Monday, December 14, 2009

Hurray for the quick fix

Lynn and I try to pay attention to our spiritual lives and the spirit we have between the two of us.  Every now and then, we read something or do something to try to refresh our spiritual selves in addition to alternating weeks of writing a statement of where we we see ourselves spiritually.

We are fans of Parker Palmer.  I think his little "Let Your Life Speak" is his best work but many people have benefited from "The Courage to Teach" and other books.  Our friend Judy did the "40-day Journey with Parker Palmer" and we decided to work through the book and exercises, too.

The other day, we read Palmer's call to go beyond the quick fix that Americans so favor.  Have more patience and commitment, he urged, and go the distance to complete the task fully, slowly and thoroughly.  That advice seems open to modification to me. 

Another friend introduced me to the book by James Prochaska and others "Changing for Good".  The most striking things I learned about effective strategies for changing were a) prepare for changing (such as quitting smoking) and b) Try repeatedly.  These researchers found that trying and failing was a good indicator that some subsequent attempt would succeed.  So, go for the quick fix so long as you realize that it is one shot of many possible.  It is only going to be a start.  Any 'fix' to anything is temporary.  Hell, WE are temporary.

We work on things, we don't solve problems finally.  Yes, I will regain the weight but that is better than never losing it.  I will have weeds in the garden again but I did get it weed-free for a while.  We try and then we try again.  In fact, you can see that the quicker the fix, the better.  If we are going to try repeatedly, all the better if each try is fairly fast, no?

I understand the attempt to try to get us to be grown-ups.  Why not apply ourselves rigorously and wipe out the problem, succeed fully?  Good idea but in the modern world, there are so many projects that limiting ourselves to complete solutions only is silly.  Ultimate or final solutions are often not so final, after all. 

I respect the power and optimism of the quick fix.

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