Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of our individuality. Most of us express our distinctiveness in many ways throughout our lives. Although, as we proudly share our offbeat traits and preferences with the world, we take great pains to downplay those characteristics we deem odd. Instead of living lives colored by these quirky impulses, we seek out socially acceptable outlets for our peculiarities. We may not realize that we are editing ourselves in this way because our societal awareness is unintentionally attuned to the attitudes of the people we encounter each day. Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of individuality. To rediscover and embrace these buried traits, we need only ask ourselves what we would do if we knew for certain that no one would judge our choices.
Imagining this day without judgment can help you better understand the idiosyncrasies that are an important part of who you are but seldom manifest themselves in your existence. Perhaps you secretly dream of replacing grown-up, conservative clothing in favor of a changing array of costumes. You may envision yourself painting your car electric-green, hugging the trees in a crowded local park, singing joyous songs as you skip through your community, or taking up an exciting hobby like fire spinning. Try not to be surprised, however, if your imagination takes you in unexpectedly simple directions. In your musings, you may see yourself doing things such as breaking out in dance or dying your hair a fun color. Regardless of the nature of your suppressed peculiarities, ask yourself what is really stopping you from making them a part of your life, and then resolve to incorporate at least one into your everyday existence.
Life as we know it is so short. Making the maximum of the years we are granted is a matter of being ourselves even though we know that we will inevitably encounter people who disapprove of our choices. When you shake your tail feathers like no one is watching, you will discover that many others appreciate you because you are willing to let go of any inhibition. By doing this you help others know it is okay. No one else in the world is precisely like you and, each time you revel in this simple fact, you rededicate yourself to the celebration of individuality.
Our past experiences, can and do, influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Our experiences colour everything. The events of the past can have a profound effect on how we see our lives now and what we choose to believe about our world. Our past experiences can also influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Each of us reacts to stimuli based on what we have learned in life. There is no right or wrong to it; it is simply the result of science. Later, when our strong feelings have passed, we may be surprised at our reactions. Yet when we face a similar situation, again our reactions may be the same. When we understand those experiences, we can come that much closer to understanding our reactions and consciously change them.
Between stimulus and reaction exists a fleeting moment of thought. Often, that thought is based on something that has happened to you in the past. When presented with a similar situation, later on, your natural impulse is to unconsciously regard it in a similar light. For example, if you survived a traumatic automobile accident as a youngster, the first thing you might feel upon witnessing even a minor collision between vehicles may be intense panic. If you harbour unpleasant associations with death from an experience, you may find yourself unable to think about death as a gentle release or the next step toward a new kind of existence. You can, however, minimize the intensity of your reactions by identifying the momentary thought that inspires your reaction. Then, next time, replace that thought with a more positive one.
Amending your response by modifying your thoughts is difficult, but it can help you to see and experience formerly unpleasant situations in a whole new light. It allows you to stop reacting unconsciously. Learning the reason for your reactions may also help you put aside a negative reaction long enough to respond in more positive and empowered ways. Your reactions and responses then become about what’s happening in the present moment rather than about the past. As time passes, your negative thoughts may lose strength, leaving only your positive thoughts to inform your healthy reactions.
Note: I first want to thank everyone for the help given in ‘righting the ship’ after my Amazon book reviews were attacked by trolls and computer bots. I was hesitant to ask for this help, as so many of you have far more serious problems that you live with on a daily basis.
However after the encouragement and advice from others aware of the situation, I decided to do so. Now most all the damage has been repaired, other than the lagging effects on ‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend.’ This book came out near the beginning of the Covid scare, and suffered accordingly. But we are getting there.
For some time now many people involved in the book business have said my greatest asset is you, my readers. In fact, some of them have used the word ‘rabid’ in regards to your encouragement and support of my works.
Whatever one may call it, I appreciate you and all that you have done. As I have said time and again, you are the reason for my success.
That summation will never be forgotten or ignored, I assure you.
Many years ago, the trail from what is now Mule Ears Overlook did not take the route it does now into the Smoky Creek Basin.
Once the path passed by Mule Ear Springs, it veered north and came into the basin about a mile and a half above from the present location. From there it continued to drift north until linking up with the Dodson.
That was a long time ago, the trail actually existed in this form since at least the Nineteenth Century, before being rerouted about thirty plus years past.
This photo was taken along what is left of the old trail, which only exists mostly in memory these days…
September 4-5 Big Bend Gun and Knife Show, Alpine Texas
September 21 Sonora Texas
September 25 Kerrville Texas
November 4 Horseshoe Bay Texas
November 6 Hico Texas
Ben H. English Alpine, Texas USMC: 1976-1983 THP: 1986-2008
Author of ‘Yonderings’ (TCU Press) ‘Destiny’s Way’ (Creative Texts Publishers) ‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend’ (Creative Texts Publishers) ‘The Uvalde Raider’ (Creative Texts Publishers) Facebook: Ben H. English Webpage: benhenglish.com ‘Graying but still game’
Johannesburg was the stronghold of the Asiatic officers. I had been observing that, far from protecting the Indians, Chinese and others, these officers were grinding them down.
Every day I had complaints like this: ‘The rightful ones are not admitted, whilst those who have no right are smuggled in on payment of 100. If you will not remedy this state of things, who will?’ I shared the feeling.
If I did not succeed in stamping out this evil, I should be living in the Transvaal in vain. So I began to collect evidence, and as soon as I had 5 a fair Amount, I approached the Police Commissioner.
He appeared to be a just man. Far from giving me the cold shoulder, he listened to me patiently and asked me to show him all the evidence in my possession. He examined the witnesses himself and was satisfied, but he knew as well as I that it was difficult in South Africa to get a white jury to convict a white offender against coloured men.
‘But,’ said he, ‘let us try at any rate. It is not proper either, to let such criminals go scot-free for fear of the jury acquitting them, I must get them arrested. I assure you I shall leave no stone unturned.’ I did not need the assurance.
I suspected quite a several officers, but as I had no unchallengeable evidence against them all, warrants of arrest were issued against the two about whose guilt I had not the slightest doubt. My movements could never be kept secret. Many knew that I was going to the Police Commissioner practically daily.
The two officers against whom warrants had been issued had spies more or less efficient. They used to patrol my office and report my movements to the officers.
I must admit, however, that these officers were so bad that they could not have had many spies. Had the Indians and the Chinese not helped me, they would never have been arrested.
One of these absconded. The Police Commissioner obtained an extradition warrant against him and got him arrested and brought to the Transvaal. They were tried, and although there was strong evidence against them, and even though the jury had evidence of one of them having absconded, both were declared to be not guilty and acquitted.
I was sorely disappointed. The Police Commissioner also was very sorry. I got disgusted with the legal profession. The very intellect became an abomination to me since it could be prostituted for screening crime.
However, the guilt of both these officers was so patent that despite their acquittal the Government could not harbour them. Both were cashiered, and the Asiatic department became comparatively clean, and the Indian community was somewhat reassured.
The event enhanced my prestige and brought me more business. The bulk, though not all, of the hundreds of pounds that the community was monthly squandering in speculation, was saved.
All could not be saved, for the dishonest still plied their trade. But it was now possible for the honest man to preserve his honesty. I must say that, though these officers were so bad, I had nothing against them personally. They were aware of this themselves, and when in their straits they approached me, I helped them too.
They had a chance of getting employed by the Johannesburg Municipality in case I did not oppose the proposal. A friend of theirs saw me in this connection and I agreed not to thwart them, and they succeeded. This attitude of mine put the officials with whom I came in contact perfectly at ease, and though I had often to fight with their department and use strong language, they remained quite friendly with me.
I was not then quite conscious that such behaviour was part of my nature. I learnt later that it was an essential part of Satyagraha and an attribute of ahimsa.
Man and his deed are two distinct things. Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.
‘Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practised, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world. This ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth. I am realizing every day that the search is vain unless it is founded on ahimsa as the basis.
It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself. For we are all tarred with the same brush and are children of the same Creator, and as such the divine powers within us are infinite.
To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world. ~ A TUSSLE WITH POWER