Cut to the Chase

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.” – Epictetus

There are all sorts of activities that centre us, that help us to preserve equanimity, broaden our options and promote wellbeing. There is also a vast array of distractions that can keep us in the thick of thin. We can even get so caught up in dealing with urgent matters that we neglect the day to day tasks of caring for ourselves. The long term consequences of such actions may permanently keep us reacting to one problem after another without reprieve.

Knowing when and where to draw the line may feel like an impossible feat. We could be stretched in several directions and so over taxed that it may be difficult to know up from down. That is to say our priorities may be so jumbled that we find ourselves taking the broad road of least resistance. By default we may seek escapism every chance we get, unwittingly becoming more and more mired in our sense of powerlessness.

So how in the world do we break from this old paradigm and begin anew, without having to purchase this, that and the other thing? How about we play a little game of words instead? There’s nothing like the power of the logos to remove obstacles, and besides, unless we become like children, how can we expect to raise our frequency; i.e., how can we be free and filled with exuberance, if we carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders.

Relinquish your worrisome burden for a few minutes and let’s participate in some creative play! Choose a random letter in the alphabet. Then try putting as many words together beginning with that letter in view to forming ideas that can help us to remain focused on what is important in life. Let’s begin with the letter P:

Planning, Preparing, Prevention, Prioritizing, Probing,
Principles, Purpose, Prudence, Play, Peace, Prayer.

Now for those of you who are without a linguistic imagination, feel free to explore all my P words instead and try to determine which of them can help you the most to empower yourself. For instance, it may dawn on you that the tools required for planning are absolutely essential to improving the quality of your life; therefore you might seek out other terms from the list that support and complement that process, and end up with a new cognitive wheel by which to move through unexplored ground. In other words, by creating new thought patterns you may find yourself breaking through obstacles that you never even imagined possible.

As for those of you who prefer to find fault in things, why not show us how these P words are useless in helping others to address first things first. For instance, you might conclude that play is irrelevant and that it detracts from what is important. Yet this perspective can be easily refuted, for play is the spice of life and who says we need to take it to the extreme. Some play can do wonders for the body & mind, not to mention it’s a great way to maintain fellowship and keep our hearts warm with invigoration.

In sum we have three approaches to this exercise. (1) Compile words that begin with the same letter in view to forming ideas that help us remain centred on important things. (2) Probe my list of P words to see which of them give you the most freedom (3) or take us away from what is essential. Whatever approach you take, go ahead and share your responses in the comment section below.


About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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12 Responses to Cut to the Chase

  1. inese says:

    Thank you for the homework, Jason. Peace gives freedom to me. Planning can be a disappointment 😉

    • We can plan with the utmost joy, but we can’t plan the outcome, so in essence we bring the disappointment upon ourselves, mainly because of the intensity of our expectations, and the offhand judgements we make about the things that don’t conform to our rules and demands. Cognitive Theory 101 for home and office. 😉

  2. zennfish says:

    Let’s see, it goes something like explore, experience, express, excel, embrace, evanesce, enjoy…

    • Very nice list indeed!

    • Interesting choice of terms; curious though, how might ‘evanesce’ help you remain focused on things of importance; perhaps it is effective in the sense that it allows you to let things go…

      • zennfish says:

        Evanesce – I did stop to reconsider when i put that one down. It was about letting go of the unnecessary, what no longer serves, ways of thinking, being, behaving, the hold of the past. Things in your field of attention that don’t deserve that attention, to make room for what does require attention.

      • Fascinating! Like a bulb on last years Christmas Tree, you also embellish the term by referring to it in the past tense. Is it safe to say there’s no bottom to your imagination…

  3. Awesome demonstration of how words and letters can change our perspectives. I am working on my Master’s thesis using the work of Kenneth Burke, a communication and linguistic scholar. He was fond of using Coleridge in his writings and both writers suggest that we use words, but words can use us as well. There truly is nothing like the power of the logos.

    • Thank you! Just received your comment; somehow it ended up in my spam folder. You are definitely scholar material. Good point about words using us; a limitation we so often overlook. On another note, Joshua, I’ve been meaning to ask you to check out my recent blog titled Attain Peace of Mind. There are a few relevant questions towards the end of the prose that you may like to address or at least it would be great to receive your feedback seeing that it’s something that benefits the both of us.

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