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Responses to Expertise

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

As always, I really enjoyed the responses to yesterday's blog riffing on Michael Neill's concept of "expertise": his suggestion that we focus our time and attention to those things we want to be expert at, and so it makes good sense to focus our time and attention on what we want to be expert at, now. And ask ourselves if our focus on all the personal and psychological problems and grievances of the past is simply a habit that we'd really prefer to let go of.

But, as BROOKLYN_BORN comments, there are real problems in the present and we do want somebody to be an expert in resolving those problems. Does a focus on problems really mean that we're living in negativity? Are we just excusing ourselves from taking responsibility, complacently assuring ourselves that "God will provide" and forgetting, as BB reminds us, that "God has provided us"?

And then there was PHEBESS's blog yesterday, her current instalment of the Pandemic Diaries, running almost a year now: in which she writes so movingly of her own anxiety and stress as a kind of backdrop to her idyllic life on Augustine Island where she's been living for four months. Enjoying the birds and the seascape (and her photographs are marvellous), but always aware of the potential to get sick with COVID. And wondering about her usually placid, cheerful optimistic personality, her own default state of mind (so similar to my own . . . ) during this prolonged period of real and present danger.


I am so grateful for the scientists who have worked so hard to come up with effective vaccinations so quickly. For all those working to roll 'em out and get shots into arms. For all those still working in the front lines, making sure that the rest of us get groceries and other necessities of life. And in health care, tending to those who have got sick despite best efforts at masking and social distancing and sanitizing. And of course our hearts go out in profound sorrow to all those -- so many -- who have lost loved ones under such horrifying circumstances: so many who have died alone without a family member beside them to comfort them.

These are unprecedented times of stress and anxiety. REAL and collective and near-universal stress and anxiety. In the present moment stress and anxiety. Not stories we are telling ourselves about what happened in our personal past. Not stories we are telling ourselves about what might happen in our personal futures.

Whether or not one customarily uses the "God" word to describe the Source: from somewhere -- from actual people working very hard indeed -- has come the miraculous development of the vaccines. God/Source HAS provided. Many many people are fulfilling their roles, which are in many instances new and unprecedented roles: what supermarket worker ever expected to be in the front lines, monitoring and even taking on responsibility for enforcing COVID protocols, calling out those who aren't masked or socially distancing? So many acting in superhuman ways seemingly beyond human capacity. Acting out of incredible kindness, really: caritas, caring for the whole human race. One moment at a time.

And if God/Source has provided me too . . . what is my role in all of this? What is my part?

Well, still to hunker down. To sanitize, mask, social distance when I need to go out. To wait my turn, patiently. To practice the kindness which is DOVESEYES's most-desired area of expertise. Nothing heroic and noble. Nothing dramatic. Just: to stay out of the way.

And yes: if this life of ours is so precious that it's worth sustaining, worth celebrating? Well then, to see the joy. The joy which surprises and persists, despite all that. To celebrate that joy. In each present moment given to me. With calm contentment when I can. With kindness to others, when I can.

And with full recognition that any expertise I may have in frightening myself, stressing myself, pressuring myself, discouraging myself -- oh yes, plenty of that habitual old expertise also always instantly available to me -- will contribute absolutely nothing to resolve these present real problems whatsoever.

For me or for anyone else.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    One of my skills is problem solving ... calm in the storm.

    This year has been difficult in many ways because finding a solution ... has been elusive.
    41 days ago
    Times of stress, anxiety, unease are definitely the times to focus on the joys, the small enjoyments, the beauty that surrounds us, all those things that make life worth living.
    43 days ago
    Acceptance helps with moving forward peacefully.
    43 days ago
    You always give me so much to think about. I think I may now understand that if I have no control over a situation let it go. Something that I have always heard was "let it go, let God take over" or words to that affect. Thank you for this blog and especially for the responses. (((HUGS)))
    43 days ago
    Great ideas here thoughts to ponder over the day :)
    44 days ago
    You have been outdoing yourself in thoughtful blogs :-) I am too busy to think about stress. Classes every day. So many webinars -one on the burrowing owl, another on loss of bird habitat and what people can do about it. What pharmacists can do for you. The variety of topics is only limited by your interests..
    44 days ago
    I have problems in my life I can't solve. I just accept that fact. Acceptance brings peace.
    44 days ago
    44 days ago
    Definitely the last paragraph resonates w/me, too. Lots to think about!

    Thank you.
    44 days ago
    A lot to chew on.

    44 days ago
    It goes to the "Keep calm and carry on" mantra of so long ago. I also turn to the prayer "God grant me the courage to change what I can, Serenity to accept what I cannot change and Wisdom to know the difference".

    44 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I'm still thinking about yesterday's blog. I'm not sure I've come up with anything conclusive yet. I may never, but that's ok, cause life goes on doesn't it?

    Take care. emoticon
    44 days ago
    Yes Ma'am!! ...

    "And with full recognition that any expertise I may have in frightening myself, stressing myself, pressuring myself, discouraging myself -- oh yes, plenty of that habitual old expertise also always instantly available to me -- will contribute absolutely nothing to resolve these present real problems whatsoever."

    We do have the capacity to Have Joy amidst challenges.
    44 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon emoticon
    44 days ago
    Some problems are out of our reach from solving, so we remain dependent on others much of the time. Truth is, it's an interdependence, as it should be. So let's bring that kindness, gentleness and sense of peace to our homes and whenever we are outside! That is what our God wants-one anothering!!
    44 days ago
    Still pondering my response last night.

    I believe OKM's concept of balance is important.
    If I truly have no control over a situation, then focusing on it is detrimental to my health. I understand that.
    Yet, there are many things that I cannot affect personally, but I can help the situation from a distance.

    I cannot make additional does of vaccine appear magically, but I can help non tech savvy neighbors get an appt as available.
    I cannot help those suffering in third world countries myself, but I can contribute to those who are on the scene. Project Starfish Haiti and Doctors Without Borders come to mind.

    That's why medical problems (my own and others as well) have always caused me such stress.
    I truly cannot do anything to fix it.
    That's where I need to "let it go"

    Still more pondering to do.

    44 days ago
    Lurking and feeling all of this right now.
    Working on my part.
    44 days ago
    All the best for all. Have to be ready for everything.
    44 days ago
  • NANCY-
    So true. However, awareness can help with being prepared.
    45 days ago
    Very thoughtful mood, after reading this. I was still "chewing" on yesterday's. This one adds a layer: throughout my working life, one of my strengths was calmness in chaos, and finding ways forward. Problem? Solution! New problem caused by solution? Modifications!

    There's a natural level of stress in "problem solving". But chaos is not fun, and most of us thrive with a proper balance. Rousing oneself to solve a problem may be productive, but rousing oneself over something over which one has no control? Not so much. The key is knowing where we CAN exert control!
    45 days ago
    Yes - keep that last paragraph in mind. Your old expertise in scaring yourself has no place here. Put that in a box and save it for some other day.
    45 days ago
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