Category Archives: Decide To

Feeling Cactus? Put the Bloom Back on the Rose Today, Grasshopper

A couple of weeks ago on my morning walk, I saw a cactus flower in full bloom. It was large, white, luscious and lifting its face to the sun. Full of energy.

My partner suggested we return with our cameras to capture the event. But after we arrived home and had breakfast, somehow the cactus flower left the to-do today agenda for the nether regions of tomorrowland.

Tomorrow arrived and the cactus flower was off the bloom, spent, exhausted from the effort of its beauty. Yes, it was cactus.

So the first picture with this post is the lesson for the day which, by now, you’ve probably guessed.

Cactus Flower

Cactus cactus flower

Don’t delay. Act. Whatever it is, do it now if it’s at all possible.

When opportunity arrives, grab it by the double p and shake it vigorously.

A personal case in point – yes, yet another instance of procrastination peeving a person. I wrote a short story about a time in the early 1980s – coming soon to an e-publishing platform near you – and I used a house I lived in then as a location.

As is the way of things, I thought an image of the house may serve as part of the cover design. The house is on the other side of town and it’s years since I was in that neighborhood. I’d been toying with the notion of a photo safari to shoot all the places I’ve lived in since I adopted Brisbane as my de facto hometown. So…

We drove there one day recently and discovered four townhouses where my old rental once graced the long gone grassy slope. They took up the block next door, too, spready little buggers.

Gone. Forever. No wretched image except for the one in my wretched mind’s eye.

I was so distraught that we resorted to cheeseburgers at the rebuilt, refurbished, totally over-sized yellow M take-away opposite so I could re-ground myself in the reality of grease and slamming ventricles – better that than a smack in the face with a dead cactus flower, anyway. Maybe.

You can see, then, that while we discovered another cactus flower actually in bloom, and had the good sense to photograph it before it was too late (again), my old house is eternally lost because I didn’t act in the now that has become then.

So sad. Too bad.

For what it’s worth and this is what all the mindfulness books, essays and blogs will tell you time and again: Act. Do it now.

You can’t always tell the difference between what may give you a re-run and what will disappear.

Do not fertilise regret, grasshopper.

Capture the cactus flower with its head raised in wondrous, sunny splendour, and rejoice in your immediacy.

Blooming cactus flower

Blooming Cactus Flower

A Hero of the Decisive Moment–Lillian Hellman


In a letter dated May 19, 1952, American writer, Lillian Hellman, refused to testify against her associates after being summoned to appear on May 21 before the now infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities.

This Committee, known as HUAC, was convened by Senator Joe McCarthy to root out Communists in the US.  It was an era of fear, nascent nuclear power, and the developing Cold War between the USSR and the West, and many careers and lives were destroyed because of McCarthy and his cohort’s obsessive paranoia about Communism and its followers.

Lillian Hellman, a hero of mine, made a decision of immediate and lasting significance by refusing to dob in her mates.  On this day over half a century ago, the Committee of hate-fuelled little men were advised: “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”  Her defiance saw her blacklisted by Hollywood for many years, but history has emphatically demonstrated who was on the side of justice and honour.

Let’s decide, like Lillian, not to cut our consciences, grasshoppers – but be ready for resistance, mostly from ourselves.

Heaven’s just a flicker of a decisive moment away


Rainbows are certainly a little glimpse of heaven, or else refracted light …

Have you decided yet whether or not you believe in heaven?  Did you ever contemplate making such a decision, or is your belief, one way or the other, so ingrained, so embedded like html code in the web, that you’ve never given it a second thought, you’ve never thought to re-decide your position? 

Why not think about it now as you read this Guardian interview with Stephen Hawking, Professor of Physics at Cambridge University in England (and author of the bestseller, A Brief History of Time – fairly unreadable by most people after the first few pages, I’d argue – of course, I could be in the midst of a gaggle of physics nerds, in which case, good luck to you, you stringy buggers). 

In essence, in this interview, Professor Hawking believes we’re walking computers and once our brains turn off the lights for the last time, that’s it.  Heaven, he says, is for those afraid of the dark.  So much for knowing the mind of God, as he wondered all those years ago in A Brief History …
What do you think, grasshoppers?  Heaven or no heaven?  Deal with God, or no Deal, ever?  Or would you rather fence-sit and wait to see what happens upon the last flicker?

P.S. Check out the comments in the Guardian article as well – some of them are laugh-worthy.

Leon’s Tree and Its Decisive Moments

Leon’s Tree Being Decisive

Leon’s tree, like all of us, experiences decisive moments every moment.  It’s a product of nature, like all of us, whose systems are constantly making decisions about how best to survive in its environment and weather the circadian rhythms of life.

So what better earthly creature to demonstrate that decisive moments aren’t always obvious and sometimes don’t become apparent for some time after they occur.  Sometimes, it’s never, but it can be calming to gaze upon a beautiful tree and know that, at every moment, decisions are being made that will decide its present and future. A Few More Blinks

Decide to Read Decisive Moments


Want to read up on how your brain works and, more specifically, how you make up your mind.  Why not decide to read Jonah Lehrer’s book The Decisive Moment: How the Brain Makes Up Its Mind.  The title is self-explanatory (there’s also an edition called How We Decideit’s the same book), but here’s some text from the blurb to help you decide:

If you believe rational thought is the foundation of wisdom and that the best decisions are based on logic not emotion, think again.  Our decisions are products of an intricate mix of reason, intuition and emotion.  If we relied on reason alone we’d be almost incapable of deciding anything at all.

The Decisive Moment tells the amazing story of what goes on in th ebrain when we make a decision.  In lucid and accessible prose Lehrer presents cutting-edge neuroscience and psychological research.  He uncovers the debate occurring between different parts of the brain when we face a choice – a debate we are almost always unaware of and often have no control over.

Jonah Lehrer also has a very interesting blog at Wired called The Frontal Cortex where you can read more about the brain and its funny little ways.  Highly recommended.

The Decisive Day is Nigh, but Don’t Max Out Your Credit Cards Yet.


It seems we’re inching closer to Armageddon, the end of days, the last of the Autumn Sales, with diminishing opportunities to enjoy a really great cheesecake.

How do I know this?  Because I read the billboards, grasshoppers.  And the billboards here in my adopted hometown tell me that Judgement Day is scheduled for 21 May, 2011.  That’s a Saturday, and according to my funny little 2011 diary, it’s also Armed Forces Day.  I don’t know which Armed Forces, could be the Four Horsemen of the Royal Apocalypse Regiment, I guess – good old FH RAR.

Interestingly, my funny little diary continues through to the end of the year, so I suppose that’s a waste of paper.  I plan to make the most of those spare pages by doodling my way out of existence on 21 May while drinking tea, eating pizza and sliding that last delicious slice of cheesecake off the spoon and into my soon to be immolated innards.

So, to cut things short – I’m sure you’ll understand I don’t have time to dawdle – here’s the deal: use Saturday, 21 May 2011, as a Day of Decision. A Few Blinks More