Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ingredient 7 - Turmoil

Alrighty then!  In my archives, you will see that the month of April provided a bit of a detour for this ole blog of mine, but now it's time to get back to the list that started it all.  If you head ALL THE WAY back to January 10, 2012 (I know: I can't believe I've stuck with it this long, either), you will find the first two posts that serve as instruction manuals and building plans to The Basement. 

For my constant readers, to whom I -once again- extend my most gracious of gratitudes, let's pick up where we left off, shall we?  Here it is...The List's seventh ingredient: Turmoil.
What exactly is turmoil?  My dictionary app defines it as "a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions."  That all sounds about right.  So, what more is there to write about on the matter?  How about this: is turmoil a real thing that exists outside of us, or is it one of those created internal affairs of the human condition?

As it so happens, my life - as of late - seems to be in quite an ongoing state of "disturbance," "agitation," "commotion," and "confusion."  And being a believer in some sort of "higher power" (except for the days that I act out as a non-believer in a passive-aggressive tantrum to get back at the God in whom I claim to no longer believe during said tantrums), I can't help but ask the inevitable "why?" or "what did I do to deserve this?" or "this is a lesson, right?  RIGHT?  Hello?" *insert hollow echo here*  Apparently, my god thinks that all such questions are rhetorical, and maybe they are, but that is probably best kept as subject for another day. 
For the most part, when my life's pendulum is taking a swing at me, I fall into the pattern that so many of us do: I look for outward reasons; I obsessively dwell on choice and consequence; and when all else fails, I pass blame around (in the spirit of fairness, though, I never leave my own name out of the blame-hat).  Yet, my eyes keep returning to the last bit of the above definition: "disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions."  And there it is.
I suspect that if I were to poll the world, inquiring about the one state of being that is almost never felt, the answer would come back as one resounding response: "Contentment!"  How many of us can boast feeling content for the better part of a single day or week, much less a year, decade, or lifetime?  Unless you are Buddha or Ghandi or the Christ, I am going to assume you are nodding your head in complete agreement at this point.  Now consider this:  if we cannot allow ourselves -if we do not know how to allow ourselves- to remain in a constant state of contentment when life is "good," how in a bowl of beans should we expect NOT to feel like no more than a post-Taco Bell fart swirling around in the unpredictable winds of fate (I wonder if Taco Bell is going to sue me for making so many (truthful) connections between their food and ass-blastations)?

But wait.  The word of the day -at least as far as this post is concerned- just became "expect."  From where do our expectations come?  Not from the world around us.  No.  Sure, the outside world might inspire our choices of expectation, but it does not create them.  We do.  Our expectations come from within.  The more active life becomes -whether with negativity or positivity- the bigger in size and number our expectations grow.  And don't we know that the Future maintains exclusive rights to both expectation and anticipation?  What, then, holds the contract with Right Now?  Contentment. 
We simply cannot do Expectation and Contentment at the same time.  It's impossible.  Why?  Because one haggles with future dealings, and the other rests peacefully in the now.  If expectation and anticipation create turmoil, and turmoil is an ingredient of the mind that inevitably gives us indigestion of the soul, contentment would be the prescription strength cosmic antacid. Right?  So, why not just be content?  Why not let all of the expectation go?  Why not release what we never really have a hold of anyway (the future), and replace it with the only thing we really ever have (the moment)?  And in so doing, we would cure ourselves of nasty symptoms like turmoil, doubt, fear, noxious gas, etc. 
Man.  It sounds so damn easy.  Doesn't it?  Why, then, are so many of us failing miserably at it?  I suppose now would be a good time to refer you to my "Letter R" post which may or may not shine some light on why we seem to be more comfortable with the turmoil than the tranquility of life (at the very least, you'll get to point at me and laugh at what a gross emotional cry-baby I am).

So, what's it gonna be, ladies and gents?  Turmoil or Contentment?  These are our choices...everyday...on a sliding scale of degree and intensity.  Choose, and your choice is made...until you choose again.