Mid-August 2018 Newsletter
Hello, and a mighty, astounding, Mid-August to you!
Are You Ignoring Something Important?
Welcome, or welcome back, to my newsletter.
Today's issue is about overlooking the obvious.
Most of us seem to have too much going on in our lives, what
with work, health, family, friends, finances, and trying
to make time for leisure pursuits too. With our attention
spread so thin, it's understandable that we can ignore
new or unusual input, unless it screams at us. So how do we
keep from missing something essential, until it grows
too big to be easily handled?
In my teens and twenties I read a great deal of science fiction
and fantasy, loving the way this exercised my imagination. I'm now
remembering a series of stories with the lead character, Thomas
Covenant, having leprosy and being transported to a strange land
where he was a hero, yet still had to manage his disease. Every
morning when he woke up and every evening before bed he'd carefully
check over his entire body, making sure he still had all his parts.
(It wasn't clear what he would have done if he found he had lost
a finger, for example.)
Another quote, this one by Oscar Wilde: "Everything in moderation,
including moderation". Most of us realize balance is key to a
happy life, and too much or too little of anything probably isn't
a good idea. Too much is addiction and compulsion, while too little
can be avoidance and denial ("What elephant?"). I like Thomas Covenant's
practice of attending to something important on a regular schedule,
with a routine in place.
Although I've forgotten most of Thomas Covenant's adventures
by now, that regular twice-daily ritual stuck in my mind,
making a big impression. It reminds me of the Thomas
Jefferson quote "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom".
Almost everyone wants freedom, yet "eternal vigilance" seems
like a lot of work! Is the only way not to miss something
important, to spend our lives obsessively checking that every
little thing is OK? What about the ideal of work/life (or
effort, then relax and play) balance?
We already adhere to some sort of routine with our finances, perhaps paying
bills every month, or with our cleanliness by washing regularly, or our
health with periodic medical checkups. Something you don't want to forget
can be tacked onto an existing routine, maybe scheduling an oil change for
your car when the time arrives for your yearly doctor's exam. You can
also write a reminder on your calendar to contact that relative next week,
since you haven't talked in a while. Otherwise a month or more may go by until
you think of it again. This assumes, of course, that you look at your calendar
To me we're here to learn, to connect with others, and to enjoy ourselves. Each of
these is difficult if we walk around with the nagging feeling of having overlooked
something important -- we can't fully relax. Staying reasonably organized, and remaining
aware of the condition of the primary areas of our life, will keep anything big from
falling through the cracks and creating a major problem. Hold on to
the steering wheel of your life loosely, scanning the scenery for what
needs attention. You're in charge of your direction, and your speed.
So keep your eyes open for changes in the environment surrounding you,
and have a good time on the ride!
To read about overlooking visual input,
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You're helping many other people!
Enjoy the second half of your August.
I'll write again in a couple of weeks. Take care!