Life Is Voluntary

It’s easy to forget that you have to choose to live.

Gravity keeps you on the ground. Alarms go off when they’re told to. Green lights turn without a second thought. The world is set to auto-pilot, and you are a mere passenger.

But you? Your body is a work of art, isn’t it? Controlled by your own volition?

Not exactly.

You blink and breathe automatically. You pull back when something burns you and hunch down when it is too cold. Everything is instinctual and such a part of the fabric of life that it is easy to forget that you have to choose to live. You have to decide, everyday, that you are going to make the most of it. You have to think about what kind of contribution you are going to make. But how are you going to do that when the Starbucks barista knows your order and has it ready for you when you get there? What happens when you actually start to memorize the license plates of the cars that participate in the same daily commute as you? What happens when trying to live goes against the grain of life itself?

Well, ironically, you have to focus on that which is unintentional to create a deliberateness in your life.

Huh?

Okay, let me put it this way. You know when someone tells you to take a deep breath? Well, usually when you breathe, it sort of just occurs. It’s like waves on the shore; they roll in, they roll out. But like the sea, your breath is not in control. You are. Likewise, the ocean is not in control. The moon tugs at the waves and creates the tides. So, when you focus on your breathing, you are actually taking back control of what you already do naturally. It puts you in the driver’s seat again, which is really helpful when everything seems like it is crashing down around you, and you aren’t in control of anything.

So, that brings up another great point: you feel most helpless and angry when you are not able to navigate, when someone else is doing that for you. But, if you focus again on the things that were once self-regulating, like your breathing, you can begin to seize control and start to believe that more of life can be shaped to your advantage, even things that seem to beyond your sphere of influence.

Really, this is all a really fancy way of saying that everything in life is about choices. And even when you feel like you have run out of them, they are still there because there are decisions to be made in what is perceived as truth. You simply have to believe that you have the power to change what has always been.

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