Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste

Tranquility of the Float.

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Life is not so flat. We are not walking on a field, free to choose any direction we wish. We live our lives floating on a river. More accurately in modern times, an artificial river at an amusement park. As we float by we are free to enjoy the spectacles that other people have created for us.

We are also very fortunate, we can get off our ride and choose another. Sometimes it takes a bit of work, but we always have a choice. It’s not merely changing directions, it’s a new path to experience. We can take our fellow passengers with us or leave them behind. We are always on a ride, though.

Our best efforts, greatest strengths and ambitions cannot change the direction of the ride. We can only choose a different ride. This is why we must give the most consideration to not only which ride we are on, but who we share the ride with. I share my particular ride with a spectacular family and a few select friends. I am in good company.

Whenever I have changed rides after finding myself in a miserable situation, I try to apply the magic of hindsight analysis. I’m very obsessive over this but most people are. Usually the problems are obvious, in hindsight. Time and time again we find ourselves failing in the same way over and over again. Sometimes we fail again and never change the river we’re floating on, then we’re surprised at the outcome. How can we fix this?

There are so many books to read, people to talk to and maps to study. Why do we still fail? I believe it is a result of not studying the likely outcomes and then simply trusting our intuition. We do not make conscious choices that are backed up by our intuition. Instead we fight it. “Well, my gut says no but I can think of no reason not to!”.

Many paths in life have a worst case scenario that is better than our current direction. We feel trapped and don’t make the leap to change. It’s understandable and very hard to make a leap into the unknown, regardless how much study and preparation has been made. That leap can be wonderful and lead to amazing new experiences but our comfort keeps us still.

With adequate due diligence and forethought, there should be no fear. Accept and enjoy the moment of discomfort; adjustments are always necessary, discomfort is a sign of adjustment. Be attuned to signs of stress. Tension in the jaw or shoulder. If you didn’t change course and feel that, think again about change. If you decided to change and have manifested discomfort from stress, figure out why. Maybe it wasn’t the right choice.

Our subconscious and our body knows more than our conscious mind ever will, but it cannot tell us anything directly. These muttered messages are the best we have.

I’ve been relaxed for a while now. My jaw is relaxed. My shoulders loose. I have a smile on my face. This is what life is about. It’s not about a big paycheck, exotic cars or world travels. It’s about looking at people you love and smiling from the inside and out, and seeing them smile back.