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Epiphany: Walking in the rain

December 22, 2013

I do my thinking in a number of places: While walking the dog; while making a sandwich; while exploring a bottle of rum. Most of it seems to get done while walking the dog, though. Figures it’d be while I’m furthest away from anything on which I can write the thoughts down, so I end up repeating it over and over until I get in, until what once seemed a good idea that was so profound and worth sharing is somehow mundane and common knowledge to my mind. But tonight I had … not quite an epiphany, as much as something dawned on me, a new level of understanding of something I’ve enjoyed quoting to people for a long time, that I thought I understood but didn’t. So tonight I have a new chunk of know in my think. I’m getting good at predicting the weather, for one thing; if I don’t wear my hat to protect my glasses, it’ll mostly likely bucket down.

As it began raining, I thought it might have been useful if I’d grabbed a coat before leaving the house. Within seconds the wind had picked up and my pyjamas were soaked through, so I thought there’s nothing to lose, I can’t get any wetter. That’s when my favourite passage from Hagakure – sort of a manual of how to be a samurai – came to mind: “when caught in a sudden shower, there’s no need to run, walk as normal. You’ll receive the same soaking, but will be far less perplexed.” In fact, Mythbusters has shown that if you run you actually get wetter. But I digress. Or do I?

But it dawned on me, a mere eight years after I first heard it in Ghost Dog, that the passage isn’t talking about rain. It’s talking about life. (In fact I now feel slightly foolish as I looked up the proper wording of the passage and found it actually ends with “this applies to all things,” but shut up, I was tired.

Example: I was really ill tonight, had to pay homage to the porcelain throne. So I went in there and got it done, and felt better. Last year I would have spent the entire night fighting it, and wound up suffering more for it, both in intensity and duration, and when it finally came time where I couldn’t resist it anymore, I would have been more stressed and tense about it. For strolling instead of trying to run away from it, while it was still unpleasant, I suffered a lot less for it. I wasn’t a LOT more relaxed, because it’s still a very unpleasant thing, but mentally, I was freaking out far less.

As it says, it applies to all things. Cleaning the house, so easy to put off, is only made worse if left undone. Prolonging an unhealthy or unhappy relationship or friendship only makes it more difficult to put a stop to it. Not paying off debts accrues interest.

To suggest another angle on it, you’re here today, you might not be tomorrow, so get on with things. And do so accepting that it will be unpleasant, and resolve to do it anyway. Nothing gets done by not getting done.

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From → Empowerment

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