Every so often we have a thought that shines out of the constant muddle that makes up awareness and lights up with brief precision to reveal a course of action that will bring change to the long-term. This thought makes perfect sense for the seconds it is alive, it eliminates the rest of the muddle or pushes it aside like Moses’ Red Sea trick, and glows with the simple knowledge that life will align itself once the thought is acted upon. As decision-making, it sneaks in without the information that the future inevitably brings.
The next steps define us: for some, the clarity lasts longer, perhaps minutes, perhaps hours, maybe even days or years. For some, it becomes the decision that is to shape the rest of one’s life. Mostly, the momentary clarity drifts back into the consciousness where it arose, or the decision is acted upon only to reveal a different reality than that illuminated. We are terrible predictors of the future.
To those moments of clarity that survive the details, to those decisions that light up with big promise and are upheld despite the inevitable evidence of difficulty: to those, how much of life do we owe? How much of creativity? How much of personal growth? How much of happiness? How much of grief? If we could collect these moments and stretch them out, how much of life would they take up? And if we lined them up, how much of life will they have shaped?
Perhaps this is what makes up personality: which of us reshapes life according to the brief illumination sparked in these moments; which ignores it in favor of prior knowledge or decisionmaking; which ignores it out of sheer laziness; which undertakes it only to be overwhelmed by future realities; which undertakes and abandons it despite continued promise; which continues its path stubbornly because of promise; which persists stubbornly despite evidence of doom?