Friday, November 21, 2008

Control what you can let go of the rest

The stock market is finding new lows.  Companies that
defined American industry are running low on capital and
asking congress for money.  Unemployment is climbing
The housing slump continues with prices falling and foreclosures
rising.  The retail Christmas projections look bleak.   Time to
go surfing!

I had a great session the other day.  Only 3 of us out in chest high
waves.  The air and water were both pleasant by November
standards.  It was one of those days when the waves keep coming
and you get a great workout...catch a wave paddle back out and catch
another.  I must have had a hundred waves.  What made the session
even better was the company.  I surfed with 2 good friends.  Ironically
both are feeling the impact of these crazy economic times.  One owns
a number of retail stores, the other is in commercial real estate.  You'd
never have known that these are troubles times.  We laughed, joked,
commented on the glassy, clean lines in the ocean, watched as schools
of fish broke the surface not far from us.  " It doesn't get better than
this" one of my buddies said.  

We don't have much control over the economic woes.  All we can do
is decide on a course of action and go with it.  Control what you can
control, let the rest go, and enjoy the rest.  What's the sense of worrying? 

Monday, November 17, 2008

A sense of place

I'm on a listserve of psychologists with a special interest 
in conservation and the environment.  Sometimes the posts
are pretty interesting, but sometimes they leave me scratching
my head.  Today there was a call for papers focusing on "identity,
place, and emotional behavior".  The call acknowledged that there 
was a growing interest in "research investigating the complex
interactions between self and environment".  It went on to
discuss "place attachment, place identity, and self environment

Psychologists sure can make something pretty simple sound
complex!  I know, and have known since I was a young child,
that I belonged near the ocean.  I freak when I'm too far inland
for too long.  I remember visiting Colorado, marveling at the
beauty but feeling a little uncomfortable that I was so far from
the coast.  I guess that's "place identity".  I love and feel
a sense of happiness and of being confortable at the coast,
any coast.  That must be "place attachment".  I can't help feeling
upset when I see trash on any beach, people not appreciating
or acting as stewards of the place I love.  Guess that's a self-
environment interaction.  I'm a waterman, surfer, and ocean lover.
That's not simply what I do in my free time, it's who I am.

Maybe I should write a paper for this conference... only if it's
held near the coast though!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quiet time to think...or not

Yesterday was a clear crisp day.  The ocean was alive
with blue fish, the wind was offshore, and the waves
barely knee high.  There has been a lot on my mind
as of late so I decided to go for a paddle on my SUP
and maybe even catch a wave or two.

The beach at 10 am was virtually empty except for
a few fisherman and my friend Jim with his dog Diz.
Diz is aptly named he's a pointer with OCD who, unfortunately,
is fixated on his frisbee.  He sees nothing else.  Diz is an
amazing jumper and displays his skill chasing down that
disk no matter how far Jim throws it.  That's about all Diz
can do.  It seems like the dog likes the beach but how really
knows.  He is obsessed with his frisbee.

Back to me.  I'd gone to the ocean with a mind focused on
some difficult and stressful issues.  Not exactly Diz like but
I'm sure you get the point.  Once in the ocean it seemed as if
those thoughts took their leave.  I noticed the water was an
greenish color and not very clear.  I watched the horizon for
each approaching wave.  I enjoyed the glide of my SUP as
I rode each little wave.  I became acutely aware that I was
alone in the ocean.  I watched the school of bluefish making note
not to paddle too near them and making double sure not to fall.
Was I thinking or not?  The stressful issues I'd entered the water
with, for an hour or so, were gone.  No obsessive focusing for me.
Sorry Diz