What’s the Main Course of Your Mind?

I was out shopping this morning, and I bumped into a friend of mine. She is the kind of friend that you can catch right back up with after along absence without missing  beat. It’s great when you can make friends like that. She was shopping for a dinner party is planning on having next weekend. She belongs to a book club, and they get together to read different books and discuss them. The group only has six members, but she says they are a tight group because they all share the same interests as far as books go, and they can discuss the latest novel for hours on end.  They usually meet in a bookstore or a coffee shop, but once every couple of months they meet at one of the members house, and this is her turn. When I bumped into her, she was having trouble finding what she was looking for. She’d found this really interesting recipe, but she neglected to bring it with her to the supermarket, so she couldn’t really remember what was in it, as she’d never cooked it before. She was on the fence between guessing, and going home to get it.

Sometimes when you have a difficult decision to make, it can be frustrating. You think about going one way, and then you suddenly change your mind and think about going the other way. Sometimes it seems that the more you think about it, the more difficult the decision can become. What can even make things worse is when you have several people involved and everybody wants to go in different directions. It can be absolutely maddening. I was on a hiking trip, and we didn’t take the time to plan ahead, so when difficulties came up, we had to spend a long time discussing which way to go. Once we came upon a trail that was closed due to maintenance, and we stood there and argued for what seemed like an hour trying to figure out what alternative route to take.

And when you think about it, there are always alternative routes to take. Even if there is only one road, there are different times you can travel this road and find things of value here. I took a seminar once, shortly after new years, on goal setting. The guy said that setting goals is much better than making resolutions. He said that the more clear you are when you choose your desire, the more flexible you can be with how you get there. The problem most people have, he said, was that their desire that they’ve chosen is kind of vague, so when they think they are making progress, they are actually going in the wrong direction. Because they weren’t able to set a clear goal, they aren’t able to see the results they achieve when they get there.

As it turns out, while we were standing their arguing, a couple came walking up from one of our two choices. We asked where’d they came from, and they said that down this trail was a fantastic lake, and a big meadow with many wildflowers. And we decided to take this way, in part because they seemed to describe it so enthusiastically. And when other people describe things enthusiastically, you know there is something good here.

So I asked my friend if she was having some old friends over for dinner, or trying to impress a first date. She knew where I was going with this and realized the recipe wasn’t the most important thing. The most important thing was having a group of close friends over to discuss this really good book they’d all separately had the experience of reading and enjoying this, and were going to share it. The dinner was just a side dish, not the main course of the evening.