Saturday, August 30, 2003

Open Your Parachute

A picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, a few words can also be worth a thousand words. I’m a believer in the K.I.S.S. concept, although many times find myself not following my own ideas or teachings. K.I.S.S. is an abbreviation for, “Keep it Simple Stupid”. Sometime keeping things simple can be very complicated.

Philosophy, for example, can be so complex that the mere thought of studying things will fry your brain. Yet philosophy, in some instances, can be summed up with simple statements. I submit to you that one such statement is one that I ran across years ago on the bottom of an email message.

“Your mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.” -- Matthias Ettrich

You see it’s the close-minded folks in our society that create most, if not all, of our problems. Close-minded people walk around complaining that the world somehow owes them something. You all have seen them everywhere. Standing in line in the DMV. Yelling at the ticket agent in the airport trying to get a refund on their non-refundable tickets. In traffic honking their horns as if this will somehow remove the wreck quicker five miles ahead of them. Or maybe they work with you every day and you have to listen to them complain about every single thing they can think of until you retire and escape.

These are the people who shoot the messenger. They’re the ones who beat the dogs and their children. And yes, they are even the ones who “go postal” at the drop of a hat. Some people are wrapped so tightly in their hatred and anger at society that they eventually snap under the pressure.

Where do these people go to find solace? How do they unwind, and release all of this pent up rage? Why they join groups of course.

If it’s a group of folks who are more civilized, and perhaps more wealthy, the groups can be things such as Boy Scouts, Mary Kay, Golf Clubs, and Unions. If they are athletic, or wish they were more athletic, the group may be something like Soccer, football, or the swim team. Where can you turn if you haven’t got money, or perhaps you’re just sick of all the other groups? You find a gang of people who are just as pissed as you, and start causing problems for other groups.

I’m not immune to this phenomenon. Scuba diving is my outlet, so I seek those who like to dive. At times I have also been a member of various sport groups, Boy Scouts, etc…

Sometimes, the groups help, sometimes they don’t. If you go to your particular group to unwind, and purge some of your rage into the comfort zone of your group, then the group idea is a good thing. On the other hand, if you go to your group to vent your anger and rage onto others, such as a gang or the KKK, then this is a poor group association.

Have you heard that you should choose your friends carefully? It’s true! Look around at your circle of friends. Do they do what you like, or are you just tagging along because it’s what you think is expected of you. I'll bet a large majority of you have not really taken a serious look at who you hang with?

I’m trying hard not to pick on the religious gangs in this writing, I tend to pick on them a lot, and I really am not a hostile person to their beliefs, just to their attitudes to those of us who do not believe as they do.

That being said, I’m always shocked at how many people go to church just in case this whole God thing turns out to be real. They are actually going to church, because they are afraid of what might happen to them if they don’t. Many folks I have spoken to reveal this same outlook. This is what I mean by a closed mind. Their parachute is wrapped so tight that they couldn’t open it even if they were plummeting to their death from 2000 feet!

My parachute is fully deployed, and I’m sailing blissfully through a clear blue sky!

I listen to all types of music, from Classical, to rap and everything in between. I study many different religions so that I can better understand the variety of beliefs that I may encounter in my daily life. I tip servers well, because even if the food sucked, many times the server was doing their best (not always), and they work hard for the tips. I never yell at the people stuck behind the counter at a thankless job. They get crap all day from the plummeting people, so I try to show them a smile as I float by.

When I get stuck in a traffic jam, I put on CD, or perhaps a book on CD, turn up the volume and enjoy the free time. I carry a book with me a lot as well, and if I have to wait for the dentist, I take out my book and get lost in an adventure. You may find me reading about alien abductions or Bigfoot (not necessarily believing in them). Sometimes my outlet is in the form of T.V. and movies. Some days I could be watching a National Geographic special, the news, or 7th Heaven. Movies I watch may be a “chick-flick”, a horror film, a cheesy sci-fi thriller, or you may find me having a good cry during a Disney film.

I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. Not because I have some hang up, but because it’s all bad for me. Anyone who has half a brain should realize that. Cuss words come out of my mouth way too often, and I need to work on that. I’m a junk food junkie, and my diet and weight are other areas due for an over haul. I know it, but I’m having a heck of a time trying to change. This is why if I know someone drinks, smokes, or does drugs, I feel sorry for them not being able to control themselves, I don’t preach to them (well, not much any way).

What’s the point of all of this rambling? It’s to get you to pull the ripcord on your chute! If you only listen to Country music, listen to a rock station for a month. If you are scared to not go to church, take the month reading about twenty other religions to see what they believe in (try to get out of your general religious focus. If you’re Christian, don’t just study various forms of Christianity. Read about Wicca, Buddha, Native Americans, etc…). If you are in a violent gang, try going to the YMCA and start playing basketball, instead of hanging with your buds. And the next time you get angry in traffic, or in a line, take a breath, and use the time to think pleasant thoughts such as going to your favorite place, or being with your favorite person.

I’d like to hear your comments on your own parachute trials. If you decide to pull your ripcord, I’d love to hear how your flight went!

Your chance is now. Stand up, hook up and jump out that door! Sail through the blue sky with me and feel the fresh air whistling on your face. And no matter what, keep that parachute open at all times!

Happy sailing,

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