To get the gist of something colloquially means to get the basic idea of it. However, gist is defined as “the substance or essence of a speech or text,” or “the real point of an action.” Synonyms include: essence, substance, quintessence, crux, nucleus and marrow. A far cry from having a basic understanding! We tend to feel that knowing a little about a lot of things somehow makes us cultured or well-rounded. But look to experts in any field and the opposite is true; they tend to know a great deal about very specific things.
Experts spend time gaining a deep understanding of the fundamentals through trial and error in form of practice, experimentation, inquiry, study, discipline, passion, curiosity, and/or experience. There’s a lesson here. Before we pride ourselves on our intellectual breadth, let’s first be sure we understand the gist of our intentions.
At rest, we breathe about 16 times – 20 times per minute. That’s between 960 – 1,200 breaths per hour, 23,040 – 28,800 breaths per day, 691,200 – 864,000 per month, 8,409,600 – 10,368,000 per yer. The average life expectancy worldwide is currently 71.5 years or around 741,312,000 breaths. Every breath we take matters. How many non-renewable breaths have we wasted on worry, fear or doubt? None of those breaths changed any outcomes. Worry, fear and doubt can’t survive without the air that we provide!
Performance is defined as “an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment,” or “the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function.” We can consider every day we live as a performance; not for the sake of entertainment, but as vocation. If we choose to look at our life’s work as self-employment (the state of working for oneself rather than for an employer), then our focus is inward in regards to our performance evaluations. If we only look to the audience for validation, letting their applause or boos judge who we are, we are missing the point of performance: self-expression. The more honest our self-expression, the less we concern ourselves with viewer ratings.
DISCLAIMER: Quasi END GAME spoiler
Sometime it’s difficult to determine when to continue pursuing something and when to decide to pursue something else. Where is the line between “giving up” and “not giving in”? When a medic is performing CPR, when do they know when to continue to revive someone and when to call it? This is something I pondered after seeing Avengers: End Game over the weekend. It comes down to determining the “snap” moment. That’s the line! Post-snap, there’s reason to believe a course can be corrected: There’s still hope. Pre-snap is a lost cause.
Life is all about what happens moment-to-moment. Truth is found in knowing the meaning in those moments: either as they unfold or upon reflection. Discovering the truth and refusing to acknowledge it is the same as trying to raise the dead.
The human brain is roughly 15 centimeters long and weighs between 1300 – 1400 grams (3 – 4 pounds). Considering how expansive thoughts can be, that’s quite a small space. Physically, not many would fear someone throwing their weight around if it were only 4-pounds to fend off. Mentally though, many cower at the thought of how much damage the mind is truly capable of dealing. A single thought can be a deathblow. There would be no such thing as suicide if this weren’t true.
When we think of outer space, that’s quite an immense space to ponder. So vast in fact that beyond outer space lies “deep space,” which is difficult to fathom. Size is relative. As Yoda said, “Judge me by my size do you?” What we’re capable of depends greatly on our perspective. We can see size as a literal framework of our perceived limitations, or as just a casing. We all share two things in common: We are human and we are earthlings. In both statements, insignificance and connection can be found and felt equally. It’s the same feeling we get when we look to the stars.
We’ve all seen the shows where someone takes a blacklight to a hotel room and reveals the true horrors that our naked eyes are blind to. This is really no different than our daily perception of life. We’d all become paralyzed by disgust if we could actually see how much filth we were surround by each and every moment. Even worse would be if we could also read everyone else’s minds. No amount of disinfectant will cleanse our paths. Life isn’t sterile. Serenity is living in the mess and being okay with good enough. What makes us better humans is learning how to become mentally unbothered by the mess we will always be living in and surrounded by.
There aren’t always precise words for everything we feel. Apparently there is no word for the “fear of authority.” However, this is something we have all felt in our lives. We can experience an “authority crisis,” yet what it means to have the fear of authority hasn’t been clearly defined. If we were to assign authority a direction it would likely be “above.” Above is defined as “in extended space over and not touching.” That seems to nicely sum up popular opinion about how we perceive authority.
Our perception colors our reality. Knowing the subtle, or sometimes vast, differences in the words we choose to define our realities is the difference between meaning what you say and saying what you mean. For example: Observation means “the action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information.” Surveillance means “close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal.” So, if we view authority as something that is constantly surveilling us, we must first ask ourselves: “Are we are criminals or spies?”