PROLOGUE – (I am still unsure if this is the direction I want to go it)
Spiders have haunted mankind from the daybreak of time and have continued through the millennia up to the present day. Together, men and spiders have evolved over the Eons occupying the same space from cave dwelling Neanderthals to the skinny jean wearing, bearded boy-men of Brooklyn. As time slipped away into the future man learned to control his physical world including severing ties with his eight legged nemesis, however; the memory of the nocturnal carnivorous creepy crawlies still remained, buried deep in the canyon walls of his convoluted memory bank just waiting to be stirred and spring to the forefront of his mind to haunt him once again. This time the elusive spider would be harder to smash because and would come out at anytime. Everyone lives and deals with their spiders on a day to day basis. They may not call them spiders; they may refer to them as problems, issues, obstacles, barriers or even delmas, but whatever you call these physical and mental conflicts that can cripple us from doing anything with our lives, rest assured they CAN be controlled and even beaten.
We can all identify with the writhing and spine tingling sensation one feels just from thinking about a spider creeping about our hair. It really does produce and sense of immediacy at the visceral level originating from times when primitive man sought shelter in caves inhabited by thousands of various species of. The sentiments Modern Man has towards a rogue spider crawling on him has not changed over the ages; he still wants it removed as fast as possible. When a creepy crawly is on him, he panics or freaks out; but the goal still remains the same; remove or smash the bug post haste, preferable smash it- even if at the expense of slapping or smashing himself in the process. The stronger and more clever among primitive man learned to control their panic and develop a quick rudimentary thought process; identify object as unfriendly, locate object on body, flick or smash unwanted exoskeleton invader. Solution found, now store in memory banks for similar future experience.
I wouldn’t consider a spider (attack) a life changing event, unless of course you wandered into a nest of Black Widows and were bitten to the brink of cardiac arrest. If that ever happens, hope for instant death; the pain of surviving would be unbearable to live with. Other than that unfortunate event, a spider in the hair is just that, a spider in your hair. Shake it out and smash it; problem solved. But living side by side with spiders for thousands of years hasn’t gone without its benefits. On the contrary, between bouts of living with, learning about and smashing our many legged subtranian spider friends, we have instinctively learned an invaluable lesson in those dimly lit caves we once fondly called home. The lesson was not necessarily on how to eliminate spiders from the face of the earth, although i think we reached a starting point rather quickly; the old shake and smash has worked ever since the very first spider laid upon the dumbest of the Neanderthals and has remained virtually unchanged throughout the eons.
The lesson learned is how to handle the life changing crises that have been plaguing mankind ever since he took up residence in gloomy dank caves thousands of years ago. Now that man has evolved into an organism with a frontal brain capable of more than just identifying a creepy crawly and smashing it, our chances of survival has dramatically increased; however, the probability of more complex life changing events testing our will has also infinitely increased.
The reactions to postmodern uncontrollable events were born from the primitive situation of smashing spiders to get sleep and has evolved concurrently with the developing brain and how to better respond to changes which have also became more complex over mans existence on Earth. So the next time you get a flat tire, loose a twenty dollar bill, miss your connecting flight or break your leg on a skiing trip, thank your primitive self and spider roommate for being hard wired on how to deal with adversities; just please, whatever you do, don’t flail your arms and hands about while smashing an imaginary spider on your head. I can assure you that you’ll need (your head) firing on all cylinders to figure out how to deal and adapt to your new more complex life.
Changes are more common than we’d care to believe; we live on a planet that is constantly undergoing change and so are its inhabitants and surrounding environment; hence the term the Dynamic Earth. The event, which most likely surprised you without notice, now needs to be dealt with regardless of your state of wellbeing. Dealing with the aftermath of a life-changing event, searching for purpose in your new life and looking for some kind of affirmation and reassurance that “Life will be all right” once again is not a guarantee. What most definitely can be counted on is that things are different now and you had better accept it sooner than later. Hoping for an easier life will never happen accept in Disney movies. It’s easier to build strength in mind and body and face your new reality than to pretend it doesn’t exist or hide from it. A change is just different from your normal routine, nothing more, nothing less. It is not a reflection of good or bad: it’s just different from what you have become conditioned to; like how my family is used to eating a couple pizzas every Friday night, but sometimes that didn’t happen for some reason or another. Change can happen anytime of the day or evening without notice, like when I ordered Shrimp -n- Grits for dinner on vacation; a meal I’ve heard of but never had. So enthusiastically, when the steaming bowl a shrimp n grits was placed before me, I grabbed a fork and dug right in. I’m sure i broke a few rules in the grit eating guidebook. I did asked the waitress how they cooked their grits, she smile at me and laughed at my snarky inquiry. All I could think of was the 1970’s TV sitcom Mel’s Dinner and Flo’s snappy response to anything Mel wanted her to do; “Mel, kiss my grits”. I entertained myself and our friends for a few moments with my best Flo impression. Very anxious to sink my teeth into some real authentic down east Charleston, South Carolina cooking, I couldn’t wait to taste them little white buttery flavored grits. A guess a bit too anxious; on the very first bite and I cracked my wisdom tooth on a dang undercooked grit. The grits tasted fine; salty, buttery and garlic, but I couldn’t believe it, i felt a shift in my teeth and that wasn’t expected or pleasant. At first thought, I stopped, looked down quizzically deep in reflection, “did I bite the fork” no that couldn’t be, i had only place half of it in my mouth. Still pondering what just had occurred, I pulled the fork ever so slowly from my gaping mouth carefully and jammed my index finger right back into my lower jaw. Yup, a poke here a tap there and my tongue pushed a quarter of #31 right out into my fingers. At that point, there was nothing else I could do but just relax and carry on with dinner. What else could I do, everyone else was face deep in tuna ahi, crab cakes and sucking down Sea breezes. I just cleaned the caked on grit off my cracked tooth and jammed it down my shorts pocket for later. The only immediate change was a bit of pain for me and a helluva lot less masticating the rest of the night. That’s ok, we could all use a break from over masticating every so often.
If something as tiny as a grit (The Grit Effect) can have an impact on your life then anything can. Coping with the fact of not having pizza on a Friday night is a very minute problem if a problem at all; you’re lucky to be eating anything for dinner. That’s it, it’s over and done and forgotten about. Cracking a big chomper on a tiny grit on vacation is an annoyance, but still not a significant event to lose your head over. Pop a couple of advils, less masticating, more sea breezes and you’re good to go. You had a minor problem and handled it with grace and style and didn’t interrupt everyone’s dinner cuz you aint got the sense and know how of how to eat a grit properly!
Responding to a perceived problem, annoyance or change is more important than the actual change itself. The change is done and usually it can’t be unchanged unless of course you have a “way back” machine in your closet and go “way back” in time and alter events as to prevent the “change” from happening to begin with. If you have one of those give me a call, I got a couple past Super Bowls I’d like to have won some money on. Now for those who haven’t cracked time travel yet, the best we can do is deal with unforeseen change in a positive manner; harder to do than it is to say or write. How you handle it and what you do with the new change in your life, no matter how minor or significant it is, your reaction to it is all people will remember.
Did you spiral down a path of deprecation and self-pity or do you pull up your big boy pants and learn to accept and make the best of it? How one reacts to a new change is the deciding factor between a future filled with positivity and fun or misery and self-sorrow. One’s character cannot be measured when a life is getting on smoothly according to plan but only when it has been thrown off course and sent down into the abyss of uncertainty. Being creatures of habit, most people are reluctant to deviate away from the comfortable lives they lead and become irked or annoyed when a minor change interrupts or challenges their way of life; however, when a significant event crosses their orbit they become downright frightened and immobile either incapable of adjusting or unable to accept the new life change. Below are a few scenarios to illustrate my point further.
Scenario one: Small Change: Going to work each morning is habitual and routine for most of society, and for the majority of people the process is unremarkable. However, the morning you discover your wallet missing from the counter by the mail and the car keys not hanging on the hook by the front door, now that’s the morning of change. Due to limited time constraints, the change is perceived to be a greater, more urgent. Frantically you begin looking everywhere, retracing your steps back, nope still not on the hook. Ultimately you yell to your wife to employ her help and the kids. Yes, that’s much better now; make your problem an urgent situation for the entire family. After 10 frantic minutes of checking everywhere, including but not limited to, the car, briefcase, upstairs nightstand and computer desk, Eureka! You discovered they were both in your coat pocket the entire time. This scenario is a nuisance; it didn’t impact anything vital yet how you handled it could have been the difference between a smooth exit out the door for all or a late and upsetting start for you and your entire family. If you can’t handle a small change like scenario one, then imaging how you may react when something catastrophic crosses your path.
People are downright frightened by a change that impacts their immediate lives.
Scenario two: Sudden change. Pilots are trained to land an airplane on a flat, well-lit, solid stretch of asphalt. It happens a thousand times a day routinely and without incident. However landing an Airbus in the water, now that’s a tough trick and probably not covered in the training manual. That would require a special kind of pilot; a pilot that can adapt to his environment, one that remains calm, remains cool and remains collective. So when striking a flock of birds knocking out both engines near the landing strip, you better prepare for emergency water landing. And you’d be prudent to act swiftly because water landings are serious and time sensitive events that require rapid and logical thinking and actions to occur without error. The man who answered that call for sudden change was Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. He met the challenge by making maneuvers to safely glide down a giant metal tube for a water landing on the frigid January waters of the Hudson River in New York. The result was that all 155 souls on board were able to walk away unscathed. People would agree that the sudden change Sully encountered on that landing was bad or scary, I agree too, however; just note that change occurs every day.
Change is something that is a part of our world and our lives; accept and make the best of it or get run over; it’s your choice, just know – it’s coming. And, if you want to assign the value judgment of good and bad to all the changes in your life, and let that be your guiding compass, happy trekking, you’ll be marching all over the value map, that was good, this is bad…… If you’re the “It is what it is” type of character and are resilient you may come to be familiar with and eventually learn to adapt to the “new change.” At some point, your new change will become your “old way of life,” almost like an old comfortable sweatshirt; it may not be pretty but you can live with it.
A change is a difference that you’re not used to, but once you de-subscribe to all that you have been taught and hold near and dear to your heart while breaking the chains of tradition that bind and protect you from the unknown, you may achieve a balance with peace, and just may be happy once again- whatever that means to you.