On Purpose?


I was asked–in the course of a conversation so there was some context because this would be weird to come from the blue–if I liked learning stuff about myself. I had to think about this for a little bit. Do I enjoy mining the depths of my psyche? Did I savor unlocking truths about Doc? I rolled this thought back and forth through my brain, considering what it means. Then I was like, “No.”

Seriously, there are so many things to learn that are not me, and I spend plenty of time with me. All of the time. Like ALL of my time. I can’t get away from me. And if I am using my learning time on myself, how will I ever figure out how the blockchain works?

The questioner, unlike my shallow self, really enjoys self exploration, finds it fascinating, revels in the time to attain knowledge of their substance. For them, there is value in the activity itself and in the insight gained.

And I’m like, “Why?”

Why would I struggle through the probing and, sometimes, pain of reflection? Because it’s good for me? I eat vegetables–even learned to like spinach and brussels sprouts. I walk past the closest subway stop to the next one to get more steps in. I cut back on booze. I got a flu shot. I do plenty good for me stuff.

Don’t roll your eyes. I’m learning how to cook fish. I’m learning about how video games are rewiring the brains of especially young men. I’m learning about institutional racism. I’m learning how to get rid of the damn raccoon that’s trying to move in without paying rent or signing a lease. I’m learning how to change my wiper blades. I’m learning which bus can get me to work when the Red Line closes down next month. I’m learning  the limits of political decorum and gridlock. I’m learning about the Outkast catalog.

So, ambient learning about me? I don’t think so.

I don’t like to do things just to do them. I don’t get jazzed about process as much as I do results. So, all of the self-learning that I do is about outcomes. Understanding my role in an argument with The Spouse so my apology is meaningful. Being the boss who helps staff succeed. Figuring out how I contribute to the pool of general negativity so I can combat it. Mastering my triggers and maximizing my strengths to be a better Doc.

I don’t want to know about myself. I need to know about myself.

In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own. ~Alice Walker


Sticks and Stones

Sad Robot from Mike's Art Gallery, art.soboring.orgMy mother said something unforgivable to my sibling last week.

No, I really mean it. Unforgivable.

At least I couldn’t forgive it. But the Sib has forgiven my mother for really bad behaviors in the past.

And this got me thinking about how we communicate, what we say, the context surrounding what we say and what we actually mean.

If someone says something really cruel, really awful but doesn’t intent to hurt, is that easier to forgive? I would say, yes.

If someone says something cruel with the intention to hurt someone, is that less forgivable? I would say, yes, again.

If someone is mentally ill, AND says something cruel, both knowing and intending to inflict pain, is that more forgivable? I am thinking, not so much.

If someone is trying to protect themselves and feels that they need to strike out viciously at someone they love, are they sick? Well, Yes.

Does that make it more forgivable? Not for me.

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves. — T.S. Eliot

If someone says something really mean, and they sincerely are sorry and ask for forgiveness, is that more forgivable? I think so, especially if they were really trying to right the wrong.

If someone says something really mean and never asks for forgiveness, how do you forgive?

Doing What?

Well, I have been quite remiss in my entries of late. And I figured out why.

Too much doing, and not enough thinking.

Doing what? Like driving. Back and forth. To work and school. Dropping off at practice. Picking up at practice. Oh, and the drive-thrus.

Doing what else? Like talking on the phone. I don’t even know what about. I know that I shouldn’t talk while I am driving, but it has become mutually inclusive. And rest assured there is no thought going into these conversations.

Doing what else? Like furrowing my brow. There has been a bunch of brow furrowing going on for the past few months. Again, not a thoughtful kind of furrowing. Just that just below a boil worry. No great breakthroughs, because that would have meant there was some thinking.

Doing anything else? I will be damned if I could identify effective use of my non-thinking time. It seems like I am in a whirlwind of activity, yet little to show.

I think–hey! that’s a good start–that I will work to be a little more mindful. Using my mind rather than losing my mind. That feels better already.