Monday, March 16, 2015

Very old, but New to me

Tonight we get on a plane and fly away.  It's part of the changes in my life as I morph into being one of the travelling "young-old". There are flocks of us, from almost every country, going almost everywhere.  We are even going on a tour, which is something I've never done.Aside from basketball and baseball, I never meshed well with group things.

I always preferred to feel my way along in the dark.

But we are headed to a hot spot, and it's better to be with a group.
The election is going on there.  Just like here, we will see if a huge amount of American money from very few sources ( many of the same sources actually) can decide who runs  a country.

As many of you know by now, my religious commitments are vague at best.  Still, we will see most of the historical sites, places that date back hundred and thousand of years.  These places have a long history of people claiming important reasons for being there, and getting quite upset if others want to be there too.  All that ruckus continues to this day, and it would be fascinating to see it all if all of this had not resulted in so many fatalities.

My view on all of this is that I am totally skeptical of anyone who is certain that they have the truth, the ONLY truth.

I know I'm right about that....but I could be wrong.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Making Changes --Me

It's been about six months since I have taken on this new lifestyle.  It was on the Summer Solstice that I officially cut down on seeing patients by about 90%.  Then I had the summer to play and frolic. That doesn't count as a real test of change as I easily did more of the things I did every summer, paddle and putt, bike and chase children across the sand and into the waves.  I can’t say that I suffered.

But as the leaves began to change, the daylight hours became fewer and the air took on a bit of a chill, I began to notice that I was waking up here, and I didn’t have to go there.  It was certainly easier, but it certainly felt strange.

I had gradually been working my way towards this time.  I had always wondered how I would do.  I had worked with  thousands of people, trying to help them make changes in their lives.  I talked to others about how they would feel weird and out of place, even when the changes were the ones they had wanted to make.  Many of my patients were about my age and I had gone through their retirement transition with them.  For many different reasons, they had a much rougher road to travel than I did.  I had worked with several men who had been in powerful positions in corporations or in government, and now they weren’t.  And endings like that don’t usually happen gracefully.

Mine was of my own choosing, at my own time, and with a plan of what I wanted to do next. 

Now, six, or nine months later, depending on when I start to count, I am just beginning to feel comfortable.  I am doing what I set out to do, which is trying to explain to others about how difficult change really is.  The future of that endeavor is not yet clear, but I feel I have made a good start, and hope to get some traction soon.

Still, it’s more difficult psychologically, being on the edges than being in the action.  My new pattern of living is certainly less stressful physically, but I have never really felt the free-floating anxiety that goes with such a lack of structure before. 

Thankfully, that is lifting, and I am feeling hopeful and invigorated.  You never feel as good as you do after you feel bad. Being able to see over the snowdrifts and believe that spring is coming has also given me an emotional boost. 

From this vantage point I can only encourage all of you to keep going through your own periods of transition, which I know, for many people is constant.  Change always brings with it a realigning of emotions, an adjustment, a new perspective.   Like our species, we are all evolving and adapting in our own lives.   If we can’t change we risk extinction. 

That doesn’t sound like fun. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Thoughts about the Boston Bomber

Almost two years after the horrifying explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the surviving suspected perpetrator of that act is going on trial.  The trial is expected to last two or three months. There seems to be enough evidence to convict him.  Most of the attention is focused on whether he should be put to death as a punishment.

To me, the death penalty is only part of the question, what is really the question is the whole trial.  If the  death penalty was dropped then the whole trial and all of it’s horror show could be avoided.  The trail will only incite more anti-terrorist, anti-Muslim, anti-non white, non Christian feelings.  It will provoke passions of revenge, for war, for proactive strikes against whomever doesn't like us anywhere in the world.

I believe that the kid is responsible for what he did, at least as far as the law and the state are concerned.  How much of a real choice he had to really consider what he was doing; I guess he didn’t. He was boxed in, he was persuaded. He became a believer in the jihadist mission.

I don’t know this kid.  I have had some contact with one of his high school teachers who feels shocked and mortified by what he did. Tsarnaev has been described by others in interviews with the press as a decent kid, who was more of a partier than political, more passive than an activist.

I read that his family are Muslims who live in Russia.  The Russians have persecuted Muslims for years.  The Muslims have committed many terrible terrorist acts in Russia in response.  So there has been an example in his culture of how to respond to feelings of persecution and marginalization.  Why this kid, who was going to college, had friends and was going to parties, felt so persecuted and marginalized is my question.

Most people blame his older brother, who seemed to have failed at boxing, at his marriage and a few other things and seemed to have very little going for him.  This is probably part of it.

What I would like to know is what has to transpire to make someone who doesn’t seem to be genetically hot-tempered, reach a level of alienation and rejection that he needs to call attention to his pain by killing total strangers who are just living their lives.  His pain overcame any feelings of empathy, any sense of humanity, or even the consequences on what this act would do to the value of his own life.  Did he "choose" this?  Was he challenged? Was he trapped?  Did he ever have doubts?

I doubt it will ever be explained.  I’m sure Mr. Tsarnaev can’t explain it himself.  He probably doesn’t even have accurate memories of what he was thinking at the time.

Now it’s just a news story.  Nothing really, will be learned.