Have you ever worked on something for years and missed an important piece that has been right in front of your face the whole time? I had that experience today. My initial reaction of shame and stupidity quickly gave way to laughter. I rely on humor for perspective even if it gets a little dark sometimes. I do this because if I venture too far into the labyrinth of self-recrimination I will get lost and I don’t have the time or energy to try and crawl my way out. Just beyond the door of this labyrinth there is a big hill with many forks. It hopefully is not that way for you, but it is that way for some of us. I know it is a steep hill because once I enter I quickly build momentum on my downward spiral. I know it has many forks because there is no straight line from where I end up to where I started. There is a type of consistence to the journey; it is always a long way back to where I began and many of the paths have been well traveled. Funny thing is they seem to be the ones with a dark hole at the end. You know, the hardest ones to climb out of. That is why I open doors carefully. I have become a proponent of not starting down a path that has no real upside. Seems obvious, but I have wandered by a dead-end sign and fell in a hole many times in the past. To know and to do have a tenuous correlation.
Enlightenment without self-discipline has little value and self-discipline is best exercised before you start down the hill. Inspired by England’s response to the recent terrorist attacks’ I have decided to have a “stiff upper lip”. I loved the picture of the man leaving one of the scenes walking slightly faster than normal, but careful not to spill a drop of his pint., or the man when asked, “how long do you think people will be afraid” he responded, “My good man, fear is not the appropriate response to terror. We are British don’t you know? We simple carry on. Perhaps you mistook someone grieving for fear. We do grieve, we just prefer you do it in a quiet manner.” I personally don’t care how someone chooses to grieve. However, the effectiveness of your emotional response, accompanying thought pattern, and behavior to a given realization should be given careful thought. It is easy to think we can’t control our emotions and thoughts, even though we tend to hold other people responsible for theirs. In some ways, the more we explore the subject, the more confusing it gets. It is like math and God, most people are better off if they just accept the basic tenets and follow them, rather than struggling to get a deep understanding. I have two simple rules; the first one is “just don’t go there”. Like when the British guy said, Fear is not the appropriate response to terror.” There can be honor in humility, but little is gained by self-recrimination. My second rule is “be kind”; to yourself as well as others. That’s all I got and more than you wanted.