May 29th

Hello, Clients and Colleagues.

Another week down of Sheltering in Place, being apart from friends and family, maintaining social distance, touching not allowed, and being masked. The tension between public health and public wealth continues to rise. Those who cry against re-opening do not fully consider the devastation being done to the future livelihood of the entire nation as we sink deeper into economic crisis, but those who cry against the protocols seem not to consider the almost incomprehensible human loss of an experience like the Spanish Flu, in 1918-1919. What a nightmarish issue we face. So, in such dark times, music, laughter, movement – it all helps. Try this one – for the piano players among you, you can practice this while you’re in quarantine. A friend of mine says: “Amazing what four hands can do with three chords!” (This video lasts almost five minutes, but it sure is fun.)

During my aging, my confidence in what I believe to be the truth about “my world” diminishes daily. I refer to confidence in many things – those heard, those read, those seen, those believed. I wonder: Do “I believe our doubts and doubt my beliefs?” As a college student in sociology, I learned how one’s visual experience of the world can vary far from the reality of it. As a long time reader of psychology, I have come to distrust my memory and perceptions across a wide range of subjects. As a student of decision making, I have learned about “cognitive bias,” and how we really do not even understand our own decisions and their motivations. As a part-time dilletante of science … well, I could go on, but it is a journey down a rabbit hole, leading to Alice’s distorted experiences. Nevertheless, we do see, hear and touch, make observations and form conclusions. And – we must act, so therefore we must make decisions. One answer to the dilemma of “what to do” comes to me, and to us, in The Serenity Prayer, with which I will assume your familiarity. Perhaps our most difficult decision and action is to understand and to accept what we cannot control in life – to acknowledge the limitations of what we can do and not do about the major forces acting upon our lives, and to find ways in which we can adjust, persist and be happy. That mental exercise is more difficult to do than to describe. Nonetheless, it is possibly the best road available to us when seeking peace of mind and happiness. I wish I could tell you how it’s done. I’m working on it for myself.

An ancient Chinese sage said that “The only man who knows how much is enough is the man who has more than enough.” Now, how do we obtain “more,” so that we have “more than enough?” That is very difficult, because multiplying resources is a long, slow, arduous task, often involving setbacks. Furthermore, as resources increase, so do wants tend to accompany the increase and thus “enough” keeps moving away from us. However, to diminish the level of needs – that, although challenging, is actually the easier path to having “more than enough.” BtW: It’s probably easier than learning how to play piano like that!

Davis Riemer 


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