But I digress, or maybe I needed these words to come first before the mind can pay attention to more specific things.

Anyway, the word “spontaneous” came up in conversation with a friend, and I have explored it with others as well. In the controlled routine of most of our settled lives, something that translates as “of one’s own accord” may not always be welcome, we may even think it is dangerous and belongs to the very young and be sometimes regretful at its perceived lack in us.

But definitions are interesting sometimes… something spontaneous is said not to have any trigger, and that got me thinking about it. Spontaneous applause may not seem to have any trigger and yet is happens rarely in a forest but mostly in places where applause would be appropriate, like in a place of performance (be it a hall, or a square) and where there is more than one person… so the context is shaping even the unpredictable, which is a synonim. Context? Prediction? We have some knowledge of this at least.

We temper our actions within the pool of our responsibilities. Spontaneity seems therefore a thing of the past, when responsibilities were not the marking of our identity as adults. We sometimes wish for those times. But what do we put in the place where spontaneity once dwelt? What follows is my way.

By nature and by nurture combined I try to think of consequences. These are rarely discrete objects, mostly they are pathways one could tread. I try to follow each pathway as far as my mind can see, exploring on the way the side roads as they appear. This happens in quiet moments, when my body paces steadily in a confined space, and sometimes the moon shines its silvery trail at the crossroads. Once my mind has exhausted the pathways it can see, real life may present others which can then be added. So now I am reasonably confident (not fully, as you know, life is spontaneous!) that whichever pathway opens before me I can stand and walk at least as far as the next night with a few moments of peace for my mind to wander.

So in the daytime, when life does happen and pathways do open, I do not have to hesitate at the crossroads, for I have thought about what I can live with and what I can leave without. When we have the security we expect, we can be brave, and assertive, and fast.

It is not spontaneity. It is not, I believe, detachment (although that plays a role). But it is a way. And, if our minds and hearts lean towards one of the pathways, I have found that sooner or later, as a main road or a side road or just a trail disappearing into the forest, that path will one day be open to us, so that we may tread it until the end of our journey.

Practical

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I started reading about pragmatism on the internet but got confused and decided to stop. I guess I am just not cut for philosophy 🙂

I wanted to explore the concept though so I settled for practical. The reason was a contradiction I battle on a regular basis. I like to talk and think and assemble ideas and words in ways that make sense and make it easier to think about life, love and the universe. I can spend long periods of time doing this. Add to this the fact that I am addicted to reading and the result appears to be a theoretically inclined, non-practical person that could possibly need taking care of 🙂

The picture is, of course, incomplete. But in what way and when and why are actually the questions needing answering, so let’s analyze.

Much as I like thinking I tend to think about real life, particularly mine and most specifically in regards to relationships. How do I react, how will the other react, what will be said, what could possibly be the consequences etc. So far, so good. I think about my life and how to live it best with a minimum. I also think about what needs to be done and in what way to minimize the effort and increase the results. Not always practically, don’t get me wrong, just… efficiently, you could say. That requires quite a lot of thinking, as even things, let alone people, can throw balls from the left field that leave you scrambling. My wish for control couldn’t possibly take this kindly, so I think about consequences of actions (a lot!) and possible ways of combining actions. That has two consequences (intendend pun?): one, I get bored later when people want to analyze things out loud as I have already done it; two, I appear (and am!) bossy as I have already picked the best of the alternatives I could find and presented it (or started it) as such. That tends to annoy people :). I am learning to talk with people first, then spend the time thinking and come up with a solution (or a change to the soution agreed on – yup, annoying again!).

With a profession that tries to combine practical and theoretical approaches, this type of thinking of mine is not something I do for leisure, it’s ingrained. As a result, unless it’s hectic, I cruise (at a fast pace 😛 ) rather than scramble – perfect!

So far, so quaint.

It just so happens that you can’t think of the little things without touching on the big things (like life, love and the universe), nor should you be afraid of doing so. They may seem too big, too important, and you may feel too lowly, but still, you have a life time in front of you, you can chip away at them. It may seem like a waste of time, but it makes thinking of the little things easier. Decision-making also becomes easier as now you know faster what you can live with and what you can’t. It keeps you cool under pressure (because you almost invariably come up with a plan of action) and allows you the time to wonder and feel joyful when you see kittens, butterflies and small children.

How to do it? We seem too busy to think even of the little things sometimes! Your brain will help. A bit of sleep, good food and water and finding those 5 minutes in the shower/surfing/trekking/gardening/meditating etc. and away you go.

Do not try this while you are changing a nappy 🙂