There are events in the past you don’t feel good about. You can’t change the past, but you can change the way you think about it. You can reframe it. I did this, with the help of psychotherapy and spiritual therapy. In particular, I discovered that I had and had exercised, agency. More on this anon.
I was flabbergasted recently to discover that not everyone knows this piece of poetry (translated from the original Persian).
The moving finger writes;
and, having writ, moves on:
nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back
to cancel half a line,
nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
-- Omar Khayyam
I did mention this poem 14 years ago, on the occasion of my near death, but I think it’s been long enough that it’s OK to repeat it. And, in case you’re interested, I did decide to attend church occasionally, and I have learned, with great effort, to be in the moment. I have been in the moment longer in the last 14 years than I was in the previous 53. Too bad it took nearly dying to put me there.
Sometimes you can look back on an event in your life and feel that fate was in charge, not you. My therapist says that’s just another way of putting yourself down, of denying your own agency. You are almost never fate’s fool. You always have and make choices.
I met my wife the day after a breakup. I am grateful to my previous lover for cutting me loose in the nick of time. But my therapist points out, “really you have yourself to thank. At every step, you exercised agency.”
In fact, on re-consideration, I note that my she never once said, “You need to move out,” or “This relationship is over.” All she did was tell me what she had done that day. I see now she left it to me—to my agency—to decide what to do with the information.
When I got up the next morning, I got up the next morning, despite being depressed. Just a few days before, my dad had been hospitalized for depression because he was, literally, unable to get up in the morning. I thought about that, then got dressed and went to my job. I wasn’t going to let my depression control me. I exercised agency.
It was an act of agency to walk into Steve’s office and ask him for advice: he told me to join the World Affairs Council. It was an act of agency to join that day at lunch, attend the wine tasting that night, and introduce myself to the tallest woman in the room. We’ve been happily married for 41 years. I don’t owe that to anyone else. I acted, I was in control of my life, and if I think about it, I still am. Look back, and realize that you had agency as well: I hope you exercised it, rather than giving in to a feeling that fate was in charge.
I know many past and present radio people read this column. Could one or more of you explain to me what’s wrong with this proposal, before I become a committed supporter trying to lead a campaign to enact RFEEA? Let me say in advance, I realize this proposal doesn’t leave room for such formats as full-time news, talk and sports. For about 60 years, radio survived by “breaking format” each day. I don’t see why it couldn’t again.
From Garrison Keillor’s mailbag: Post to the Host
…My question is, would you join me in urging the Powers that Be to re-regulate radio so that everything had to come from your local studio, every station had to do news and public affairs, and at least two hours of programming a day had to be live, local acoustic musical groups? I’d call this the “Radio Full Employment & Entertainment Act of 2021.” Thanks.
-- Lee Procter
Keillor declined to support it; he declared himself a pacifist in the Culture Wars.
Citizen Kaine booted out of Rotten Tomatoes 100% Club. Behind the NYT paywall: ‘Citizen Kane’ Is No ‘Paddington 2,’ Says Rotten Tomatoes
Dear Abbey plugged a survey by the Group for Psychiatric Progress to determine the impact of religious identities on mental health.
Listen to 56 audio profiles from CMP Techweb I just reposted; includes Jon Carroll, Vince Cerf, Brewster Kahle… all recorded at the end of the last century.
From Dan Rather’s Facebook: “The reality is we have a sharp partisan divide in this country. And that divide is largely over reality.”
Václav Havel: “Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”
Check my Quote Page for more.
Too Good to Check
There’s a story that exists in several versions, with the punchline, “they walk behind their men because of land mines.” So, of course, Snopes has an extensive article on the history of the landmine joke over the decades, in both sexist and racist terms.
According to the New York Times, "cheugy (pronounced chew-gee) can be used, broadly, to describe someone who is out of date or trying too hard."
Aids Ride Anniversary 24
In June, 1997, I rode in California AIDS Ride 4, a 570-mile bike ride from SF to LA to raise money for AIDS prevention and research. I completed every mile: A Summary Of The Ride and an achingly detailed journal.
Celebrate Small Wins
On Sunday I completed a move on my weak right leg that I have been unable to do after years of trying. I know it was the weekend, but I shared the news via text with my trainer, who has been telling me for years it was possible. Celebrate small wins.
I know pride and mindfulness do not mix, but I am proud of my poem Thinking Out Loud, especially the best verse:
You’re a trickle, I’m a torrent.
I’m afraid there’s nothing for it,
Though you think it quite abhorrent,
That’s just not enough deterrent.