Well, I Had Class

Yes, I did, or rather the class had me. I was a bit out of the loop at a two-day course on “Position Management” in DC so I’ve not blogged or had many blog-worthy moments for the last two days. It was kinda interesting but a bit fluffy, if you know what I mean. I did get a few useful tools to use in analyzing how federal position descriptions can be dovetailed into the mission. And how bloody much verbiage they have. It was interesting but I was amazed at how unstructured other departments are compared to the Defense Department. I don’t know how they do their planning and budgeting and structuring, but it seems more ad hoc than the (somewhat) elaborate systems we use. Here’s an example of how the Army structures itself – it’s a big, but quite incomprehensible, chart. (Army Force Management Model Chart)

Weigh in Monday showed a big big loss of 0.4 of a pound.Well, they do say not to rush it.

This is going to be a startlingly mundane post. I am glad to report I have calmed down a lot on an issue which had really been bothering me of late. One of the parties involved explained some things that had mystified me and made me tense and angry and sad. I’m still sad and angry, but in a different way. Again, please everyone, remember you mum and dad never had an instruction booklet and parenting always looks easier from the outside. And today’s world seems so full of dangers and behaviors that I never really knew of, but then I was a timid kid, with my BIG SECRET, and I figured it didn’t matter what I did, just what I got caught at. Which ruled out a lot of risks, because risks risked me getting caught. I was too determined to have fun despite everything (once I broke out of my shell), but safely, which is why I sometimes react only with shock and horror (not awe) at the things that ‘kids today’ do and consider doable.

A book you should read

You should read “My Stroke of Insight.” (And visit the web page too.) It’s by a brain scientist who had a stroke and remained able to analyse the immediate symptoms she went through and what parts of her brain were injured, what circuits were shut off, and how that affected her life. The left (analytical and linear) side was shut down and she experienced great inner peace, just by paying attention only to the right side, and she says that this Nirvana is inside all of us, without (and this is what I liked) either denigrating her intellect and individualism, or using wispy lofty phrases about spiritual insights. Apparently compassion and love and the eternal flow and forgiveness and that feeling of being at one with all things that mystics go on about are not myths, or gifts of this or that magic sky being, but part of our chemical and neurological endowment, part of what is necessary for us to survive. I guess you could say it is a gift but it’s given to everyone, because it’s right there in half your cerebral cortex. You can map it. It’s not necessary to undertake esoteric spiritual disciplines (although some practices are helpful) or subscribe to any particular guru to get it. It’s yours by right.

I’m going to try her techniques for both managing the ‘internal chatter’ which so often for me is critical and demoralizing and hostile to myself, turning it to my service rather than my disservice, and sometimes silencing it, stopping the stories that the left side loves to weave (and has to, to enable us to make sense of the world when we are missing information) to experience the right side. One thing she mentioned that stuck in my brain was the idea that emotions hold major sway for only 90 seconds, and that after that, we choose to continue them. We can decide if we want to hang on to emotions we don’t like, such as anger or resentment or fear. If we honor them and their place in our minds, and allow them to flood our circuitry with their emotional messages we can just let them flow away again. They do perform a motivating function; anger is not bad if it spurs you to action, but it is not necessary to dwell in it. Obviously if there is a present danger fear is motivating and good but I wonder how much I fear that really isn’t dangerous. How many terrible things did I lay awake in fear of, did I genuinely suffer, that either didn’t happen, or did happen but I’ve mostly forgotten them. It’s a really good book. You should read it. I borrowed it from my dad but I’m going to buy a copy for myself. If you want, you could do the same or I’ll lend it to you.

At the very least it’s inspirational how she took a devastating injury to her mind, that left her at first unable to speak or understand, to read or walk, and not only survived, but mined the experience for insights into the care and treatment of stroke victims (she lists what she needed and what was and wasn’t helpful) in addition to her more universally applicable findings.

Phew, Back Down to Earth

Yes, for our inspirational eye candy (and insight into AngloAm’s world) here are two pictures that I hope you will like.

The first is of Danny, who sells me my morning latte at a chain coffee place of which which I’m sure you can guess the name. He’s super friendly to customers in addition to being cute as a button. I did feel awfully embarrassed taking this picture. He’s going to have a daughter this spring. I think he could be a model with some work.


And for a really inspirational image here’s Roman the Czech after winning at Beijing (I think). Imagine how it felt to work and train and compete in front of a world wide crowd and succeed. I think in that moment he was right-brained after all the left-brained planning. Just imagine how he feels, the smoothness of the shirt, the warm sweatiness of his heaving chest, the ripples of his muscle….Ed: AngloAm meant how he feels on the inside, not what it would feel like to feel Mr. Šebrle. Your editor apologizes for his getting carried away with himself but is sure the gentle reader understands.)


(Czech him out – yes, you knew I would say that at some point, didn’t you?)


Filed under Culture, Friends, Health, Work

4 responses to “Well, I Had Class

  1. Karen

    Any loss is good. I plateau’d this week. Not too happy about that but am aiming to do better this week.

  2. Well, winning I guess is not found in never falling but in picking oneself back up after falling.

  3. That book sounds so interesting. I will try to check it out soon. Hey, .4 is still progress! Even though I didn’t have the same Secret you did, I can relate to your description of your childhood/youth. I was always risk adverse, and am only later in life breaking free of that somewhat. But at least I didn’t have that feeling of invulnerability that leads so many teenagers to indulge in really stupid self-destructive behavior.

    • I know what you mean about the sense of invincibility. I’m glad you’re breaking out and the world can get to know you. Your creativity and art are stunning. I really enjoy seeing the world through your pictures.

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