Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘self-assessment

Don’t Cough

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We’ve all done it. Accidentally inhaling our own saliva. It seems to happen at the most inopportune times, doesn’t it? I was near the front, center rows at a funeral service when I choked the choke that triggers involuntary spasms of coughing. You know it’s going to be bad, so you give it a couple of quick, full coughs in a vain hope of dealing with it all at once.

It rarely works. Then comes the following cough urges that you assume can be ignored by sheer will, but which subsequently get forced out as groans or squeaks that are probably worse than if you just let the coughs out naturally.

My lungs tend toward asthmatic, so I am prone to a daily period of throat-clearing and am no stranger to a random urge to cough throughout an afternoon. It’s usually an unconscious habit, but not anymore.

In the midst of a global flu pandemic, coughing is met with suspicion. I have no idea if I will sense a difference between my usual handful of coughs in a day and an early symptom of being infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, but now when I feel an urge to cough, I’m noticing the question comes to mind.

I’m also noticing a little more self-consciousness about my tendency to cough.

“Don’t cough,” I tell myself. You will scare the people around you into worrying you may be spreading THE virus.

You know how well that works. Go ahead and try to suppress the urge. There is an inverse correlation in that the more you try not to cough, the more intense the urge to cough becomes.

Maybe I’ll start practicing the art of announcing my morning body temperature reading with each cough. Kind of like the “Excuse me” courtesy often uttered after burps, hiccups, coughs, and farts.

[cough!] “97.4.”

That’ll reassure them.

I’m not sick.

Yet.

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Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2020 at 6:00 am

Being Me

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It’s been a long time since I just let words flow from my fingertips without any preconceived notion of where I was heading or what would come out next. One reason for that is, it doesn’t tend to produce a result that holds much in the way of value for anyone reading other than me; and even I don’t get much from going back and reading the words that have piled up.

However, I’m feeling like lately my writing has settled into a somewhat humdrum pattern of dreary detail about waking up, driving to work, coming home, seeing our pets, clearing some snow, cleaning up after the horses, and lamenting over the news.

Where is my soul in this chronicle of the day-to-day?

When you write and publish a narrative of a personal everyday, there develops a pattern. The longer it goes, the more likely it can become something of a facade.

I suppose regular users of other social media are already well aware of this phenomenon.

mejwhcrosshatchedIt is likely that I am only writing what I want the world to know about me. Of course, there is probably a portion of who I really am that readers glean from my choice of subjects and words over time, which defines me more precisely than I think I am actually doing. But that is happening somewhere beyond words. It’s out there in our intuitive perceptions.

I guess I inherently accept that level of revelation.

I remember actually pondering over how to traverse the long walk in front of the packed bleachers of my high school gymnasium during basketball games without appearing to be the hypocritical fool I was attempting to be.

I was overly-selfconsciously trying to stroll as if I was not the least bit self-conscious about being an awkward adolescent walking in front of hundreds of classmates, parents, neighbors, friends, enemies, and strangers who shouldn’t care, or even notice me in the first place, yet were likely doing that very thing themselves; actually noticing and judging me whether or not they recognize the pettiness of doing so.

Hypocrisy.

I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Somewhere along that adolescent time period, I experienced a profound epiphany that inspired me to strive toward being the same person in every moment. Regardless of whom I might find myself with at any given moment, I want to be my most genuine self. It’s not easy to achieve, but it is a noble goal.

I believe I have failed probably as often as I have succeeded over the years, but with that as my goal, the failures have been minor. I still judge others more than I mean to. I still say things behind a person’s back that I wouldn’t say to their face.

But I catch myself doing it most of the time, and that is the key to interrupting the pattern and making a correction toward the goal of integrity I ultimately seek.

One tool in aligning words with noble intentions is the art of saying nothing when you have nothing good to say. Another is to think before you speak (or write).

What I’d like to achieve is a place of enlightenment where I can write without thinking or filtering and have the flowing words reveal my pure soul and the narrative of the day to day, hypocrisy-free.

Wouldn’t than be a nice me to be.

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Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

Growing Accustomed

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I had a moment over the weekend when I became aware of just how much comfort I am developing with many of the things that were beyond my sphere of exposure just a few years ago. That’s not entirely a surprise. I expected to get the hang of things in time. But, there is relief in being able to notice the progress.

I changed the oil and replaced the mower blades on the lawn tractor on Saturday. Detaching and sliding out the mower deck has become so simple and routine for me that I laughed to myself over the change of perspective about the task.

When we got the horses, I didn’t have any experience caring for a horse. It was a daunting feeling to be responsible for their well-being when knowing so little about them. I’ve grown a lot more comfortable reading their general health in the ensuing years.

I have been composting the horse manure long enough now that I am getting much better at recognizing progress, both when it’s happening, and when it’s not. It was interesting yesterday to discover that I needed to add water to piles I was turning, even though we had been receiving rain showers throughout the preceding 18 hours.

IMG_iP1340eThe micro organisms that generate intense heat while breaking down the manure, do an amazing job of drying out the material at the same time. If I neglect to turn the pile often enough, the composting process doesn’t transpire nearly as efficiently as it otherwise would.

Luckily, I’ve grown accustomed to having manure management be a significant part of my contribution here.

What can I say? I’m good at shoveling it.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2016 at 6:00 am