Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Delete, Therefore I'm Sane

Well, semi-sane.  But semi-sane did not play off of Descartes' I think, therefore  I am, nearly so well.

Precision is overrated.anyway.

I'm not talking about the spam that sometimes eludes the filters--Viagra, penile length, weight loss, make a million, get my degree from (my all time favorite) a prestigious, non-accredited university.  Spam, spam, spam. (Come on, you know you you want to sing along.)What the filters don't catch I happily delete. No prob.

No, what I'm talking about are the emails that at one time or another--deliberately or inadvertently--I signed up for. Companies I love--Landsend, Hearthsong, LL Bean, Novica, etc.  Companies that one way or another I've ended upon their email forever but I really can't afford them so I wonder why I'm too lazy to cancel them--thank you much, not a Nordstrom shopper.

Delete, delete, delete. I used to enjoy looking through the online catalogs, but occasionally I bought something--good deals and good deals that on arrival got thrown in the what was I thinking? file.And I know that there's not a chance I'm going to send them back.  (I will think about sending them back of course, but thinking won't get me as far as the post office.)

Still and all not so bad.  Dreaming of a fantasy life in which I really need outdoor gear or can walk in 4" stilettos--deleting those away is really no big loss.  I live in SoCal, I have one knee replacement and one knee headed that way, which tends to eliminate both hiking in the hills and walking in stilettos.  Besides I'm 64 years old and I own mirrors. Greed and envy are not god for the soul.  Overspending is not good for the bank account,

Of course all of this is tap dancing and tip-toeing around the real pain.  (Who really cares if LL Bean has organic cotton sweaters at half price? )  It's the political news and the causes I believe in that are now getting hit with the delete key too.

For one thing, they all want money.  I have no money to give them even though I support the causes wholeheartedly.  Gay marriage, in favor.  Subsidies  for oil company CEO's while teachers are laid off, against.  Torture? Firmly opposed--horrified and sickened by what has been done in our names.  Unions, yes, over paid executives, no

I don't mean to sound mocking or poor mouthing.  Place to live, food on the table, not headed for a cardboard box anytime soon.  I'm one of the world's fortunate and I live in one of the richest countries the world has ever known (despite the recession that is over--so we are told).

Why am I doing this?  Good citizens stay informed.  They act on their principles.  The truth is that I can't stop the "we're so sorry" accidental bombing of children in Afghanistan.  (Children of our allies. might I point out.)  Outrage and grief are appropriate responses to most of what makes the news these days--and I'm not asking for happy talk instead.

However, a continual state of anger is not good for the soul and mind either.   Anger at "them" out there can lead me to ignore those closest to me. A constant state of feeling helpless can mean--for me--that I don't return a smile or offer one. I don't do the things that a peaceful and mindful person can do. Why pick up that aluminum can and put it in the recycle bin?  One can or a hundred cans--so what?  I mean, I'm helpless  Or even encourage local recycling.?  Buy produce from sustainably managed farms.  Buy American made? 

Why should I listen to people I disagree with?.  I'm always right.  (Actually most of the time I am--insert grinning emoticon.)

Even if some of these people and I disagree on nearly every issue in the world? Does it mean I lose myself or yell at them until they pretend to agree with me? 

I try to listen.  Search for common ground. Avoid debates over issues that neither of us will agree over and over which we have no power. Sometimes I listen and say good-bye.

I delete, therefore I'm saner than I would be if I didn't.



  1. Sounds like an excellent and healthy choice.

    I've subscribed to the WEEK magazine for years; I love the way it summarizes and analyzes both the news and how it's presented. (Yes, I proselytize on its behalf; I recently turned Blake into a convert. :D)

    I used to read it religiously cover to cover. Now? I find myself skimming over sections. Showdown in WI? I think I have a pretty good understanding of each side's positions; I don't need to follow a continuing blow-by-blow description. Turmoil in the Middle East maybe becoming insurmountable chaos? Wake me when it's over.

    I keep coming back to Stephen Covey's paradigm of one's circle of concern vs. one's circle of influence. Your circle of concern is *everything* that concerns you. Your circle of influence is that subset of concerns that you can actually impact.

    The funny thing is that, the more energy (including attention) you put into those things which you can NOT personally effect, the smaller your circle of influence becomes. You get so overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness that you are able to do less and less.

    On the other side, the more energy you pour into those things you actually *can* impact, the larger your circle of influence becomes. The more you focus on what you *can* do, the more you can *do*.

    So, yeah. Don't let what you can't do take away what you can.

  2. Interesting post...interesting comment. Never quite looked at things that way.

    But at times on a local level you can influence more than you think. I spent about four hours last night at a hearing in Portland about noise. To be more precise to see who gets the four noise variances allowed at Portland International Raceway. Our car club has maybe four or five people race (as you might guess they were not there) but a group called SOVREN put on a race during the All British Field Meet. The ABFM is important to our club for several reasons. Money is one of them but it is also the one event we have more members come to, the one event we have more members helping with and the event we sign up more new members. So it is important to us. About nine years ago there were no races during ABFM. The races draw more people that just pay to see the cars and see the vintage racing. It is a life saver in that the cost of using PIR keeps going up and finding another venue that can handle over 800 cars and vendors and so on over labor day weekend might be a bit tough. So even as much as a pain a few races might be it is a win-win event for the racers and the car clubs.

    Did my supporting the variance help? No idea but SOVREN got the ONLY three year variance of the ones that were granted...saving them a chunk of money. So maybe my sphere of concern and influence did match for once. It only cost me about seven hours of my time and a few gallons of gas and a bribe to my son since my knee was so bad I wasn't sure I could handle the drive so Gregory went along as a back up driver.