Closed and Open - Victoria BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2007
Work. Love. Health. Home. Family. Habit. Future. Past. Present.
Think. Think. Think.
Action. Trepidation. Certainty. Confusion. Pain. Pleasure.
Think. Think. Think.
We're very busy creatures, aren't we?
I have been considering how I balance thought and action. I am someone who, prior to action, attempts to mitigate potential disaster by weighing every imaginable implication of a choice. I believe I do this as a result of childhood experience. If I made a mistake, I was accused of not measuring the results of my actions through careful thought. I was named "Thoughtless, Inconsiderate, Stupid!" And so I learned to measure and consider every move prior to its inception and to wait or relinquish action to another - one who I deemed smarter or better. This has not always served me well because, how do we learn if not through our own actions, these actions we title 'mistakes'.
I suppose it all comes down to calculated risk. I have admiration for those who just get on with it - they just do it! This week, my girlfriend needed to replace the headlight on her car and while, initially, it seemed as though it would be a simple enough procedure, when she realized she would need to unbolt the entire headlight encasement and haul on it ferociously in order to access the bulb (worse design ever, Ford Focus!), I panicked.
"What if you break it?! Why don't you just take it to the shop?! What if you can't get it to go back how it was?" ...and on and on I clucked until, through her teeth, she politely suggested that I might be more comfortable waiting inside the car while she finished.
She was entirely successful and had the immense satisfaction of having done it herself and saved the ton of money it would cost to have someone else do it.
This is how fear spreads. I had no reason to doubt her and, fortunately, she has enough faith in her own abilities that she wasn't infected by my doubt. I had no reason to question her competence. She is an extremely handy person who has worked on crews building entire houses. I was projecting my own uncertainty onto her, just as my parents projected their fear and uncertainty onto me. It may be out of concern for the well-being of the action-taker, but it does not mean it is useful or productive in all cases.
I often check in on myself with respect to this issue. I have spent years massaging my thought process over to a centre point, a balance, between consideration and action. At one time in my life, I swung to the opposite extreme and acted almost exclusively without sufficient thought.
That did not serve me well either but I'll save that wild chapter for my memoirs.
What I'm getting to in all of this is: have a little faith, both in yourself and in others. Let your life lessons guide you to your own greatness. Use the wisdom of the ages that exists in every fibre of your being and prod at the places from which your fears arise.
Live. Love. Forgive. Do your best. Accept the perfection and potential of your very existence, for life is the greatest of gifts to enjoy.
-Gillian Cornwall, January 12, 2014.
South Pacific Dancer
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2008.