Decisions Decisions – March 24, 2016
Last week I wrote about my difficulty deciding on a series for my online art class with Carla Sonheim, “Y is For Yellow.” Â I was really struggling with the idea of settling on my project. Â At the same time, I was perseveratingÂ on whether or not to visit my sons in New York City over Easter weekend. Â I’d been to the Easter Parade once before–a crazy gathering of fabulous cross-dressing men and extravagantly dressed women, wild hats and accoutrementsÂ strolling along forÂ several blocks of Fifth Avenue, without any particular form or direction. Â Just loads of freewheeling fun and spectacle. Â I hankered to go again, dressed to the nines. Â But for a variety of reasons, I wavered. Â Maybe the weather would be better later in the spring? Â But one never knows. Â We’ve had a very temperate winter. Â My boys wereÂ here in early March–maybe I’d want to space these two visitsÂ with them further apart. Â So I waitedÂ long enough that flights were too expensive and I couldn’t go.
Some would say I did actually make a decision. Â If so, I later regretted it. Â Wished I were going. Â Felt the need to get away and be there. Â Then it seemed as if we could notÂ find a time that worked for all of us. Â Oh, I blew it, I thought. Â Wringing of hands. But in the end things fell into place and now we have a plan for May. Â All is good. Â I wrote my sons saying I was very glad they had not inherited my indecisiveness.
As to the other issue, my series or project for the class, I’ve settled that, too. Â I’ll do a set of black and white drawings of dogs for my upcoming book of dog poems. Â This was my first idea and it suddenly becameÂ my final one. Â I can’t even say how it happened. Â It just did. Â It fell into place in my heart as the thing I want to do. Â So now I’m scribbling away on index cards, drawing dog after dog after dog, hoping for ones I love to appear.
The thing I hate about being indecisive is the huge waste of time and energy, mostly energy. Â My brain gets in a rut of thinking–trying so very hard to make a decision–that I think of little else. Â My mental energy just pours into these questions, as if I were da Vinci, studying architecture or astronomy, when all I’m doing is making up my mind about something actually quite small. Â I want to be using my brain for loftier things! Â I would loveÂ to be more da Vinci-ish, pondering the big mysteries of life. Â (I even ownÂ a book called How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb. Â Excellent book, by the way.) Â I understand that life is short, very short and getting shorter by the day–and I want to LIVE it! Â I want to see and do and read and experience and learn as much as possible, all a little difficultÂ to do when one’s thoughts are wrapped up in an endless loop of what if I do thus and such?Â orÂ what if I do this instead??
But I know enough about myself to understand at least part ofÂ why I’m indecisive. Â I’m moody. Â I know full well that if I plan something in advance, I could easily not want to do it when the time comes. Â I’d like to be sure that I will still love the idea when the time comes. This requires seeing into the future, which I obviously cannot do, so I consider very carefully all of the possible ways a thing could go–a pure waste of time. Â Even knowing how utterly delicious it feels to have made a decision, I seem unable to make one without the struggle.
Ultimately whatÂ I need, I believe, is to first, accept this about myself and not agonize overÂ it. I am fairly certain that absolving myself and allowing things to unfold is my best answer. It is the incessant thinking and perseverating thatÂ is the true waste of energy. Â I need to allow myself to stop thinking–and just wait. Â The answer almost always comes, not as a result of all this crazy thinking, but just from some shift that happens, almost outside of myself–definitely outside of my over-active mind. Â I happen upon a quote or a photograph or a song, maybe without even registering it consciously, there’s a softening within me and the decision slips comfortably into place. The aha!Â was there all along. Â It was right there in my heart. Â And I was looking for it in my cluttered up brain.