When NOT to make a decision

Sometimes we are faced with the need of making a monumental decision about something in our lives. Something important, life changing and ripe with consequences that will affect not only us but most people around us. I’m talking about big stuff, migrating, getting married, divorce, changing jobs, that sort of thing. I’ve been through a few and the predicament of a friend reminded me of the feelings I’ve experienced at the time.

My friend said he was under a lot of pressure to make a decision about something and he felt paralysed; his story inspired me to write this.

The thing is, sometimes we need to trust ourselves NOT to make a decision, at least, not until it is the right time to make it. Everything has a consequence, and waiting might be painful, but when your being is so overwhelmed that you are paralysed you have to respect your soul and find other ways to deal with it, the more you try to force the situation the more likely you are to make the decision for the wrong reasons.

Since you cannot make the decision you need to make, you can move in its direction, and work on making yourself ready to make that decision. You do what you can.

Hindsight is a beauty and what I did at the time was peeling the layers of confusion from my mind until I found clarity. First step is uncovering your fears, the real ones, the huge, gigantic ones and having a good chat with them, going in depth into what is the likely outcomes of each of the possibilities. Take note of what you can live and cannot live with, and what is under your power to decide and what isn’t.

In these situations there are many times when the choices aren’t good. It is easy when you need to choose between cake or ice-cream, it is a lot harder when you must choose between a better quality of life or being close to your family, for example.

Dr. Demartini says that everything, absolutely everything, will have positives and negatives, and what is more baffling, they will be in equal measures. It took me years to wrap my mind around this concept but I get it now, and when you deal with your fears it is always useful to understand that all the results are going to have both the bad and the good wrapped up in them. Once you start seeing the good in the bad and the bad in the good you become balanced and can make a decision that is truer to your values rather than from fear… or guilt.

Guilt, that is a funny emotion, I can see the purpose in “guilt”, it keeps us in the righteous path, the fear of guilt makes many do the right thing. But for me, after the fact, guilt is mostly useless. Guilt happens when we are stuck in a past action, a past trauma, “past” being the key word here. So you start making decisions based on past experiences rather than present situations. I am all for taking responsibility, making amends, and more than anything, learning from anything wrong we have done, becoming a better person for ourselves and those around us, but not hurdling this gigantic baggage around. Once you have paid your dues, punished yourself, recompensed the ones you have wrong, you must be able to go ahead with your life, you need to allow your own soul to become present to the new situation around and see it without the influence of these past actions.

When I was making an important decision in my life I had to examine what I felt guilty about and had to deal with what that was causing me. That was one of the layers that was keeping me stuck. I had to let go not only of the feeling of having “wronged” people but I also had to let go of the idea of being responsible for other people’s actions. You cannot control and cannot be held accountable for other people’s actions, you are fully responsible for yours. You can do what is your very best, and hope they do what is their very best. You can offer support, comprehension and love, but believing that you can “control” what is going to happen is a fallacy. You can only control your own actions, that is all you can do in and at every moment of your life.

At any point you can die, someone else can die, you can win the lottery, we can be invaded by aliens or be overcome by the artificial intelligence and all that you hold as secure will be made completely irrelevant.

It often helps me when I’m making big and small decisions to think about what I would do if I won the lottery, if I had only a month to live, or if there was an apocalyptic event on Earth. I find it shows me what is important for me. My answer, time and again, to all the questions is “I would write” which shows me I’m going in the right direction, more and more in my life I write.

Another layer to peel is the one about “values”. To make a decision that is pure and based on your core you must uncover YOUR true values, not what others think should be important for you. You need to examine what you truly believe in and what are your main reasons to be alive. “Freedom” is one of mine and it drives my choices every day, from choosing stretchy clothes that allow me freedom of movement to migrating to Sydney where I feel safe to walk all day without fear. Australia is a place with similar values of freedom, people are free to be who they are, believe in whatever they want, express themselves, we are about equal opportunities, gender equality and fairness in any personal choice people make. That resonates immensely with me and played an important part in my decision to make this my home permanently.

Your values will most probably be different from your family’s values, from your parents, children and spouse, so finding them for real might require some digging. And dig you must, in order to make a decision that is true to you and not to anyone else, because when we betray ourselves we create unhappiness around us and that is a bad decision for everyone in the end. It might appear to be the right thing at first, but in the end it only postpones the inevitable. It is programmed into human beings that they will always follow their values; it is unavoidable. You better catch on with these and work for it consciously evaluating the pros and cons and knowing what will really happen than deceiving yourself and others only to go back and messing things up even more at a later date.

Lastly, to make a proper decision about anything, we need to evaluate our patterns of behaviour and find out where they come from. In life, we tend to do the same things, over and over again, unless we uncover where these behaviours are coming from and discard what doesn’t serve us anymore. These set ways of doing things, usually come from beliefs we instated in early life, absolute truths that when you bring to the light of day, don’t really make sense. They do make sense when you first come up with them, but in your new circumstances in life, they may not apply at all. These are things you make up to protect yourself and deal with trauma, big and small, and they are the elements that bound together are the make up of your personality. But some of those things may not be useful for you anymore, and unless you examine and look at them you will carry them around forever.

A practical example from my life is a family pattern that help and plagues most of the people who share my maternal DNA. The imperative is “work hard”, it is one that bring many positives, we are hard workers, dedicated people, who put their heads down and just get to it. As my boss would say “we get shit done”. But this imperative also has a considerable and sometimes hidden downside: it is not particular, it is broad and orders you to work hard in all situations, impeding you to apply common sense and find the easy or simple path to things. If all you think about is working hard, you may not even see that there are easy solutions to some problems, ways of doing things that will be much simpler and allow you to put your energy in other, more productive or efficient areas of your life. By finding this pattern in my behaviours, and challenging its veracity, I am now able to only use it when it actually applies and when it will be a benefit to me and others, not an indiscriminate need to work hard no matter what.

This sort of thing is what I’m talking about when making important decisions, you cannot decide on something based on old and indiscriminate pattern of behaviour. You must be able to adapt to current circumstances and the present environment and not old paths.

In the end, this is why I think that NOT making decisions when you are confused is very important. I recommend pealing the mess out first. When all the crap is dealt with and you are present in the reality, your soul will decide without effort, it comes as a consequence and not by force, and it will be much more likely to be a lasting and positive decision for all involved.

How to peel the mess? Go through the layers? Everyone takes different paths, I went to self-development, self-discovery courses, meditation, that sort of thing, and a lot of talking to my friends and family. I think whatever you choose to do it is worth it, it can be talking to people, councillors, psychologists, psychiatrists, help groups, churches, oracles, it is all good, as long as you do something and think about things, feel for your truths, and move in the direction of making your decision from your core, nothing else matters.

The other thing you can do, and must do, is take the best care of yourself that you can. Eat well, move well and sleep well to the resources you have. This way, you make your body have energy to do all the thinking and feeling you need to do, leaving you with physical fuel for your emotional journey.

When all is done and you come to the place where you can see the turmoil and understand where it all comes from and what is really the ground under your foot, you will be in the eye of the storm and decisions will come to you, clearly and with no doubts whatsoever. There will be turmoil before and after, but they will be just about dealing with the consequences and changes that will ensue; and as much destruction, and change that can happen, it is still much less painful than being unable to make a decision. The state of indecision is one of the most painful states I’ve experienced and this technique of not pressuring me for a decision before I’m ready for it brought me many positive results.

In summary, when in doubt, don’t force yourself to decide, force yourself to make yourself ready to decide!

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ANZAC Day Rising My Spirits

The advantage of having been sleepless lately is that waking up before 5am to get to the Dawn Service for Anzac Day was much easier.

I had this strong desire to be there, and I walked through darkness to get to Georges Heights, in Mosman.

If I was in an unsafe place I would have been afraid when I heard running behind me of multiple pairs of legs; but looking back this mother and small boy informed me ‘the alarm didn’t go off’ and ran ahead.

We got there in time, the service was just starting, permeated by the smell of sausage sizzle and the gentle frying sound that my mind kept sending me as images of waterfalls.

The morning singing birds reminded me of the time when I arrived in beautiful Sydney, fourteen years ago, they bring an unnamed tightness to my chest of love, longing, adventure.

The service was beautiful, and the part that I loved the most was a very simple letter from a soldier who wrote it to the father of his fallen friend. I cried, those words that crossed oceans and time made their way to us, to remind us of the sense of loss and love.

The Dogs and the General
The Dogs and the General

I have strong feelings against war, but warm feelings towards people, families, and soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice for a greater cause.

When the speaker told us of this land that receives so many peoples from over the seas, I felt welcomed and warm in the Australian embrace.

Line in the Sky
Dawn on ANZAC Day

The sunrise wasn’t as spectacular today, but the moment was of beauty and sadness and happiness to be here. I felt my bond to this land deepening, even more.

On my way home I saw a lot of flashing lights, police cars, one of them making a bus reverse out of the main road, as if it was a cowboy herding a stubborn bull.

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I was privileged to wave to the diggers coming through in a long motorcade of mini-buses and taxis, all white haired, dressed to impress and the word that came to my mind was that they were beautiful.

I got home under a light shower, filled with the sense of belonging, adventure and safety.

Writing in a Hippie Paradise

In front of me, all I can see is green. Green grass, green trees, green hills and green mountains. I can hear the creek that runs at the back of the property and the birds singing. The fresh smell of wet soil and bush is invigorating.

About one year and a half ago I had this brilliant idea that if I wasn’t able to write full time yet, I could pretend, for a few days here and there, that I did. That is when I did the first of my writing trips. I’m now on my fifth trip. (See here how to organise your own writing trip)

I had mentioned these trips to a friend and she offered me to house sit for her over Easter while she was away. I feel very lucky that she did so.

I’m taking care of her house and two cats. I’m in love with Mojo, I think it is mostly because he doesn’t care who is providing the cuddles, as long as someone is. Once or twice a day he comes to me for a caressing session. Eve, the other cat, well, we tolerate each other. I think she knows I’m not the right person, doesn’t want any cuddles, ‘just food, thank you’, she tells me with her eyes… I’m sure she is thinking ‘who are you, impostor!’ I don’t do what she wants ‘open the door right this minute I want to look outside’ (at 9 pm) and she doesn’t do what I ask ‘come back in right this minute so I can close the door’ (at 7 pm), she turns around giving me her wriggling backside.

Mojo is a vanishing artist, he disappears and I look for him everywhere thinking he must be outside when half an hour later he prowls from somewhere in the house… I swear he has to be able to open and close doors, that is the only possible explanation.

Eve is obsessed with looking outside the front door. I leave it propped open and it is not that she wants to go outside, she just wants to sit there, looking out.

One of the things that make my heart jump in happiness, is the constant presence of the Wallabies. They come to the house everyday. I know I probably should not let them eat my friend’s trees, vegetables and grass but I don’t have the heart to make them go away. Fortunately I wasn’t specifically instructed to do so, and that will be my excuse.

They are absolutely silent when they are around, you can only hear when they hop, producing this endearing thump, thump sound.

Yesterday I saw a baby roo and it saw me. It jumped, fast as lightening to its mum, and dived straight into the pouch, head first. Took him a few minutes to turn around and look at me with uncertain eyes. I think they keep looking straight at you to assess if you are a threat.

On my first morning here I saw a Moses walking down the hill. Or was it a Gandalf? Except it was a female one. She had long white hair, billowing dramatically in the wind and walked holding a wooden staff, followed by a dog.

She has a hen house near the creek and walks down twice a day to let the birds out, feed them and put them inside to sleep in the evening. Yesterday the hens were not collaborating and I heard the woman talking to them what sounded like “come-on birds, it’s time to go in”. They are Helmeted Guineafowls, I believe, and responded loudly “buckwheat, buckwheat” running around.

Iwon’t criticise. At that exact moment I was talking to the cats “are you hungry? Is that what you want? It is a bit early…”. “Meow, meow.”

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A couple of times, I went to the town centre, for a better word to call it, a couple of streets with a couple of stores. I understood why I heard the place being called Hippie Country… I felt as if I had walked through a portal and ended up in the seventies, inside one of those pictures of big hippie festivals, you could smell the unnatural sweetness of the air. I was told to be ware of the brownies and cookies… (I’ve never tried one for the fear they might make me turn normal.)

There isn’t a supermarket, but there is an Emporium. It reminds me of the small city stores of old, it had the cramped corridors and everything you can possibly imagine. I had to squeeze around to let people pass all the time. It was wonderful.

The funny part is that they had organic, sustainable and environmental products for everything, they would put any big city supermarket to shame! Recycled toilet paper, sustainably caught tuna, earth safe cleaning products, you name it… I went into a bakery and asked for a carry bag (looking forward to using such bag for garbage) and the sales woman looked at me as if I had said profanities about her mother, I swear she looked positivelly disgusted as she mumbled something about “plastic bags”.

The street had stores of funky t-shirts with flowers on them, organic preserves, herbs and spices shops; organic food cafes and organic juice shops. Everything was very colourful, painted in strong colours of purple, yellow, green and blue and a few rainbows, and a lot of the people really dressed the part.

I didn’t think they were a relaxed bunch though, in two blocks I heard one woman complaining about the drama, not sure what happened, then a man was screaming abuse at everyone and a third said that her friend just lost her license, because of alcohol.

What was absolutely wonderful was the art. I went to an exposition at the town hall and there were many different styles for many different preferences but I thought most were very inspired.

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At the house, most of the time there is a deep seeded silence, except for crickets and birds, but some other times I think people come away from civilisation not to enjoy this wonderful tranquility, but to make noise undisturbed. With so much green, often enough a neighbour decides to cut the grass, or a tree, or blow leaves, or bang on wood or listen to opera so loud someone at the top of the mountain can also hear it.

But still, frequently there is a tranquil and wonderful peace.

(Is it too bad of me that I keep wishing that the grass mower breaks, the head of the hammer detaches and flies away never to be found again, or that the opera singer turns mute? Poor neighbours… bad me.)

I’m enjoying the changes in colour and mood of the scenery, the rain and the sun, the fresh breeze that comes in the afternoon, and the hot air in the middle of the day. Including the sounds, even the noises, but more when they go away. So many different bird songs, colours in the sky, smells that remind me of childhood farms and ranches.

This is the perfect writing scenario, especially as the sun sets right in front of my writing desk!

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A New Found Love…

Last year I found an old picture of me writing on my parent’s typewriter. I must have been around seven.

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I remember this typewriter and that my sister and I often played on it. I think it was our mum who had some books about how to learn to typewrite and we would type endless “qwert asdfg ghjkl poiuy” but would never get to book 2.

It was my sister, when she was about fourteen, who decided to go to a proper typewriting course during the holidays, but as she didn’t drive she asked me to drive her. There was no point in just taking her, I joined in and we both did the course. To this day we can type with all our fingers, super quickly, without looking at the keyboard, thanks to the old technology, and my sister!

I often thank her, like now, when I’m looking at the most astounding surroundings and typing away…

My parents came to Australia for a visit last year and we took them to the Hunter Valley, we were prowling one of the antique shops when a sight made me decided I wanted one, even if I had no idea why or what for… a typewriter.

The one I saw there wasn’t exactly the one I wanted so I waited until an online shopping site manifested one exactly like the one I was imagining… actually, very similar to the orange one from my childhood.

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It’s a new love. Not that I intend to use to actually write things on it, even thought I bought it new tapes and it works perfectly. It just makes me happy looking at it. It’s a fun decoration with the potential of being something you can play with.

Freelancer Despair

I am usually lucky at finding good freelancers to edit and proofread my work but this weekend’s crop is a bit despairing…

roger that

This one really wants to edit my work! What is he trying to say? A proofreader that writes “i” in lower case, puts a space before full stop, doesn’t start the phrase with a capital and doesn’t say anything coherent? Bothering no chance? Whaaaat?

 

no comment

No comment,,,,

 

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… Since past 7 years? Is this right? I think it should be “for the past 7 years, or since 2011…”

 

into content writing industry

“THE content writing industry” THE grasp of articles is essential to an editor… I’m not even going to question the “into”, or “from last 5 years”…

 

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“I am having experience”? I am having experience of running screaming around the room! And I am not a SIR (that is how carefully they have read my proposal…)

 

academic computer engineering.png

I want an editor for a sassy romantic text, this one does not seem to fit the profile…

 

finance wiz carfully

And same with the finance wiz who use his words “carfully”. Sorry cannot hire a proofreader who cannot proofread his words “carefully”.

 

no space after stop.png

This one is the best one so far, for real, not ironically. He just misses spaces after full stops. I can give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was trying to save space in a limited character profile… but what if this isn’t the case? A proofreader that misses details…

 

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Lastly, I need a person, not a tool! And I’m not worried about plagiarism… my proposal clearly states they are just to edit a book proposal, not write anything, why would I need a plagiarism tool? I din’t plagiarise anything and I know it…

 

[deep long sigh ending up with a chuckle… I can’t deny this is funny]

I’ll wait for tomorrow, or the day after, or a week even, it may bring me a good option or my previous freelancer back… Wish me luck it seems I’m in need of it!

Medicina sem Milagres

— Que isso Deus, tá tomando antiácido?
— Pois é, Pedrinho, tô num nervoso danado!
— Mas porque?
— Sabe o que é, é o avanço da tecnologia, da medicina especialmente…
— Como assim? Achei que você estava impressionado com os seres humanos, o que eles conseguiram fazer e descobrir.
— Impressionado eu até que tô, mas também tô frustradíssimo que não consigo falar com mais ninguém!
— Hum?
— Semana passada achei um moleque lá nos cafundós da Africa, lugar sem um celular, nem um curandeiro tinha na aldeia, e comecei a bater um lero com ele, aquela história de sempre, “então você é muito especial, eu sou Deus e estou falando com você”, estava indo tudo bem, a aldeia estava toda impressionada com o menino. Isso é, até quando baixa lá os Medicins Sans Frontiers e diagnosticam esquisofrenia, tacam um anti-psicótico no menino e pronto, acabou o nosso papo, ficou surdo, como todos os outros, não ouve mais nada.
— Ah Deus, que pena, então tá difícil de se comunicar é?
— Pois é Pedrinho, os únicos que me ouvem são meus queridos mendigos, mas aí ninguém ouve eles! E todo mundo que eu tento conversar vai parar no manicômio.
— E um milagre? Já pensou nisso, um milagre dos bons, de deixar todo mundo falando, aposto que ia fazer efeito!
Deus cai no choro, desconsolado.
— Calma Deus, porque essa choradeira? Qual o problema do milagre?
— Ai é a tecnologia que atrapalha! — Deus dá uma fungada daquelas — Eu mandei uma santa chorar e os cientistas disseram que era a condensação do ar, quem eles acham que fez o ar condensar na Santa? Mandei a santa sangrar e eles descobriram que foi o mendigo que eu convenci ir lá que colocou o sangue na Santa. Estou sem saida, cada vez que eu mando um milagre eles arrumam uma boa explicação, nem prá chuva no sertão tô ganhando atribuição… É a natureza, é a inversão térmica, até o aquecimento global, mas eu? Não to valendo nada. Ai que saudade do tempo da Joana d’Arc, uma boa fogueira não fazia mal a ninguém né?

Lucifer & the amazon

If Lucifer comes up to me and says “what do you desire?”

“Me? Right now?”

“Yes…’ he is a bit irritated with my lack of immediate response and insists ‘what do you most desire?’

His eyes burrow deep in mine, with that intense vampiric hypnotic look.

‘Well… in fact,’

‘Tell me, tell me your needs…’ he looks sexy.

I’m decisive now. I know what I want. ‘Many, many, many, reviews.’

‘Reviews?’ he is thrown off his game, forgets about the intense look. ‘For your soul, what do you want for your soul?’

‘I told you. Reviews. Amazon Reviews. Great, independent, unhinged, unbiased, uninhibited, five star, reviews.’

‘Fuck.’

‘That I can get, but reviews… seriously, no money can buy. And since I’m giving my soul for it, I want many, in all my books.’