Sunday, February 14, 2016


I don't like election years (and the unending nominating process that fills the intervening years) because I get agitated and annoyed listening to the things said and the manner in which they are said and the whole strident shebang. 

When I step back from my agitation and observe what is going on inside, I discover that agitation and anger are the surface, but underneath them lies fear. I am afraid of what will happen if __________ is elected president/governor/senator. 
This despite the fact that experience has shown me that no matter who is elected, things get better and then get worse and then get better and then get worse and then stay steady for a short time and then ...
I wish I could say that my fear is for the country/state, and that is part of it. But I realize that underneath the fear of what will happen to the country is fear about what might happen to me.

And so I work my way back to the source of all (most) of my distress -- self. 

I once told a spiritual director that I feared losing control, that I feared that I would go to extremes

There may be a bit of truth in that.

But the bottom line is that I fear being out of control of everything. I want, as has been said better elsewhere, to be the playwright, the director, the casting agent, the scene designer and lighting crew. 

Everything would be perfect if people would just do what I want them to do. When I want them to do it. Where I want them to do it. And how I want them to do it.

Is it too much to ask?

But of course, I have no control over the lighting, the scenery, the cast or anything much else. I have only some control over myself. (Have I come full circle?)

I used to say, when I worked at the little railroad, that the only problem with that place was that there were too many control freaks who refused to do what I wanted.

πάντα ῥεῖ, said Heraclitus, "Everything flows."

"Impermanent, subject to change, are component things. Strive on with heedfulness!" This was the final admonition of the Buddha to his disciples. 

"All things are passing", St. Teresa wrote on a bookmark found in her breviary after her death.

Including me.  


Thomas Withers said...

An interesting ponder, Michael. I find myself that when my concern is disinterested -- truly concern for the nation, for example -- my level of anger and my agitation are not as intense. And never forget that anger is an emotional energy that can be directed to do battle against evil. (I know, I know -- perceived evil is not the same as objective evil and my anger may arise from error.)

And a ripe and ready Lupercalia to you!

Dave R said...

Nothing is permanent, everything ephemeral; those things without the ability to change and grow and evolve will relegate themselves to the past.

Ur-spo said...

this was a lovely post; thank you for sharing it.
I spend a lot of my job trying to convince people being in control is really overrated.