The good news is that it has been a pretty cool morning. Ivy had some getting off to school without anxiety issues this morning, but nothing too traumatic, more operatic. Nana let me know that she’d be yard-sale hunting this morning, and that she wanted to take Ivy to school. I don’t think this lessened any of her anxieties, but they certainly opened up my schedule for meditation and writing. Which I have done happily.
Meditation this morning ended up being particularly healthy. I kept it simple. Fifteen minutes in a broken lotus, which did bring a crescendo of pain in my right ankle throughout the meditation, brought a much needed exercise in letting go of many processing thoughts and emotions. Some of them were negative, naturally, but letting go of the good emotions and feelings is just as important, for it is difficult to gather new positive memories and thoughts if we hold onto the past’s joy. As well, it just so happens actually having fun accomplishments to share this morning means, Gentle Reader, this is a good day to be reading an MM.
Yesterday was a full workout day. All strength reps, a treadmill session, and mindfulness yoga. It felt great. My sugar intake was a little higher than I prefer, but I did manage to keep it under 15 tsp, under the national average by 7 tsp: 35 grams, 112 calories (fig 1). This is equal to a can of soda, give or take. This is an arbitrary statistic in the overall happiness and contentment of a person. Still, think about how fine of a line we walk. The national average, we all understand, is generated from a population, one third of which is dealing with metabolic syndrome,1 that just isn’t leading a healthy lifestyle. I mean, that is the average. Think how many of that percentage there must be which tilt the average at the top of the curve. Is a weak day for me, 4 sodas less a day than twenty million others, thirty million, more? When one goes looking there is sugar in everything, as we all know now, so there must be people who get a thousand or more calories a day from sugar.2 I hit two fifty yesterday and felt guilty. But only for a moment.
What an accomplishment! Crazy as it sounds, if I stay careful, which, by the way caused very little stress yesterday, as I had only a couple of sweet-tooth cravings.
Within the last few days I have also completed the first music video from The Songwriter’s Circle.3 It isn’t perfect and a little on the quiet side, but I am proud of the effort that went into it, as well, I know what is soon to come from The Songwriter’s Circle, Out of the Womb Productions/Publications and the Northwest Arkansas Musicians Connection.
By the way, there isn’t any bad news coming. But I do have a concern that came to mind this morning.
See, I caught myself trying to explain via inner voice the few bad dietary choices from yesterday. How foolish is that? Am I feeling guilty because I did something to myself? But in this period of political correctness, as civil right laws are struggling against Cthulhuistic conservatism, it seems there is an illusive communication issue. This is not just an issue of communication with others, but indeed a breakdown in communicating with the self seems to also fail here.
We’ve all heard the saying “don’t explain yourself.” This is often in a context of “being strong” or “standing up for one’s self.”4 And, while the advice is generally sound, I believe thinking of it as something which makes you “strong” or “resilient” isn’t healthy. There is the potential to embrace wisdom here.
Most of us would agree that forcing ourselves to explain ourselves is likely harmful; if we were constantly forced to explain every action trust would be a fleeting experience. My concerns are when we feel the need to openly explain our behaviors to others, especially when unsoliciated. What could be harmful about that? Not only is it deceiving others, but it is for certain deceiving ourselves.
This now whether or not it is a cultural phenomenon or it is human instinct, I am uncertain, but for the purposes of this entry, it is irrelevant. I should be getting to the bottom of that question, and with time, I will.
The deception lies in the phenomenon of how rationalization occurs. If folks are made to make choices and complete tasks while environmental conditions manipulated secretly, experimenters can all but exhibit absolute control over somebody’s actions. One needs to look no further than the Milgram5 experiments, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of examples. The key here is “secretly.”
I describe that as something of which the subject is not aware. And out here in the real world, we are all subjects to the experiments of one another. Unseen motives and feelings are difficult enough to navigate between two people, but the ones we have churning inside each of us are down right invisible for most of the day. Yet, they are driving your every breath and move. Every word you churn out. Every loving caress. They are all driven by physiological forces which are largely absent from your perception, but minds being minds. When we reflect on why we did a thing the WYSIATI6 principle from Daniel Kahneman takes over. If you cannot perceive something how could your mind link it up into an explanation? The answer is it can’t.
Therefore, even if you ask yourself why you did a thing, your answer is at least going to be a little bit of a lie. Worst case scenario is a huge lie.
I suppose the argument against me here could be something along the lines of “but you have to reflect somehow.” True. And my point here isn’t to suggest that nobody should reflect. Be aware of the self and the principles of consciousness when you do. If you find yourself in a conversation rattling off three or four reasons why you did something maybe catch yourself. Realize that everything after the first thing you mentioned is only half true diminishing, and the first thing you said is likely not completely true.
The best reason to not explain yourself isn’t because in makes you a stronger person for doing so, what it does is make you less likely to misinform yourself. Seems like the only place any bit of information could begin, and the less of it that is polluted, the less likely you are to pollute others when you spread information about their world—namely, you.
4 When I enter “don’t explain yourself to anyone” into Google there are 25,600,000 results. I choose this Huff Post Women article to easily show some of the more common applications of this powerful idiom.