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When did topics become so hard to discuss?

February 12, 2021

Why are personal things so hard to mention? Is this the topic for this blog? I don’t think so.

My monthly book club was discussing “We Can’t Talk About That At Work” by Mary-Frances Winters this past Tuesday. It was a timely topic for all attending as we have been feeling the intensity of so many conversations that a fatigue was setting in. The intensity was dulling our will to engage. Before 2020, how many major topics were present in a given year? How often did they overlap?

The focus of the book was in the technique of having the conversation. I recommend for those interested in having a way to talk about significant topics that you read the book. I am going to suggest something worth doing before you decide to engage in these discussions. Gain separation.

What if the intensity of a topic is the result of our not breathing? Tell me if this sounds or feels familiar. I rise from bed 30 minutes after I set my alarm. I am no longer hearing the alarm. This robs me of my time to meditate and gives just enough time to get something quick for breakfast. All of this to begin work at 8am. That is the target for the morning. Get to work. I follow the ebbs and flows of the tasks at hand through the day. There are some breaks for lunch, bio needs, and for the most part its non-stop until 6 or 7pm. I can do this because I don’t have kids, or dogs, or the need to travel someplace. I am walking from my bedroom to my office. There are virtual meetings, audio conference calls, endless emails from competing projects, and a sense at the end of work of surviving rather than succeeding. Mentally I am toast. I prepare dinner, check personal email, read the daily news, listen to youtube, blogs or other multimedia services for what is happening in the day. I transition into reading a book or streaming some show until I blow past my targeted bedtime. This is why I am no longer hearing my alarm. I have lived the day without breathing.

Am I a human doer or being?

There is not a sustained period of being. I am doing all day long. Our bodies understand when we are “doing” we need to go, be active, operate at a higher speed than what it takes to ponder, to wonder, to think, to be.

One of the objectives of some section of science was the pursuit of the perpetual motion machine. A machine that could sustain operation indefinitely. There are some fascinating inventions. Fatigue is ultimately the downfall of most. Fatigue of materials, fatigue in the supply of energy, fatigue in attention. For all but the optimal “perpetual motion machines” a maintenance period is required.

You want a saw to cut wood all day? You have to maintain the edges of the teeth on the blade. Pay attention to the heat buildup as that can reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the edge of the blade. Whatever the source of propulsion, you have to monitor the consumption to ensure you have enough energy to power the saw and sustain the effort.

How many of us are living our lives as if we are perpetual motion machines? Thinking I can go all day without sufficient down time or maintenance? Physical fatigue sets in. With that fatigue, our sensitivity to our environment elevates. I become more irritated by other drivers, by comments which are different from my own, and the accumulated requests showing up in my email, twitter account, Facebook page, and Instagram. What was once entertaining has become another obligation. There is less and less time in the day to breathe.

That means there is less and less time to create. To connect with my heart and my soul. I get caught in being a perpetual doing machine.

My suggestion when I find myself wanting to talk about a polarizing topic: ask myself when was my last maintenance stop? How am I doing on my sleep, hydration, relaxation gauges? When was my last sustained laughing experience? When did I just let go and enjoyed the evening? Bring breathing back into my life and then have the conversation. It will have better potential.