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Keep on Running

By Billy | April 1, 2011

Although I’ve only been here a week, I can’t help but find myself wondering, “is this where I belong?  Will I stay here?  What if I get a work visa and can stay indefinitely?  Will I want that?  Will I do it?”

I love Austria, but I have to keep in mind that it is all very new to me.  Novelty creates certain chemicals in the human brain that make it think, “ahhhh yeaaah.  That’s right.”  My brain must be basting in feel-good chemicals right now, and it’s entirely possible that once the novelty wears off, I will tire of the weather, I will tire of the same old people, I will tire of the same old trees, the same old falling apart buildings, and the same old camp-fire smells in the Stadt.  Will I feel the need to move on to a new novelty?  Will I want to stay in Europe, but not in Austria, or stay in Austria but not Weitra?

On the one hand, my whims are entirely unpredictable.  4 months ago, I had no idea I’d be in Europe today, and just the same, I have no idea where I’ll be a year from today.  On the other hand, it is completely my choice to let this experience steep properly or rot and fester.  Time can brew a sweet Weitra-Brau Bier, or turn things into a cesspool.  The only difference between sewage and compost is how you treat it.  One will poison crops, the other will revitalize them better than any artificial fertilizer can.  I have complete and total control over how I feel about this place.  If I choose to like it because it’s novel, I believe I will focus on only the newness of my situation and after a year, maybe, I will be yearning for the USA.  Another option, perhaps, is to choose to love Austria because it is my choice, and nobody else’s.  If I focus on that, I think I’ll develop my thoughts around that sense of ownership and I will create a lasting sense of happiness.  A controllable sense of placement, too.  I think by cultivating that sense of purpose and direction, I will leave the most doors open.

If I love something because it was my choice, then I have every opportunity to move on to something else because it’s my choice, or to stay forever because it’s my choice.  I am not held anywhere by anyone but myself.  Master of my domain.  Ribbono Shel Olam.

If you live reactively, you are a slave.  Addicted to circumstance.  And the worst part about that is that you will wait for your circumstance to improve before you stop that addiction.  If I allow my Austrian experience to own me, I will probably move back to the States having been defeated.  Be it 4 months, 4 seasons, 4 years, or 4 decades, I will have lost, or at least never actualized the experience that I rightly deserve (because I say I deserve it).

I am making it my goal here in Weitra to learn to be content.  Perhaps there is a difference between happiness and contentedness.  I do not set my goal to be happy here, but to be complete here.  Learning to be content is a skill that can transcend cultures, times, places, and situations.  If I trick myself into believing I am content because I am happy, I will trick myself into believing I am not content because I am unhappy.  Na!  If I think my degree of completion is dependent on my current happiness, I will feel incomplete no matter where I go, because nobody is happy all the time.  Nobody.  And no where, no thing, no person, no type of existence whatsoever will ever make you be happy.


I worry sometimes.  Maybe I’m escaping from my life by coming to Austria.  America-me can go on hold for a year or longer and I don’t need to worry about him for a while.  The problem with trying to escape from something is that you’re usually running from the wrong thing.  “My problems” in America don’t exist without me, so they’re not real things.  The thing that makes them problems is me. Thus, I am making my own problems, and if I don’t change things, the same old problems, or new incarnations of the same old problems, will find their way to me.  Running away from a problem doesn’t fix things, because the only problem is you — specifically the you who is running away.

SO.  Here I sit between an ancient church and an ancient castle, and here I sit between a lovely paradox.  I must choose to allow myself to be content.  I must choose to relinquish ‘power’ and to acknowledge that I can’t control every circumstance.  Trying to control circumstances is trying to create happiness, confusing that happiness with completion and contentedness.  I have complete control, but only over my own universe.  I have absolute power, but only the power to choose.

So.  In the midst of this paradox; that ultimate power is the choice to be receptive.  I will choose to be content here in Weitra.  Because if I don’t, I will be putting off the only important thing I can do.  I can put this off forever — maybe til I die.  And what then?  If I spend my life looking forward to the next “good” thing, I’ll probably carry that nasty habit over to my dead self, pretending theres even some semblance of consciousness or sentience after this life.  Things aren’t good or bad, in any type of existence.  They just ‘is’ and ‘be.’  The choice for goodness depends on me.

So.  Now I’ve got to stop thinking about it and start trying it.  Realizing you have everything you’ll ever want and ever need, realizing that you are as complete as you ever can be right here, right now, is not a thing you do over night.  You have to spend forever constantly realizing you’re already home.

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