2020 Grateful 47: Caught in a cycle of same

Driving back from Keszthely last week, I saw a spectacular sunset. It looked like a rainbow had bled across the sky. I wanted to pull over immediately and take a photo. Then I talked myself out of it. I’d wait till I got over the next hill. But in a matter of a minute or so, the sky had changed. It was still spectacular but a different kind of spectacular. I pulled in. Parked the car. Got out. But in a matter of seconds more, it had changed again. The picture I did take wasn’t what I saw the first time. I’d learned a lesson.

In 2016, Shelley Levitt wrote a piece for Success magazine about going with your gut exploring what she calls the ‘science of instinct’. In it, she quotes Julie Benezet, a lawyer, entrepreneur, former Amazon executive and now a leadership coach to top executives who said:

I always tell my clients it’s good to have a bright analytical brain, but at the end of the day, the stomach is the smartest organ in the body. It houses life experiences, values and inconvenient truths […]

I’d forgotten that. A few years back, in November 2015,  I was reminded of the importance of listening to my gut but somewhere in the intervening years, the noise of living had drowned it out. There are so many voices talking at once. There are so many people shouting. There is so much noise out there that it’s little wonder I’d stopped listening to my gut: I simply can’t hear it.

Things happen quickly. What’s okay today is not okay tomorrow. What’s sane today is insane tomorrow. Lives change. Jobs change. Futures change. Worlds are turned upside down and inside out in a matter of minutes. Things are moving so quickly that opportunities are being missed because we fail to act when we should. Many of us are what a mate of mine describes as ‘offenses waiting to be taken’. We’re losing sight of reason. That the words ‘Be kind’ are trending in the aftermath of Caroline Flack’s death says so much. That we have to be reminded to be kind to others is a sad indictment of the state of our world. I digress.

This wasn’t the only lesson my missed sunset opportunity taught me. Yes, I should have pulled over immediately. I missed out. But it was the self-beratement that followed that shocked me. I caught myself in the middle of a right old mental scolding and had to cry Whoa! Instead of giving out to myself that I hadn’t listened to my gut, that I hadn’t pulled over, that I’d missed fab photo opportunity,  I needed to simply acknowledge it and move on. Dwelling on it wasn’t going to solve anything. Wishing I’d done differently wasn’t going to change anything. Repeating the same old story over and over again wasn’t going to make a damn bit of difference.

But we’re caught up in a cycle of same. We keep making the same arguments, shouting louder than those with opposing views in an effort to make our voices heard. And no one is listening. We’re not listening to them and they’re not listening to us. We’re all too busy shouting. We’re so busy shouting that we’ve even stopped listening to ourselves.

Missing a sunset photo is infinitesimally trivial. But being reminded that I need to tune out the noise and listen to my gut – that’s a reminder I’m grateful for.

PS – Have ye seen the new Coke ad?

[It’s] set in a hectic and hostile urban cityscape, and implores viewers to ask the question ‘Can I Be Wrong?’. Netflix’s Russian Doll star Natasha Lyonne is shown coming to the rescue of a city full of angry citizens with a suggestion that society could change for the better if people claimed responsibility for their actions.



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6 Responses

  1. I vaguely recall a Russian proverb to the effect that “Forget the past, and you lose an eye. Dwell on the past, and you lose both”.

  2. Next time maybe just stop the car, forget the photo and enjoy the sunset in front of you and the way it changes………why do you need to share it with others……..does the sun not set where they live?

    1. I thought Mary was going to go in the direction suggested by ola66… but I loved ‘We’re so busy shouting that we’ve even stopped listening to ourselves’.

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