Choose towards

The things we run away from and the things we run towards, are choices.

It took me a long time to understand that we are the sum of our choices. That’s not to say that things don’t happen to us that are outside of our control. Clearly they do. In fact, a useful exercise for me has been to come to terms with just how little of the external world we can, do, and should control.

However, we are in control of the thoughts that we move towards and the thoughts that we can let go of. This is always within our grasp. It’s not easy to accept this and it’s not easy to live in accordance with this idea. But that doesn’t change the fact that it remains true: we can choose to move towards different thoughts, ideas, beliefs about ourselves.

Falling upwards

To suggest that we can instantly turn disadvantage to our favour just will not work. It’s a bit like telling someone to cheer up

A colleague once told me: if you are going to fall, fall upwards.

I like my philosophy on the practical side, particularly at seven in the morning. She went onto explain that it’s through falling that we can grow, get better, live a more fulfilling second half of life.

We will all fall. Sometimes through our own mistakes and stupidity, sometimes through our inattention and neglect, and sometimes because someone or something has taken a sledgehammer to everything we hold dear.

Falling upwards is terrible advice. To suggest that we can instantly turn disadvantage to our favour just will not work. It’s a bit like telling someone to cheer up. It’s a lazy and inadequate response to distress. But, and here’s the thing, falling upwards is not advice; my colleague wasn’t giving me any. It’s more of a perspective that we can, over time, gradually inch towards. She was simply pointing this out. There is no joy without profound sadness, and the human condition is to know and accept both. We can’t rise without knowing what it is to fall.

After lunch I take a snap of a boat that has fallen; it’s simply been left. I can’t help thinking that the view is, somehow, all the better for it being there in all of its sunken glory.