Search This Blog

Live each day as if it were your last. Someday, you'll be right.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Do-Over

Today I made mistakes. 

I hurt someone's feelings. 
I wasted time and money. 
I said something I shouldn't have. 
I lost my temper. 

I was impatient. I gained a pound. I overslept. I wished someone ill. I treated someone unfairly. 

I broke a promise. 

I didn't mean to. I wish I were perfect. 

Thankfully,  I get to start over again tomorrow. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
― Ralph Waldo EmersonCollected Poems and Translations


  [mi-steyk]  Show IPA noun, verb, mis·took, 
mis·tak·en, mis·tak·ing.
an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by 
poor reasoning, carelessness,insufficient knowledge, etc.
misunderstanding or misconception.
verb (used with object)
to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else: 
I mistook him for the mayor.
to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; 
misunderstand; misinterpret.
verb (used without object)
to be in error.

It's so easy to make a mistake. If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing anything! You're not trying anything new or taking any risks. 

Humans make mistakes. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to be better, but there isn't any value in beating yourself up for making a mistake. Just admit it, make amends and move on. 

I use the "undo" button on my computer all the time. It's not that way in real life. There is no "undo" button. You can't un-say something or un-hurt someone. There is no do-over button in life, but as long as there is breath, there is a new day. Do the right thing and embrace the

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gray Areas

Unless you squint your eyes, there are no gray areas.

I often feel like this: ‘she suffered from that common affliction of intellectuals: the ability to see all sides of an argument’.

It's black & white.

Is there an absolute answer? Yes? Then it's black or white. 

White or black...non-ambiguous. No argument or agonizing necessary.

Clear cut = unambiguous. The difference is easily understood.

Gray Area: a situation in which the rules are not clear, or in which you are not sure what is right or wrong

Black & white = Cut & dried. No going back. Done!

black and white 
Synonyms and related words:
North Pole, South Pole, antipodal points, antipodes, antipoints, antipoles, arc lighting, brouillon, cartoon, charcoal, charcoal drawing, chiaroscuro, contraposita, contrapositives, contraries, contrast, counterpoles, crayon, decorative lighting, delineation, design, diagram, direct lighting, doodle, draft, drafting, drawing, ebauche, electric lighting, enlightenment, esquisse, festoon lighting, floodlighting, fluorescent lighting, gaslighting, glow lighting, graph, highlights, illumination, incandescent lighting, indirect lighting, irradiation, light and shade, lighting, line drawing, night and day, opposite poles, opposites, overhead lighting, pastel, pen-and-ink, pencil drawing, polar opposites, poles, radiation, rough copy, rough draft, rough outline, silhouette, silver-print drawing, sinopia, sketch, sketching, spot lighting, stage lighting, strip lighting, study, tonality, tracing, vignette, writing, 

Opposites. Black. White. Opposites attract. What good would the black in this doodle be without the white spaces? You wouldn't be able to distinguish one from the other. How artistic is that?

The colors White and Black are widely used to depict opposites. Visually, white and black offer a high contrast. In western culture, white and black traditionally symbolize the dichotomy of good and evil, metaphorically related to light and darkness and day and night. The dichotomy of light and darkness appears already in the Pythagorean Table of Opposites.

Yes & No are Opposites. "Maybe" or "perhaps" don't really mean anything. They really mean that you are not committed to one thing or the other. You could change your mind at any time, depending on how you FEEL.

Some decisions have more white than black background or vice versa. 
gray area
Fig. an area of a subject or question that is difficult to put into a particular category because it is not clearly defined and may have connections or associations with more than one category.

gray area
Indeterminate territory, undefined position, neither here nor there. For example, There's a large gray areabetween what is legal and what is not This term, which uses gray  in the sense of "neither black norwhite" (or halfway between the two), dates only from the mid-1900s.

Main Entry:
opposite [op-uh-zit, -sit]  Show IPA
Part of Speech:noun
Definition:something completely unlike
Synonyms:another adverse, antilogy, antipode, antipole,antithesisantonym
contra, contradiction,contrarycontrastconversecounterpart
foil,inverse, obverse, oppositionother extreme,other side, 
other side of coin, paradoxreverse,vice versa
Notes:contrary  describes something that contradictsa proposition, 
converse  is used when theelements of a proposition are 
reversed ,opposite  pertains to that which is diametrically
opposed to a proposition, and reverse can meaneach of those

Decision making tools: Decision Making Tools from MindTools

Black & White Drawings by Lori Cotten

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Programs Running in the Background

My dad passed away over the holidays. 

We had an odd relationship but loved each other as best we could. I thought I was entering this new season of my life without him in a healthy way.

While at Happy Hour the other night with some of my favorite co-workers, I mentioned that I was having trouble concentrating, crying randomly and making lots of little mindless errors. It took the IT Director to put it all in perspective for me.

You have programs running in the background.

That was all I needed to cut myself a little slack.

You hear about the "stages of grief" like there are some neat little steps you go through and then you are finished.

"Relationships are all very unique. We can never really know what two people mean to one another. When we diagnose grieving, we assume some special knowledge about a relationship that we have had no part of. Though diagnosing actual mental illness can provide a benefit to patients, I am dubious of those in psychology and medicine that feel a need to label and categorize grief."

Wherever humans are involved, there is a certain amount of messiness. Our empirical wisdom makes it obvious that each of us is different. We may share some basic similarities but even our points of reference cause these to surface in our lives uniquely.   Another one of my blog entries on empirical wisdom.

" Claiming knowledge based on an external authority distances us from these problems and eliminates the messiness that is part of being   it maintains the illusion of human perfectibility and scientific 'progress.' The time and energy spent debating tools and techniques - the so-called methodism or methods fetishism - keeps researchers from engaging  these other, highly problematic issues. An unyielding procedural 'rigor' that enables claims to 'objective' knowledge keeps researchers from having to relinquish a shop-worn distinction between body and mind that is increasingly blurred; from seeing that the source of research authority is vested in and regulated by communal discourse; and from being accepting of a knowledge whose character is neither absolute nor universal, but deeply, unremittingly human, and therefore potentially flawed. A human science, mired in human infallibility, renders us firmly in our humanity." Interpretation And Method: Empirical Research Methods And the Interpretive Turn  By Dvora Yanow, Peregrine Schwartz-Shea p. 83 

"Perhaps the stage theory of grief caught on so quickly because it made loss sound controllable. The trouble is that it turns out largely to be a fiction, based more on anecdotal observation than empirical evidence. Though Kübler-Ross captured the range of emotions that mourners experience, new research suggests that grief and mourning don’t follow a checklist; they’re complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process—sometimes one that never fully ends. Perhaps the most enduring psychiatric idea about grief, for instance, is the idea that people need to “let go” in order to move on; yet studies have shown that some mourners hold on to a relationship with the deceased with no notable ill effects. (In China, mourners regularly speak to dead ancestors, and one study has shown that the bereaved there suffer less long-term distress than bereaved Americans do.) At the end of her life, Kübler-Ross herself recognized how far astray our understanding of grief had gone. In “On Grief and Grieving,” she insisted that the stages were “never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages.” If her injunction went unheeded, perhaps it is because the messiness of grief is what makes us uncomfortable." Read more:
 I've decided to just let it work itself out. I'm going easy on myself and not expecting to follow any particular pattern of grief.

DadI'm sad that you're gone. I love you. I know you were human and made mistakes. You were a fellow traveler in this life and I do not judge you. As you said in a note to me and my brother, "See y'all in heaven."