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Max Roytenberg

Max Roytenberg:Peek-a-Boo !

by Max Roytenberg, September 20, 2014, Vancouver, Canada.




Can you see through all the static/chaff clouding the view of your life to get a clear picture of where you are, where you have been, and most important, where you want to go? Has your life been more BOO! than peek, catching you unawares, and unprepared for all the things coming at you? Recently, big changes have occurred in my life after staying put in one situation for many years, so I am thinking about this stuff. It helped to have given some thought to what I really wanted to do so that I had a sense of direction when the time came to make some decisions. Life has a way of inexorably closing/opening the avenues in your life track in a way that dictates decision-making whether we like it, will it, or not. Growing older will do that if nothing else does. What do you out there think about that? Were you thinking about that? I am in the older category. I’ve been spending some of my time looking back to see if I can make some sense of it all.




When I think about it, I have always accepted myself a kind of Don Quixote, chock-full of impassioned views about a whole range of issues. I don’t mind blundering about a bit if it helps me learn how to go about realizing my dreams, bringing reality to things I believe are important. I have often just jumped in, and then tried to figure out later how to get what I believe in on the road to happening. It’s probably not the best way, but I get impatient with just thinking about it, just talking about it. Aren’t there things in your life that start your motor?




I have often tilted at windmills, but I have always had an agenda tucked away in my head. And sometimes there are some to-do things that I didn’t tell even to myself until the ultimate moment of truth. I have always felt that I could change the course of events by the focus I placed on the things/issues I believed important. I may seem full of myself, but I have had the personal experience of being able to do just that. So I approach things with an overdose of optimism and energy. Of course, I could not accomplish the desirable things by myself alone,-I am not so egomaniac that I believe that-but working with others that I am always convinced I can bring others around to my view, (mainly by showing them how they could personally benefit.) I have had some success in that respect. I am sure many of you have had the same experiences.




Let’s get real! We all live with the unknown, the indeterminate, the inexplicable, the unexpected and the unpredictable. We are all, to an important extent, mere straws in the wind, bowled over by events over which we have little or no control. It requires optimism, in spite of this, that we can have an influence over events. Otherwise there would be no point in making plans. What are wishes but plans in a different form? It is when you start thinking about how to realize your wishes that you stumble into making a plan.




So, as we make peek-a-boo with our futures, it helps to believe that we are important actors in the mix of elements that govern what we are and what we will become. I think it might be  important to share that attitude with those around us that we care for. Don’t we want them to come along with us, and who knows, we may need their help to make things happen? What a novel idea! But for sure, we can’t begin to get to where we want to be if we don’t make the effort to show up.




I get charged up about how America is such an important part in my believing in that kind of configuration of life. It’s the whole idea that in this kind of country it is so much more possible to be masters of our own fate. And it makes me think about how important the concept of trying is. And it makes me think about how being Jewish is so much tied up with trying, because without that, given our history, many of us would just give up and accept the fate to which history appears to have condemned us. We know that for many of us we’re just wired not to give up. There’s a subject to knock about next time we’re together with the guys in the Pub!



They tell us the Jewish G-d knows all, but leaves every individual with free will. Indeed they tell us the Deity requires of every individual that he/she act to play their full part in determining their own fates. Think of Israel and its puny, impoverished and desperate beginnings only sixty years ago, compared with its miraculous Present, a bastion of strength, learning, science and freedom, even though beset by ill-wishers. And it makes me wonder at those philosophies which are, at their heart, fatalistic, the individuals surrendering themselves to the vagaries of chance, or to a power outside themselves to determine their fate. Look at how they have condemned millions of people to a life of misery by leaving them with an inability to conceive that they might be proactive about improving their situation. How do we go about changing that? Wouldn’t that change the world?



So, no more hide instead of seek. For us, its peek and peek and peek, and peek some more, and to heck with worrying about the BOO!


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