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  • Dr. Ted Klontz

Random Thoughts - November 2023


I was reminded as I was making the long trek through the airport that if I slow down, I become part of a natural flow of humanity that is actually pretty amazing and beautiful. A kaleidoscopic experience. Awe inspiring to witness. Hundreds of people all in motion. Headed in different trajectories. In a flow. Never bumping into or running over other people.


If I try to speed up and push myself through that river of humanity, it’s not so beautiful of an experience. It’s frustrating.. No doubt I will get there, probably no sooner, not in a state of awe, but a state more like “AWE s—t!!!!!!!!


Applicable lesson to pretty much every other part of my life I have a hunch. Especially relationships with loved ones. And with my own thoughts. Don’t Push the River a title of a book she wrote, a mentor of mine was famous for saying.


I knew that in relationships, in order to not damage and eventually destroy them, there needs to be a ratio of five positive interactions (in any form) to every one negative interaction. (John Gottman)


The actual real-life ratio in most intimate relationships has those numbers reversed. 1-5. That’s a reason that most intimate relationships fail. And please note, this 5-1 ratio is just to MAINTAIN the relationship, to keep it from getting worse. Not enhancing it; not building on it to make it more robust. The ratio needs to be 6-1 (or more) for that.

I just read a study that the same is true for parents in their relationships with their children. Especially towards children. A ratio of 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that before. Same for friends. Same for anyone I am in a relationship with.


I caught COVID....I’d judge it was a CASE of COVID, not a simple six-pack. I felt like the dog who chased the truck’s front wheel, caught it, and summarily, got run over by it. I didn’t know if I was going to live or die, and frankly, at the time, didn’t care all that much.


I have to admit, I’ve been more than a little disillusioned by the whole COVID experience. I remember the conspiracy theorists telling me that the day Mr. Biden became president, the whole COVID thing would go away. COVID was just a political ‘thing.’ I’m still waiting to hear “Sorry, I guess we were wrong on that one.” I won’t hold my breath. I can’t. (That’s a joke.) Now they are telling me that they know who I should vote for, for president. Humm.


The menu suggested that a salad option was “Field Greens.” Now that choice, from my perspective, is one of those rare things that looks and tastes exactly as described. Field greens. Also known as weeds. They look like weeds. What is put in front of me, looks like the bottom of a dandelion plant. We kill those things in our yards. For me Field Greens feels, tastes, and tries to go down my gullet, just like what would happen if I tried to eat a weed. Reluctantly. The leaves seem to be desperately trying to escape the trap of my mouth, like a frog desperately trying to not get swallowed. Holding out, hanging on for dear life, and resisting going down my throat.


No thanks. Give me crunchy romaine or iceberg please, and no danged cheese or croutons. Stale bread on my salad? Cheese? Geeze. If I wanted cheese, I would have ordered a pizza.


I saw a double rainbow. Actually, it was a double and a half. First time ever in my life. (Western Wyoming might just be the rainbow capital of the continental United States.) On its way to becoming a triple. Of course, I was traveling down an interstate and by the time I was able to pull over, it was gone. Going down the expressway of life, so fast I couldn’t enjoy the moment, and by the time I slowed down and got out of the traffic, I had missed it. A metaphor for too much of my life.


I was passing some garbage trucks and was reminded that I believe that death himself (mine is a “him,”) is like the person who cleans up after the concert. Where would we be without those folks? My grandfather was a sexton in a cemetery, and he lovingly day-after-day, year-after-year, for decades cared for those who were resting there, especially my grandmother. Like death, he was doing something that needed to be done.


I was speaking with a friend about intimate relationships and said that I believe there are specialized tools necessary to have a fabulously successful one. I suggested that there is a difference between friendship skills and intimate relationship skills. While knowledge of the former is helpful, relationship skills require much finer tools, more like those of a Swiss watchmaker than a carpenter.


I realized today that I am very much like a possum. When I perceive a threat from another human being, I shut up, shut down and tend to go mute as if I’m dead. I do it for the very same reasons a possum does I guess. Human (and possum) predators don’t tend to eat dead things, I’m told.


Sometimes it seems as if the peoples and countries of this world are trembling. Just as the icons on my iPhone do when I accidentally press down on one of them too long. Once I have done that all of them are at high risk for being eliminated. No longer on my “home” screen. But unlike my “lost” icons (which are not really ‘lost’ but hiding in the ‘Cloud’ somewhere and can be recalled whenever I want), those peoples who are eliminated during these “shaky” times, aren’t coming back. “X’d” out. Permanently. And all the future gifts of their humanity are gone forever. Not recallable, except in the minds of loved ones, if any of them are lucky enough to survive.


As I write this note the Middle East is in chaos. There are those who say that looking back in time is a waste. I think they are right, in a way. Why waste time studying history if we are just going to do the same thing that didn’t work back then all over again. History, examined, tells us what happened and why. Suggests the mistakes that were made. History does repeat itself. It seems we don’t learn the big lessons that it has to teach us.

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