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Normal or Common?

Hey, there -- how is it going? It's feeling more and more like true spring bordering on summer in the northeast, especially since I've "dipped below" and traveled into Virginia for a few days. The flowers are blooming everywhere and the trees are full and green. Check out my Instagram for some recent pics!

This week's Seed came to me recently when I was listening to people's conversations and feeling a little surreal in the midst of it. My activity level is on overdrive these days, so let's dive in.

"Just because something is common, doesn't mean it has to be normal."

I may have written about this before, however it bears reminding. Are you familiar with the parable of the frog in the beaker? The way it goes is that if you plopped a frog into boiling water, it would leap out so fast your head would spin. It would jump out to avoid being cooked and probably get as far away as it could in record time. On the other hand, if you put a frog in cool water in a wide-mouthed vessel with a bunsen burner underneath and very gradually increase the temperature one degree at a time, the frog will get used to it, not realize the danger and stay in the pot too long and die. Pretty sad for the frog and I have no idea if anyone actually ever did this or if it's totally accurate. Perhaps some scientist took it just so far and rescued the frog at the last minute (since the frog didn't have it together to save itself). The point is, as humans, we will usually respond quickly to an event that is catastrophic and immediate, but if given the chance, we often ignore little indiscretions. This opens the door for something to sneak up on us and catch us unaware. Unfortunately, we can "normalize" certain activities or behaviours. They become so frequent and common, we begin to expect them instead of doing something about them. We might not like it, yet we fall back on, "Oh, well, what can you do?". The definition of normal is conforming to a standard. Common means not exceptional, usual, or ordinary.

We can get into trouble when we let go of standards and start to think of situations as "business as usual" or ordinary. The range can be from almost silly to dangerous. Can you think of some examples?

How about ...

  • Eating grapes as you shop, before paying for them

  • Littering, maybe just a gum wrapper

  • Ignoring the chance to recycle and take care of Mother Earth

  • Stealing from work -- pens, paper, and other office supplies

  • An array of behaviours on social media including bullying, verbally attacking, and shaming.

This essay isn't meant to be a sermon, it's just meant to wake us all up a bit. The news lets us know of horrifying events every day and if we keep taking it in, we run the risk of becoming immune to it. In fact, we eventually would have to because no one can let their soul and psyche be bombarded relentlessly without eventually cracking, unless we developed a kind of numb acceptance. I'm not recommending staying tuned in to the news -- maybe check in once in a while. And, when we hear or see something that jars us, we can't say, "It happens all the time. There's nothing that can be done.". Directly or indirectly we need to take action. We can't "standardize" what's common and isn't healthy when it becomes normal. We all have the right to stand up for what's good and what supports us as a whole. Take a stand and watch others get in step with you to do the right thing. This is what I wish for you. If life is overwhelming, try having a conversation with me. I've found my way out of overwhelm a few times. I'm offering a 30 minute chat that I would normally charge for, but because you're a reader, you get it at no cost. Get in touch and come away with some new ideas.

Sparkles and Love,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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