Complexities Beyond My Grasp

Earlier this week I was in a store buying vitamins, and I had another glimpse of just how complex our bodies are. So many systems running at once, and so many linked together. This bio-chemical (vitamins are actually bio-chemicals that we either build ourselves or take from food sources) helps that function, while this other chemical helps the same function at a different point in the chemical reaction. I wonder that any of us become doctors and medical researchers and can try to make sense of it all.

Perhaps some of us try to reduce our perspective or line of work to single equations and single systems so as to make it mentally manageable. I say we because I buy the vitamins thinking that I can alleviate this symptom or avoid that problem if I adjust one bio-chemical level.

Perhaps we shouldn’t. Well, we should care for our bodies and try to understand. What we perhaps shouldn’t do is think we are capable of grasping the mysterious world in us fully. I see this intellectual arrogance in myself, and I don’t much like it. Today I will try to appreciate the complexity that is beyond my grasp and admire it, without attempting to conquer it.

How about you, dear reader? Do you attempt to think your body is fully understandable and even fully conquerable? Do you think anything in this world is?


Trusting in the Past

Lately, I have been noticing how much I trust the past to be as factual and know-able as the present, and I have been noticing that it really isn’t more than memory. I have notes that I made about family objects. They seem to be correct in spots because they rely on memory when written down, and then the notes may have been intended for a different object, or perhaps someone else has a different memory of the same object.

My point, and perhaps you have noticed something similar, is that the past is not so very concrete and trustworthy. Not even in writing. The present, each of us sees clearly, but differently. So see today and appreciate it, and let yesterday be only memory.

The Perils of Giving Advice

Yesterday I gave advice to my boss without being asked to do so and was asked for advice by another person without actually having a good piece of advice to give because I did not have an answer to that question and so gave other advice. Oh me, what will I do with myself?

This morning I wonder if there’s a distinction to be made between being asked for an answer to a question and being asked for help in general. Perhaps if someone asks a specific question and I answer, then I am on the helpful and not the meddling side of this distinction.

I know there should be a boundary between seeing someone needing help and giving that help without being asked.

Perhaps it all has to do with recognizing who can help us when we do want help and being in the right frame of mind to ask for help, and it all has to do with not helping unless asked. Maybe an ideal world works that way. Maybe I can get a bit closer to the ideal than I do at present.

How about you, my reader? I assume you don’t want advice unasked. Is that a correct assumption? Do you give advice unasked, filing it mentally under providing tips, sharing memories, delivery of life wisdom, or simply chatting?

Mental Structures and Story

A friend said to me last week that Structure Binds Anxiety, by which he meant that having a plan or a schedule which one can rely on reduces worry. A nifty little saying. He certainly has found a piece of the puzzle of ourselves.

We constantly make meaning of our context through story and memory. If you go visit a memory care facility, you will see that without our story and memory to explain context; we become very frustrated, frightened, and/or withdrawn. If you haven’t been to such a place, try going somewhere that people speak a different language, do things without a schedule, and have objects unknown to you and you will feel the effect of disconnection from meaning.

Another related idea is that our story of self bolsters our decisions. What we think is a good option in any situation is determined, at least in part, by our sense of what is happening, what we are capable of doing, and what we are permitted to do or not do. For me, this sense often takes the form of what is my role in the overall situation as I know it. At home my role is more than my chore list or my title; my role has to do with how I am related to each person in my family, what I need, and what I think each one needs and wants from me as distinct from the others.

That is a very abstract way to say that when I plan supper, I know what everyone needs by way of diet and wants by way of taste, then I go through my list of dishes I prepare well and the ingredients I remember to be in the kitchen, then I go cook. Likewise when I walk through the house, I am aware of what items belong where and I often tidy up after the others or ask one of the others to tidy a particular area based on my sense of who should do what and who should be in charge of which areas.

I feel I have wandered a bit or am getting boring, so I will conclude. It seems to me that understanding of situation helps me to predict what should happen next and that helps me to have a sense of control. A positive view of the present arising from Structure helps me to not go into over-controlling and over-thinking mode. Does this make sense to your life and your story, gentle reader?