Set Aside Your Millstone. Political Detox: Week 3 Update

Remove the Millstone Political Detox Week 3

Lately, I’ve been trying to approach these articles with an empty notebook, and an empty mind.

Not surprisingly… the latter comes easy.

Occasionally I can do the smart, but most of the time I make my way through life with two left feet.

That said, the decision to go through with a rudimentary Political Detox has been one of my better “smarts”.

When I started this process, I didn’t expect anything magical to happen, I just knew that I was so tired of being angry all the time. I didn’t feel right. My family was getting a mediocre version of me. My work was dull. Lackluster. There was a desire to create more space for fishing as well. I knew something must be cut to make that space – so why not detox from the news a bit? The more I chewed on this, the more it made sense. Vacation made it easy to start, and it seemed logical. After all, nothing I was considering was earth-shattering. Countless “detox” articles exist all across the internet, for every imaginable vice.

Detox your guts.
Detox your relationship.
Detox your mind.
Detox your body.
Detox your soul.

CLEANSE THYSELF!

Cleanse: a process or period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substances regarded as toxic or unhealthy.

Certainly “the news” falls under this definition. So does social media. It’s a happy accident that my Political Detox has spilled over, prompting a massive reduction of the ‘ol Facebook / Twitter / Instagram habit.

Many things seem to be getting better the further down this rabbit hole I go. Here are a few more examples…

A week ago I was in a hotel lobby.

The band I play with was doing prison ministry near Dyersburg, Tennessee. Nice area. Hot. Fishing was on my mind but alas, this was not a leisurely trip – we were working. Scattering seed.

I was working on my business as well.

Being self-employed has it’s perks, but work never stops. I remember sitting in the lobby, sipping Holiday Inn coffee – which is surprisingly better than gas station coffee – taking care of email.

hotel lobby working coffee laptop
Helping customers fix their website(s).

Clickity-clack clickity-clack tap-tap-tap

There was a television of the far back wall, glowing slightly… like a bug zapper.

Clickity-clack clickity-clack tap-tap-tap

“The news” was on.

Clickity-clack clickity-clack tap-tap-tap

It caught my ear…

Dang it… better type HARDER…

Clickity-clack clickity-clack tap-tap-tap TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP!

I stopped. Eyes looked up without raising my chin.

Crap.

They got me.

I couldn’t help but watch. After all, one of my issues with this process is that I feel uninformed, and I hate that.

I am committed to a month-long detox… but… I didn’t turn the news on, it was just… there. So… I took a peek.

Then a weird thing happened.

I started to laugh out loud.

Laugh?

Laugh.

It was all the same hosts saying all the same things telling me everything I should to be mad about with NONE OF THE SOLUTIONS!

No action items. No “here’s our plan, boys & girls!” Just vapid rhetoric and a marketing push.

Buy this new book from this guest. He’s PISSED! Wait until you read how angry he is!

It wasn’t that these guys were wrong (there are certainly plenty of things to be upset about these days), but it was just… worthless.

I remember sitting back and taking a deep swig of my piping-hot lobby-java, and smirking. After just a few minutes, it was surprisingly easy to turn away.

Anger without action is worthless.

There must be a better way.

After the shows at the prison were completed, we drove back to Illinois. The long, narrow country roads of Tennessee and Kentucky gave me plenty of time to mull over what had happened in the hotel lobby.

It stuck with me.

long narrow country road driving
Give me sticks over streetlights any day.

When I made it back, there were hugs all around between the wife, the boys, and life returned to “normal”. Playing outside, reading together at night, making dinner with the misses, the mad dash before church, daily chores – the list goes on… but there was something else…

My overall attitude was lighter, and just as there had been a bit more flirting, there were many more jokes.

Like, a lot of jokes.

This in itself is hilarious, because I’m not especially funny. Still, there has been more laughter, more ribbing (or “ball-busting” as we call it), and as a result of my lightened demeanor, you can tell that both my wife and my children want to be around me more.

Our house is filled with laughter.

It’s also filled with yelling, screaming, spitting, fighting – but the extra laughter is in addition to the chaos.

This has also translated to my work, including my writing. Just last week, I received several emails from people letting me know they’ve been following the site for a while, and that I said something that made them feel a pull to reach out, say hello, and let me know it was helpful.

It does my heart good.

It also makes sense.

How can you do your best in faith, family, work, hobbies – in life – with a millstone hanging around your neck?

How can you expect others to want to be around you with a sense of anger & frustration gurgling under the surface at all times?

How can we set a proper example of what it means to be a man for our children and grandchildren with so much hate in our hearts?

We can’t.

I can’t.

Not with that millstone weighing me down.

So set it aside.

Not forever, but for now.

Give yourself permission to take a break, and focus on the things that are most important.

This afternoon I will cut out early to go fish a Pop ‘n Drop in an algae covered lake nearby. I’m working on a heavy-cover modification, and this should be a good time to test things. Last week, the fishing was awful. I’m expecting similar results today.

Pop 'n Drop Finesse Topwater Technique by AJ Hauser
The Pop ‘n Drop Finesse Topwater Technique

No matter.

Time on the lake is good time, even without fish.

It allows us to think.

There is one more week to go to complete this detox – then it’ll be time to make a decision.

Do I allow these things that have been cut, back into my life, knowing full well what they really cost?

I’m not sure what the answer it yet… so for now, let’s see what happens one day at a time, and we’ll go from there.

I need to finish up this email… it’s time to fish.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

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