Sunday, April 26, 2009

In decision

say, hypothetically, that you're a mid-career professional trying to weigh a job you already know you love (teaching, research, summers to plot as you see fit, a manageable level of known frustrations) against a position -- let's say, since we're speaking hypothetically, an administrative position that would give you a chance to make a difference in the institution, collaborate with good people in an atmosphere on the brink of change, and potentially set you up for other possibilities down the line. how do you make a decision?

first there's the gut reaction, which in my case is contradictory.
heart: i love teaching, don't make me panic like that!
head: oh, wow, that's so tantalizing, tell me just a tiny bit more...
stomach: what'll that get me?
back: bring it.
supraspinatus: oh no you don't.
feet: shoes! shoes!

then there's the pro/con list, a useful heuristic that ultimately tells you what you already know: there are pros and cons to both sides.

so then you ask people. mo knows me better than anybody in the world and i seek out her advice and listen to it. but mo is also the one who talked me into investing in a pyramid scheme back in 1997.

my father? no help. "you had to know this is coming," he said; when i whined "yeah, but not so soon...," he laughed and said something about how life is what happens while you're making other plans.

friends and colleagues are great, but cursed with a thoughtfulness that is guaranteed to complicate everything. i don't need new ways of thinking through the issue; i need crisp direction.

i need cosmic guidance.

horoscope 1 points out that "someone might not even realize what they are saying or asking. the end result might be a lot of confusion. ultimately it will be your choice which way to go." thanks. horoscope 2 is equally helpful: "a new moon in your sign makes this a weekend full of potential. whatever dreams you have and whatever plans you have made, now is the time to do something about them. believe in yourself and you will triumph, no matter what the odds against you are." which is nice, but hardly full of direction, and that bit about the odds against me is unnerving.

happily, the oracle has an internet connection. over at, the oracle divined hexagram 35, "progress," changing to 61, "inner trust." in the oracle's own words: "35. the marquis of kang made use of given horses. they multiplied to a great number. every day they mated three times during the daytime. progress by making effective use of opportunities." that hexagram transmogrifies to "61. inner trust of piglets and fishes. good fortune. it is beneficial to cross the big river. it is beneficial to persist. have confidence like the piglets and fishes have. things go well. this is a good moment for big undertakings. keep going on."

at (the oracle apparently has a couple of online sites), astonishingly, i also draw 35, the progress hexagram primary, and 51, shock, as the secondary: "shock brings success. ... the superior man examines himself and sets his life in order." indeed.

i cast three runes, which said:
- make up your mind
- it is a beautiful gift, but every gift has strings attached
- follow your heart.

i did a mah jongg reading.

i napped on it, and when i woke up i realized: the stars are right, the oracle knows what he's talking about, the runes point the way forward. the reason it's such a hard decision is that there is no bad choice. i can't say exactly when or how i came to a decision; it's not a mere function of logic yet it's more complicated than following your heart. through suspending both possibilities for a time, one of them has shaped itself as the future. and so -- i know what to do.


VicoLetter said...

Don't make me cry first thing on a Sunday morning! Heysuess! Okay, go ahead and make me cry. Lovely lovely.
VicoLe thinks VL knows which path you chose but look forward to hearing in person.
No wrong decisions once you've given your choices much considered thought and woken up with an answer. Especially lovely are the horses... and there are many, many ways to teach, to learn to be brilliant in the world.
Love you my dear. xo

Lisa said...

Wow. I looked at your mah jongg reading...The sword in the west is interesting. Next to fire though.. Something tells me that you will have more decisions to be making soon. I think the fire just means that whatever your choice is, you will be using a lot of mental energy. Always nice to see the ducks too...although in the 2nd it indicates that you are caring about your partner and that you are anxious about caring for others. I would love to know what the decision is. My motto is: when in doubt, choose the hardest one...

鐵板豆腐Fay said...