Monday, September 28, 2015

Eating Cherries or Oysters

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Most of those who make collections 
of verse or epigram 
are like men eating cherries or oysters:
 they choose out the best at first, 
and end by eating all. 

~S├ębastien-Roch Nicolas

I generally have a hideous memory.
I can never remember jokes or names or dates or...quotations. But there are a few quotations that mean something to me, words that have been important to me over the years and that have helped me to get to a healthier place.

One of the very first time I became attached to a quote was in about 1990 or so. I was working as a substance abuse treatment center in the 90's and those places are swimming in catchy quotations. I was working at a psych tech at an alcohol treatment center and I was in attending a meeting. Although I have never been an alcoholic, I sometimes enjoyed the meetings.

I was sitting in the room with a fellow psych tech and I confessed to him that I was not recovering in any way but that I was enjoying the meetings. I told him that I felt kind of weird about that. He simply said to me Don't sweat the small stuff.

Sure, I had heard those words about a thousand times before that moment, but they really hit me. It must have been the right moment for them because Don't sweat the small stuff became my mantra for several years. It reminded me to stop putting the magnifying glass to my life and to just relax.

The only other phrase that ever really hit me was Question Everything. I grew up in a place where non-truths were passed off as truth for many years...actually questioning everything was essential in my life. My sister once painted a really kick ass sweatshirt for me that read Question was my favorite shirt for years. 

Today I don't really have a mantra but I do have a few things that I say fairly often. Things like Do what makes sense, Being kind is usually the right answer, and I'm always on your side. Those three seem to get me by for most things these days. 

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