Let’s start with a symbol, one that I’m calling the Symbol of Freedom. It looks like a circle, but for our purposes let’s refer to it as a Wheel. It’s the Symbol of Freedom because any time you choose, you can walk around the Wheel and find a fresh perspective, a new viewing point.
Let me offer an example. In 2013 I took a vacation, which is odd because my job as a raft guide in the Grand Canyon is like a vacation. It was a three week holiday in England visiting friends and on my last full day there I started seeing double. Not wanting to upset my friends, and thinking it would probably go away, I said nothing. To make a long story shorter, by the time I arrived in Boulder I not only was seeing double, I also had no balance.
My housemate took me immediately to the ER and the initial assessment was that I had a tumor. A tumor meant death to me, and that was my initial walk around the wheel. I chose not to focus on the possibility of a tumor, and instead decided to await to actual results. I found a different perspective, a different viewing point, ie, I didn’t jump to a conclusion like the doctor did, on which to focus. Had I not done that, I would have spent the entire time worrying about the tumor and its consequences.
And it’s a good thing I did, because the doctor’s viewing point was wrong. It wasn’t a tumor. That’s the good news. The other news, it was an infection, deep in the brain. My brain. Now I was tasked with finding a different viewing point, one that recognized the validity of the diagnosis but didn’t perceive it as a death sentence. I chose – notice the word “chose” – to allow the doctors to do their work – after all, I was going to be unconscious – while doing the hard work of maintaining a positive attitude, and after I woke up, to do whatever it takes to regain my strength and balance.
Life is not always “pleasant”, but if you’re looking for certainty and a comfortable place, stay close to home, and hold on to the comfort of your viewing point. The consequence could be making choices based on too little, or too much, information, living from only one place on the wheel, and resisting change. By being willing to walk around the wheel, you can expand into the unlimited possibilities offered by Life. It’s not about one way being better than the other. But it is about embracing the adventure before us with passion and aliveness, and taking responsibility for our perceptions, our choices and the results.
We have been imbued by our creator with free will to interpret our circumstances in the infinite number of ways open to us. This includes the choices we make and the outcomes we get. It is an awesome power, and at times, a potentially heavy burden. Because in the end, we realize we are responsible for the quality of our lives.
In future blogs I will offer examples of some of the people from my Grand Canyon river trips who chose to follow the path of adventure. Each person went where they never thought possible when they walked around the wheel.