Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Cluttered Mind - Mine!

You may have noticed that I've not been posting as much over the last couple months as I had been. I guess I could use the excuse of writer's block. However, a more accurate description is that my mind has become cluttered. It's not been any one particular reason. There has just been a lot going on and I've allowed it to distract me from my primary mission . . . living free and writing about it.

So, what are these things that have distracted me? Well, certainly there has been a lot in the news lately. We've had industrial explosions in Texas and Louisiana; tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma and other places; floods in various parts of the country; out of control wild fires (one of my former brother and sister in law's house has very likely been destroyed in Colorado); other kinds of weather related events, government scandals, not one, of course, but numerous scandals building on one another; continued unrest, escalating wars, political outbreaks and protests in new places in the world. Additionally, it was time for me to have my routine check-up and my annual cancer follow-up, plus I've had a lame shoulder and arm for the past eight months or so and it had me very concerned. And then my Medicare plan has just set me back on my heels. I've also been working on the annual Veteran Speakers Retreat I coordinate every year. This is the 12th year and my last. I have identified a new team to take over and replace me for next year's retreat, but I need to transfer everything over to them and bring them up to speed. Finally, I had a small project with a regular long time client to work on with him in the Washington, DC metro area.

Okay! So, the news is the news. I accept and agree fully that there is nothing I can do about all the events that blast forth from the one-eyed monster, the NPR programs and my Internet news feeds. However, It's impossible to remain completely oblivious to all the local, national and world events going on around us. For one thing, even on the most indirect level, all of these things impact us and we should remain informed at the very least. Certainly there is nothing you or I can do about the weather, floods or forest fires. There is little we can do about industrial explosions or train derailments and other catastrophic accidents. The government scandals, while not our direct fault, are, at least, indirectly a result of our collective action in electing the people who supposedly represent us and are supposed to look out for our interests as a society.

The point is, we live in a very complicated society and world and even when we work hard at simplifying and living simply, there are things beyond our direct control that complicate our lives and can lay a negative pall over life in general. Although, like anyone, I can get depressed, I do not suffer from clinical depression or have a depressive personality. But, I sure feel sorry for anyone who does suffer from depression and lets this stuff get to them.

It's very easy in this complicated society, no matter how simple we attempt to keep our lives, to be overrun by all this negativity. In my case, I call it a cluttered mind. I'm simply processing too much information and it does distract me from the beauty and light of simplicity and all the good things going on around me.  
Some of the good things include my doctor telling me that after ten years with no recurrence of the cancer he treated me for in 2003, it's unlikely I'll ever have a recurrence at this milestone. He declared me cured. Believe me, if you are a cancer survivor that is a jubilant and triumphant moment when you hear those words. My weight loss plan is continuing to progress. My primary care doctor is pleased with the progress of keeping my blood pressure in zone along with my cholesterol. I went to a physical therapist to evaluate my lame shoulder and arm and was relieved to learn that it is not a torn rotator cuff, which was my concern. With simple exercises and stretching the problem should clear up fully. This is all good.

But, then a little glitch appears when I find out that the Medicare plan I signed into for this year isn't what it stated in the brochures. Once again, it's the small, fine print that sneaks up and hits you up the back of the head. So, now I have to go through a bunch of letters and waiting to deal with the government, something I do my level best to avoid at all costs. This can cause mind clutter.

Well, I've allowed all this "static" to clutter my mind and distract me from my real mission in life. But, it's time to get back on track and follow "my plan" for my life. The Veteran Speakers Retreat is two months away, after which I'll take care of paying the bills and pass everything off to the new team. My spring and summer seasons in the future are then free. I'm refocusing my priorities toward getting the van (My McVansion) built up for getting back out on the open roads. I'm doing more downsizing. I'm focusing on the "Living Free" blog and setting up my other niche blogs.

I pass this on to you to illustrate just how easy it is to have your mind and plans hijacked and cluttered by too many things that, in reality, are not truly important. I'm currently reading a couple different books that are inspiring me. I've read some great blog posts recently that have made some terrific points I want to share with you. I've added a new piece of technology to my arsenal and I'll share my thoughts on that as well. So, here comes some great (I hope you'll agree) new stuff.  


Linda Sand said...

Life happens! I have friends in Oklahoma who have so far survived this years tornadoes; I was there when the first bad storm of the season passed through just north of me. I need to make my annual medical appointments; hope my Medicare doesn't have any overlooked fine print.

Michael said...


Congratulations on reaching an important health milestone. May you live and love life for many more years.

On mind clutter: Yes, it's quite the challenge to keep events from distracting us, burdening us, even greatly impairing our quality of consciousness and behavior.

I've recently read a simple but profound point: If we want happiness (or peace of mind, or simplicity, or fitness, or nearly anything else), we have to learn how to find it in the flawed and annoying and complicated circumstances that life generally offers...or we're unlikely to find it at all.


Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

I'm very sorry to hear about the challenges those folks in OK are dealing with from the tornadoes. The folks in Texas have also had their share of weather and man made disasters. And, I'm still waiting to hear if my former brother and sister in law in Colorado lost their home (one of the 500 destroyed. The last word was that the fire was less than 1/2 mile from their house and that was on the first day when only 93 homes had been reported as destroyed. No matter how we look at it, there is virtually always someone who is worse off than we are. I'm very thankful I haven't had to endure any of these disasters.

Good luck on your health care check-ups. I'm sure you'll be fine. As far as Medicare, mine has generally been very good and problem free. But, I had to change plans this year and the plain English plan brochure and summary stated one thing. But the small fine print in the 200 page book they sent contradicted it. I didn't catch that or I would have dealt with it then. It will end up that I would have been better off just sticking with traditional Medicare and no Advantage plan, supplemental plan or Part D this year. Oh well! I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. But, I'll still prevail.


Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Thank you, Michael!

A couple times over the past ten or 15 years I took a year off watching TV, listening to news and reading newspapers. My life was so much more relaxed when I did that. Unfortunately, news and information (especially if it's negative) is so pervasive in this second decade of the 21st Century it's almost impossible to avoid it. It's like a constant assault on our minds.

I have to agree with the simple, but profound point you made. It supports the opening statement the late M.Scott Peck made in his landmark book, "The Road Less Traveled." "Life is difficult." You can substitute the word complicated for difficult - in context, they are almost synonymous. Unfortunately, Peck and the person who made the statement you quoted were right. Fortunately, some of us have the ability to shed a lot of the unnecessary complications and just deal with the least that we must handle.