If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there’s a million ways to be, you know that there are.Cat Stevens

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I love to write.  Lately I have not been writing too much.  Have you ever wondered why you do not do the things you love?  I have been doing that a lot lately.  I do not have any answers for myself yet.  What this pondering has done, though, is that it has caused me to begin reflecting on myself and my life more.  And that has led to me writing this.

Self reflection is a valuable tool.  Fairly often I have gone through life and just let it happen to me.  The demands of society push.  I have the expectations of others weighing on me.  And my biggest demon, apathy, runs circles around me.  None of this is unique.  I don’t believe there is anyone who does not have societal pressures, expectations of others, or inner demons.  We all have shit we are going through.  That is  not the issue.  The issue is that I just push it down and do not think about it.  I take the easy way out.  I do not want to do that anymore.

So I have started to think.  I have began thinking about what I want out of life.  I have began to think of things in terms of what a person can or cannot do.  The whole perspective of humanity shows that there are many possibilities.  This line of thinking has caused me to think about the course my life is taking.  One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tzu: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  I have thought about that a lot.

Some of this self reflection has been beneficial; some of it has not been.  Like most things in life, you can take reflection too far.  While I maintain that reflection is important to learning about myself and where I am at in life, I also can see that reflection is not really living.  The cliche is true: you can have paralysis by analysis.  It is true that you must know where you are at in order arrive where you want to be, but eventually you have to start going where you wish to go.  Sometimes what is on the surface is enough.  I believe this takes balance.  Total reflection is not the answer.  We also have to be mindful of the present, but we have to temper this by making sure we are not engaging in avoidance.  Like most of the truly important things in life, this isn’t easy.

I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need?Edward Abbey