Saturday, August 23, 2014

"N" is for a "Near-Perfect Life....."

"Hi Doc! How are you?" This is an elderly patient, who with his wife, have been patients of mine for the last 15 years. He always has a big smile on his face whenever he comes in and invariably gives me a hug. This day was no different.
"I am okay," I replied, "What's going on with you?"
"I need all my medications refilled," he said. "For myself and my wife."
"But I refilled all your medications just last month," I said, surprised.
"Well, Doc, what can I tell you," he said with a rueful smile. "Our house burnt down last week." There was no emotion in his voice. It was steady.
"What did you say?" I asked, shocked. I didn't believe what he said. And he was still smiling ...!
"Our house burnt down," he said. "Last week. But thank God, we are okay."
"I am so sorry," I said, barely able to say anything. "That's terrible."
"That's okay, Doc. We are fine. Our life was absolutely perfect before this incident. And you know that can't last for long. Nature has to find a balance... It's the law of averages. Something, somewhere in everyone's life, is just not the way we want it to be. Just have to thank God for everything that we do have. So we are looking forward for a new beginning now."
And this person's house burnt down a few days ago!

The rest of the day hung heavy on me. But I was encouraged that these two courageous individuals were taking such a tumultuous event in their lives so well. But the more I thought about what he said, the more it made sense to me. He was right-- plain and simple. In mostly everyone's life, there is a little something that makes life "Near perfect", rather than "Perfect". May it be financial issues, personal battles, job-related tussles, health issues, a so called "friend" who's hobby is to talk behind your back, a jealous paranoid relative, battling the bulge etc. etc....... the list can be never ending. 

Accepting these mild pin-pricks, and moving on, is the essence of life. Situations can improve, money can come and go, but after a certain age, people will not change. Folks are going to do or say what they are wired to do, no matter what.

We all are not clones, and as we move on in years, we will grow closer to some people and grow apart from others. The caveat would be to surround ourselves with people who think like us, make us laugh and essentially share the same values. Maintaining a respectful distance from some is good for one's peace of mind, not because these are not good people, they are just different. You give back exactly what you receive and that can make life "Near-Perfect!" Speaking from my personal experience, we are surrounded by people who give us much more love & respect than we probably deserve, and I only hope we can reciprocate in kind.

"If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade..... if it gives you vodka, invite like-minded people and have a party!" ~ Ron White


Friday, August 8, 2014

'M' is for "Matters of the Mind" !

The mind is a beautiful thing. Since the dawn of civilization, the human mind has been a source of inventions, innovations, remarkable achievements in the field of science, arts, compassion, courage... and so on. There is no end to the wonderful achievements of the human mind. 

But there is also an ominous side. The human mind has also been responsible for some of the darkest periods in human history. The religious wars, the World wars, the Holocaust etc.

So what is it that makes the human mind so diverse, so varied in different people? We see that in our day to day lives too. On a good day, our mind is at peace. We are content, we think happy thoughts. On other days, when we are stressed about something, our mind has a tendency to wander towards the dark side.

There are no fences to limit the flow of our thoughts. That is the reason most us will soar and do well in life. If our mind directs us towards positivism, good things happen, and life seems peaceful. You can't live a positive life with a negative mind.

On the other hand, if our mind and our personality is insecure, it will have a tendency towards negativism and paranoia. All a negative mind needs is a bug to be put in by "gossiper", (and every social group has a couple!), and then the paranoia will take over. It will expand on the thought and drop it to new depths without any concrete evidence and in the process, destroy relationships, careers and peace of mind.

So do we control our mind or is it the other way around? I don't think the answer is simple. It can be argued both ways. 

If only negative, closed minds came with closed mouths....most social groups & communities would be much more peaceful! 

Enough of these negative thoughts for now!

 Lets talk about some lighter "Matters of the mind." Have you ever had a situation where people "mind" (sulk)? In other words, when people get upset or angry as a result of "something" you said or did? But you have no idea about what that "something" is?!

So I was asking my friend the other day about people "minding."
"You got to be careful what you say, my friend. It's very tricky," he advised.
"It should be easy," I replied. "Around people who are a little more sensitive, just be quiet. Don't say anything."
"Aha," he said. "But there's a catch."
"A catch?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "You see, people can "mind" about something you say or do, but they can also "mind" about something that you don't say or something that you don't do!"
"God... This is complicated!" I said.
"People who really know and understand you will not get upset, no matter what you say, because they know where you are coming from," he continued. "They will talk to you, let you know what's bothering them rather than minding (sulking)."

Now that did make sense to me. But I know its more complicated than the simplistic idea coming forth in the lines above. We all live in a complex social environment where relationships, occasionally, will lose their definition and purpose over a period of time. Sometimes, social engagements become more about saying and doing things as per protocol to boost egos, rather than a celebration of true feelings and real emotions.

I agree with the essence of the quote below, although it might not always be practical in the "real" world.

"Speak your mind freely, for people who matter don't mind and people who mind, don't really matter." ~ Dr Seuss