Pulling The Strings
I became aware of how unaware I can be when I noticed a spoonful of smoldering oatmeal in front of my face this morning.
There it was, almost levitating, completely catching me off guard.
And there I was, blowing on it, attempting to cool it off. My arm, hand and mouth, completely on autopilot.
How was this happening?
Appropriately enough, I was in the middle of reading a book by Sam Harris entitled Free Will.
He doesn’t think we have any. And that’s just stupid, right?
I pulled the book off of the shelf at the bookstore, just to see how stupid this best selling author really is, and I swear, he had me flipped by the second page.
Of course we can choose between the choices in our head, but where do those choices even originate from? Neurochemistry? The Universe? God? All of the above? None of the above?
And what about this: I didn’t even intend to look at this book. As I was walking through the philosophy section, I noticed my shoe was untied so I bent down to remedy the situation. As I stood up, I noticed Sam Harris’ book and here we are.
Was it all coincidence? Serendipity? Divine intervention or dumb luck?
I stopped thinking about all of this when my mom walked into the kitchen to show me the cranberry colored sun hat she just brought home from Marshalls.
“Daddy would have loved it,” I said.
“He really liked me in hats,” she answered.
And then she went to her room. Maybe she continued to think about him. Maybe she returned to la-la land.
By the way, if you’re assuming I’m going to somehow tie all of this together by the end of this piece, I’ve got news for you kiddo, it’s probably not going to happen. I’m just writing this right now because I know I have to. It’s the choice I’m making between the choices of not doing so and doing so. So, if you want to stop reading right this second, be my guest. It’s a safe bet that you’re not going to miss anything good.
Without knowing I was going to write about it today, I posted this Shakespeare quote on Facebook yesterday:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
Is it possible that each of us, composed of 100 trillion cells, exists just so the Universe can express itself in the most mysterious of ways?
Not only is it possible, I think it’s highly probable.
And if that’s the case, all I can say is this: I’m goddamn grateful I’m me.
I’m goddamn grateful I’m me and not the lunatic I was talking to the other day at Starbucks. He’s a nice enough guy, not at all malicious, but relentlessly repetitive and it takes an amazing amount of willpower not to cut him off and say, “Dude, c’mon man. Give it a rest. I’m just trying to sit here, listen to a little music and enjoy my coffee.”
But I force myself to remember that, unlike you and me, his head isn’t going to give him a choice between shutting the fuck up and not shutting the fuck up. Apparently, like it or not, it’s verbal Pompeii.
Doesn’t it seem like the universe has a mind of it’s own?
This morning, after talking about the hat, my mom came back into the kitchen to tell me about her friend who needs surgery. His eyelashes, out of nowhere, have decided to point backwards and are now growing into his eyes.
Later in the day, as I was sauntering along the Long Beach boardwalk, I stopped to watch hotel employees setting up chairs on the beach for a wedding. And, at the exact same moment, somewhere in Michigan, my friend was at her best friend’s house, because her best friend’s brother hung himself this morning.
Maybe the choices everyone was given in all of these scenarios, and the choices made from those choices, lead to their outcomes.
Who the hell knows really.
I’m just grateful I always have the choice to be kind and I am grateful that I usually choose kindness over anything else.
Maybe the choice of constant kindness hasn’t been available to you.
And now that it has, what are you going to do with it?
If you’re still here reading, thank you. The universe thanks you.
Together, we shall see how it all unfolds next.
“In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success