Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Inexplicable sadness

I might not be able to write about this now because the feeling has past. As strong as it was earlier today, it's now gone. That inexplicable sadness that threatens to overwhelm me at times has passed again, and again I wonder if I'm just imagining it. Surely it wasn't as bad as I think it was? After all, I'm fine now. Happy, in fact, because people are enjoying my blog and I feel so encouraged. But I can't be wrong, because I remember....

The feeling first appeared today as I drove toward Sam's. (And no, it wasn't the thought of shopping at Sam's.. or the guilt..or whatever! :-P) As I drove along I felt a distinct clutch of grief in my chest. I literally cast around in my mind wondering if I'd forgotten something sad. That's happened to me sometimes in the past when a sadness has started to get "old." I'll stop thinking about it for a while, yet the feelings will re-emerge even before the thoughts do..dragging me back to the grief. It's like your mind says, "Oh yeah..I remember why I feel this way." But today there was no reason I could think of. Surely there are sad and unfortunate things going on in my life, like everyone elses, but no major sadness or grief.

In the car I shook my head and took a deep breath. I thought of other things and the feeling past. But it didn't stay gone. Why in the world would standing in front of a frozen food locker in Sam's trigger a powerful wave of grief? That's definitely what it was: grief. Funny- this has happened to me before and I hadn't really identified the feeling. I called it anxiety and even anger or frustration, but today I knew what it was. It was a "sit down in the floor and cry" sadness. A sense of loss and hopelessness. Over frozen food??

Okay, so I admit to a sense of inadequcy about food prep and meal planning. It causes me anxiety and a bit of humiliation, but grief? Somehow, I can't really imagine the two things are closely linked, although I am at a loss for why it happened at that place and that time.

What was I grieving for? I don't know. All I know is that when it hits, the feeling sucks my energy- both mental and physical--just like "real" grief. Today was good, though, because it came and went fairly quickly. Sometimes when it happens it stays for hours and I have an overhwleming desire to play Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust while sitting in the dark crying. (I haven't succombed to that impluse yet, but it has a certain "star-crossed lover" appeal, don't you think?)

I'm 51...maybe I'll blame it all on hormones.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A blogger's uncertainty principle

A blog is not a journal..not in the private sense, anyway. I can't go writing down my deepest secrets and desires, and I can't always express everything that's in my head. People are reading along, maybe lots of people from all over my world...both virtual and physical. As long as I am sharing only positive things about other people, I'm okay, but venture into publically wrestling with relationships and watch out!

So what does one do if writing is how you process information? I suggest a private journal in a Word file, or good ole pencil and paper. Not satisfactory? You say you want to share what you've learned and perhaps enlighten others? Then brace yourself for it. Don't do it with a faint heart. You may be justified in laying bare your own soul, but others who might feel exposed by that action aren't going to thank you for it.

People don't want to be object lessons, they don't want to pointed to as the ones who are "left behind" after you've made a great discovery in your own life, and they especially don't want to have been the catalyse for that change if it ends up reflecting poorly on them.

I guess the real problem is that our journeys in life aren't private. Our inward journey might be a private one, but it is worked on by so many outside forces that even there we aren't safe in assuming that sharing our journey won't negatively impact someone else. In science there is a principle called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. In quantum physics it means that the more precisely you know an object's position, the less percisely you know an object's momentum (and vice versa). The very act of observing the object causes the object to change, making your data obsolete even as it is collected. As we observe other people, how they effect us and how we grow, we also cause ourselves and others to change...our data on ourselves and on those around us is always old data, always obsolete, always in the past. We can only see how we were and predict where we might be going, but rarely can we fix where we are right now.

The people who interacted in my life are changing, too. Maybe not the same way I am, but they don't want to be pigeonholed into the past either. For example, I could share about a friend who emotionally abandoned me...someone I was very close to. (Edited to add: This doesn't address the pain I caused her.. I'm not laying blame here. My actions percipitated the emotional withdrawal on her part.) It was an immensely painful point in my life and the repercussions have caused much growth and change in me. But the person who hurt me back then is still back there in time. The person she is today is different. I've let her be different, and without reference to the past, we've grown close again. She was changed by the experience, I was changed by the experience. It wasn't pleasant but maybe in some way it was necessary for both of us.

Perhaps that why blogging hasn't appealed to me (besides my lousy typing and spelling skills). I know what I write may be obsolete the moment it is written. I'm not good at extolling the beauty of the sunset or discussing the finer points of art or literature. And while I can wax eloquent on my family or even my pets, small talk in print isn't my strong suit. I want to verbalize what inside at the moment, and that can be dangerous and even hurtful to others as my thoughts of the moment lay there in cyberspace forever, perhaps caging those people in and not allowing them to change or grow.

Blogging for me is a tricky business. Perhaps I should just get that digital camera and photoblog; leaving words to the experts.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thinking deeply... or not

I've been thinking about thinking. What does it take to think deeply about a topic? What skills are employed to read an article and analyze the information and biases involved? How does one learn to ask good questions?

Sometimes when reading an article or opinion piece I know there's something there that doesn't sit right, some piece of information or some way the author expresses him/herself that is off, but I can't put my finger on it. I often don't seem to be able to go below the surface. When I try to argue against the position, my arguments end up sounding shallow. I am more easily dissuaded from my position because I can't nail down the details. I get impressions, not details.

It makes me a little nervous that I don't have a better handle on how to analyze information. I feel at the mercy of the people whose writing I read. I depend on other friends to read and analyze things so that I can get a better understanding of what is being said. It's like having to drink hydrolyzed formula as a baby.... everything needs to be predigested!

Thinking about thinking...I wish I was better at it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why eclectic? Why experiment?

Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.

It can be inelegant, and eclectics are sometimes criticised for lack of consistency in their thinking, but it is common in many fields of study. For example, most psychologist accept parts of behaviorist, but do not attempt to use the theory to explain all aspects of human behavior. A statistician may use frequentist techniques on one occasion and Bayesian ones on another.

An experiment, in the scientific method , is a set of actions and observations, performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena.


Why experiment? Blogging is new to me. I am experimenting with something new, something almost, but not quite, alien. I have a hypothesis. I hypothesize that I can learn to put my thoughts out in a fairly interesting way. No, that's crap. My real hypothesis is that I'll fail miserably because my typing skills are so inferior and I don't organize my thoughts well in writing. Out loud I can think.. typing I get frustrated. So this is my experiment. Will I succeed or fail?

Why eclectic? Because I want to live without prejudging every idea or the person spouting the idea. I don't mind being "inelegant" or even inconsistant, but I don't want to be rigid.

Welcome to my life.

Note: I've already edited this post three times. Not a good start. :-P