Whoever first uttered that phrase was in serious need of imagination.
For every choice we make there are so many others we could also make, so many other small and big ways in which we could move, speak, act, think.
Maybe that’s why I write – life doesn’t give me enough opportunities to live out all the options and so I release characters and plots that can live them out for me. I love waking in the morning and wondering who I am today. What aspect of myself am I playing today? What do I have to do and what would I like to do? What other things could I do if my circumstances changed? And how might I change my circumstances? Sometimes my life is just perfect as it is. Other times I want to totally transform it – be someone completely different for a day. Eat other food. Listen to new music. Change my normal schedule. Write all night. It’s disorientating for those close to me but then, again, they’re used to it.
Maybe that’s why I have such a big issue with the accepted notion of fate or karma. How can anyone say that something just has to be?
Not that I would argue with the notion of disposition or that we each have a certain set of cards to play with. Or that there are times in our lives when someone or something happens and it appears to be destiny playing its hand. Without those somewhat limiting factors, the scale of choices would be totally bamboozling. Even with them – even with my own personal ‘deck’ of major and minor cards – the variety of options available to me for the limited amount of time still flumox me. (Flumox – interesting word that. I wonder if it’s an Irish expression?)
All it takes is a shift in perspective to open up the horizon.
If life is bumming us out and we’re not happy with what it seems to be serving up, just try looking at it differently.
When no-one is around to see and I’m feeling uncharacteristically trapped, I ‘dump’ whatever is bugging me in the middle of my large writing room (in the form of a piece of paper or a stone) and I walk around it – experimenting with trying on a variety of my favourite characters to see how they might see my life. What about nutty Prof. Winston, ex-Australian sheep farmer and my male alter-ego who has no regard for anyone else’s opinion – what does he have to say? Or my future sixty-year-old self? Or the woman who actually did go off at 20 to pick coffee beans in Nicaragua? When I work with clients who are stuck, I sometimes get them to try on some animal totems – fierce Jaguar who doesn’t fear anything, high-flying eagle with the higher perspective, nectar-seeking humming bird, ground-slithering snake. Seriously, there are as many ways of seeing (and living) life as there are sets of eyes. And each of those sets of eyes can offer a fresh perspective and new choices.
So how can someone just say ‘that’s life’, and accept it as a given?
I think that’s probably one of the things that drew me to the shamans to start with. Time and space have no ultimate reality, they say – echoed in more modern time by quantum physicists. Everything is energy and, if we can tune in to the vibration of the relevant energy, we can move beyond those lenses through which we live this physical life. And, just to add to my already over-stretched agenda, I learned to bend time and space – to work with them to effect healing for myself and others.
But I still haven’t found a way of expanding worldly time to allow me to be and do all that I would like – though I’m not giving up hope just yet. An until then, I’ll keep writing…