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Things To Think About, Monday, April 29th, 2019

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Happy Monday, or whatever Monday you choose.
Randomness can lead to specificity. Oblique Strategies is a set of cards with instructions that are used to overcome creative blocks. “Simple Subtraction” was the one I pulled before writing this blog. Statements often inspire me to recall song lyrics. The simplicity of removal sparked me to think about “Simple Math” by Manchester Orchestra. I am also notorious in forgetting and mishearing lyrics. Did you know that U2 is not singing “How long, how long? I’m at a place called Vertigo” in their song Vertigo? “Simple math, the truth cannot be fractioned” are what spoke to me after I looked them up. The two tie in quite nicely. When you remove your feelings, perceptions, and subjectivity, you are left with the truth. When trying to research how to explain Oblique Strategies, I came across a Salon article by Geeta Dayal which speculates the Chinese I Ching was a possible predecessor. Fully invested in my journey, I found an online I Ching. I asked it what some things that I should think about are and “a terrible reckoning is due.” Who am I? Who are you? We define ourselves by externals. I am my job title, my gender, my function, or some other box that can be checked.
But, and there is always a but – I have so much going on, it’s not that easy to simplify. Perhaps we are not ready for that “terrible reckoning.” If we reflect on who we are, we may be disappointed. We live in an incredible age. Revolutions can be started in under one-hundred and forty characters. There is an abundance of choice. We wait for external things to make us happy instead of choosing to be happy. If you are not inspired by your life, perhaps it is time to make some other choices. For some of us, our choices are severely limited and curtailed; however, they can never take away your thoughts. Bob Marley said to “emancipate yourself from mental slavery.” En Vogue advises us to “free your mind, and the rest will follow.” Can you imagine how a simpler life looks? I find when I am overwhelmed by my to-do list, that focusing on right now really crystallizes my life. What am I doing right now? Let me focus on that and then move to the next task. When I live my life, one breathe, one step, and one moment at a time it becomes easier.
They say the truth will set you free. My mom always told me what is for me is what is for me. I recently celebrated another year on earth and what I have learned is not to interfere. I was speaking with a colleague, and I told them that I hoped that they stuck around for a long time. Then I retracted my statement because if it came to pass, what opportunities would they miss if I had the power to keep them there? Pain is not pleasant, but it ebbs and flows. Pain serves to instruct us. If you touch a hot stove, you learn not to do it again. You take precautions. If you are going through challenges right now, just remember that they too shall pass. I guess this is the cliché quote blog – “be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.” I have been fortunate to receive many of my wishes. When I look back in hindsight, they made me happy, but they did not radically change my life. I am not advocating that we look at every moment as a blank slate because our past marks us. We should remember how we got our scars and learn from them.
What's next? You do not have to do anything. Life goes on with or without us. Who are you? What kind of mark will you leave? I encourage you to take some time and reflect. Take away your excuses and objections and rationalizations until you find your truth. Namaste.

Oblique Strategies Copyright © Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt

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