Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Why do we treat with disdain that which we love?

That sounds like sappy dialog from a poorly penned science-fiction movie - a supposedly wise paradox accepted as profound philosophy; while in reality, a load of cheap gibberish gussied up in cut-rate fabric and touted as Sunday finery.

"One must live in darkness to truly see light."

That is silliness, nothing more. However there are paradoxes of serious concern. As example, there is no greater joy than the excitement, enthusiasm, and absolute elation derived from the self-control of beating back one's personal demons. When I turn down an extra helping of potato salad; ride my bike when I would rather drive; or opt for healthy food over junk; an infusion of vitality and confidence electrifies my soul unlike any other sensation. Should it be possible to bottle and distribute that sentiment, Heaven itself would pale in comparison to life on Earth.

So, why do I fight that euphoria which I adore so much? Am I resistant to joy? It is there, patiently waiting for the taking, always within reach; ready to embrace me. Yet I so often turn away.

I set up my day to run behind schedule, thereby forcing myself to avoid the reduced stress and enhanced feeling of fitness that I receive when I walk on my errands. I contort and twist my mental processes to rationalize an excuse giving me permission to finish a bag of tortilla chips, knowing that revulsion that will overcome me later.

It is a paradox of sad proportion. I have within me the ability to feel fantastic, emboldened, and fulfilled; or I can opt for the lowly pathway of immediate gratification and the grief that follows. That which I find irresistible, I avoid. That which I detest, I embrace.

In most of my life, I "do what it takes." I (usually) make choices necessary for closeness with my family, which might not always be the easiest option. To enhance my career, I force myself to face the scary places, make the cold calls, take the risks. Yet, in this one part of my life - one that means so very much - I take the short cuts.

In college, I learned a proverb; "When all is perfect, the Gods become jealous of you and therefore take something away." Have I set up my life to leave one component a kilter to keep those Gods at bay? Moreover, the irony is that when we do exercise the will and control within - even for mere moments - we are more in touch with all that is holy and glorious than at any other time; a thought worth remembering the next time Choice comes calling.

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