• Posted: Feb 27, 2017 18:44:25
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Peace is precious. Peace of mind more precious still.
Many years ago I worked in a high pressure, extremely fast moving environment. The only way I could cope was to organize. New problems were quickly evaluated, triaged, fitted into the prevailing schedule, and assigned to the most appropriate available technician. By the time that was done, a minute or two later, it was time to return attention to the slew of problems already in progress, not unlike a juggler shifting to catch the next ball falling. On a daily basis, it was normal for me to have 15 to 20 balls/problems floating in the air/in progress at the same time, all requiring perfectly executed solution by looming deadlines later that same day. Without well maintained and calibrated equipment and chemical systems, without competent, healthy, rested, focused, and dedicated technicians, without a prideful sense of teamwork that allowed for and appreciated individual differences in talent, without sales people, management, and clients that trusted and relied upon my judgement, and without my own ability to maintain organization and quality, the whole department I ran would have very quickly fallen into dysfunctional chaos.
I did well in that position, not unlike the manager of a winning baseball team or the coach of a winning basketball team. Some have insisted I did that job better than any before or since. But I did not last in that position for more than a few years. I did not last because I could not maintain my personal internal sense of purpose and organization. At work, yes. But not at home. At home, I endured a very difficult marriage wherein things were not organized, well maintained, calibrated, healthful, and efficient. At work, my fellow employees were able to read each other, understand and adapt to each other, in ways that helped the team as a whole succeed. But at home, my wife and I did not read each other well, nor successfully adapt to each other, or efficiently complement each other’s efforts toward mutually agreed upon goals. Instead, we continuously bumped into each other, tripped each other up, poked and prodded at each other with ever increasing distrust and animosity, all detrimental to achieving almost any goal at all. My fault or hers? I still do not fully understand to this day. What I do know is that the only way I could cope at home was to take breaks in the form of long walks and/or long drives out into the country, often late into the night. I needed those breaks to calm myself, clear my mind, reconnect with my core feelings and aspirations, and steel myself for a return to home, and to work the next day.
The news these days is almost entirely dominated by erratic, irrational, and socially disruptive emanations coming from the White House and Republican controlled Congress. We have left the solid-as-a-rock predicability of the Obama/Bernanke era and entered into an era of increasing uncertainty with increasingly unforeseeable consequences. Trying to cope on a daily basis is becoming as unsettlingly impossible as was my marriage way back then, not unlike being in a family struggling for solid footing with a drug addicted, alcoholic, or mentally ill member within its midst. Almost without thinking, I now find myself returning to the self-preserving comfort of long walks and long drives through quiet country settings, just to settle my increasingly unsettled mind and churned up feelings.
In the long run, long walks and long drives are not a recipe for a peaceful, fulfilling, and sustainable world for all of us residing on this planet. But, it is a reminder that peace, peace of mind, wonderment, acceptance and appreciation of one another, and joy at being alive are not just impracticable pipe dreams, but far better goals for all of us to strive for than the vacuous and profoundly offensive slogan: Make America Great Again.
I do hope each and every one of you allow for finding that same reminder within most, if not all of your days.
Saturday, February 18th, 2017