This is part of what I wrote on my blog, on my birthday in 2007. That was the year before I turned my birthday into an international holiday for unschoolers. ("What!?" you say?). It was the only day I had any small ownership over, and I was unlikely to forget it.
So I'm cleaning [house] and thinking about changing the world. I'm not thinking "I need to change the world," I'm musing on what kinds of things change the world...
Accidents sometimes make the world worse, and carelessness, and flukes of weather and acts of God. But if a personal decision makes the world worse, then what?
There are different levels of "oops"—didn't know, didn't think, forgot, didn't care, was pisssed off or drunk, was furious and wanted to do damage... What can be undone? What can be atoned for?
But anyway... the world starts to get better when people stop making it worse, and a person's life starts to get better when he consciously decides to do what is better instead of what is worse in any given moment.
I have a baby book I've written in sometimes. It has a page for when a person turns 30, 40, 50, to record one's philosophy of life. (Maybe it starts at 20, I'd have to dig it out and look.) I didn't know what that meant, when I was young. When I was 40 I knew, but didn't want to write down a snapshot philosophy of life, because I figured it could change by the time I was 41.
Life changes, and now I foist my philosophy of life onto just anyone who comes by my blog, or who says they'd like to learn something from me. I never hunt them down and give them a test later, though. Holly said to me one day something like "Friends come in and out of your life like bus boys in a restaurant." WOW, I thought. That helps! That helps when I'm sad that someone is slipping out of my daily life. I told her it was pretty wonderful and she said it was a Stephen King line from "The Body."
People come and go and we change each other. We amuse each other if we're lucky and frustrate each other if we're not so lucky.
From Alan Watts Theater, a few little animated presentations, Matt Stone and Trey Parker-created, of recorded passages from Alan Watts presentations. [Watts died in 1973.]
Part of the pre-packaged life Americans are issued is the idea that happiness comes after college, after home ownership, after the new car. The stick that holds that carrot will not bend. If happiness depends on performance and acquisition, how long will it last? How long is your car the newest on your street before unhappiness returns?More, from my most-reprinted article
Here's a little paradigm shift for you to practice on. Perhaps happiness shouldn't be the primary goal. Try joy. Try the idea that it might be enJOYable to cook, to set the table, to see your family, rather than the idea that you'll be happy after dinner's done and cleaned up....—Sandra Dodd
I wrote this in 2010, in e-mail, to a young Brazilian man living in Europe—a new dad, who was corresponding with me about his thoughts and work about living differently in the world. He had used "had to..." in a short film he shared with me, and we were discussing that.
If you eliminate "have to" from your thoughts, it's like driving a nice standard transmission rather than riding in the back of a crowded bus. If you see everything as a conscious choice, suddenly you are where you have chosen to be (or you have a clear path to moving toward where you would rather be). SandraDodd/havetoJoyce Fetteroll and I have been catching people (ourselves, for a while, but not lately) writing or saying that they "have to" do something.
And sometimes people don't say it. They just act it out. They do something without thinking. If you don't think of two options before you speak/act, you have not made a choice. 🙂