The mind-set, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has become an ingrained attitude of embracing decay in America. It is played out in our current political arenas, our values and in matters of personal growth and self care. As a result of our quest to tighten fiscal belts, our infrastructure is also experiencing malnourishment and neglect. This has been highlighted in numerous articles and recent studies, and has been the source of outrage and, often, despair once something finally surrenders in a cataclysmic manner (think bridge collapses, levy failures, government shutdowns).
This was discussed in an interesting and thought-provoking 2012 article from The Economist, “A Question of Trust”:
For decades America has underinvested in infrastructure—even though poor roads, delayed flights, crumbling bridges and inefficient buildings are an expensive burden. Deficiencies in roads, bridges and transport systems alone cost households and businesses nearly $130 billion in 2010, mostly because of higher running costs and travel delays. This filters through to all parts of the economy and increases costs at the point of use of many raw materials, and thereby reduces the productivity and competitiveness of American firms and their goods. Overall the American Society of Civil Engineers reckons that this underinvestment will end up costing each family in the country about $10,600 between 2010 and 2020.
I believe that – unfortunately – this attitude of neglect and purposeful ignorance is affecting the state of our country’s personal health. We live in a time where most of us are connected to the web, texting and email 24/7. We are also over-connected to information that really is inane, unnecessary and just a diversion. Our personal infrastructure is overburdened and overly taxed! We tend to devalue expenditure on our personal infrastructure. We prefer spending on the novelty and status of newer and faster stuff that binds us more intimately to the accelerated disintegration of our body’s finite resources, our emotional stability and our potential for spiritual fulfillment.
Further, we tend to only pay heed when symptoms have gone from intermittent to fixed, subtle to untenable. This is a level of minimal engagement that is truly very costly, filters through all parts of the economy, reduces productivity and aides and abets the breakdown of community. If we were to become just an iota more introspective, and listen to the internal inspection reports that are constantly emitting as “the state of our infrastructure” we could CHOOSE to engage our efforts and modest financial resources to rebuild and recover our true innate personhood.
The potential net gain is infinite, but how do we engage in this process?
No it doesn’t require a new type of sporting gear, a faster processor or more mega pixels. It isn’t achieved through V8 German horsepower or a mani and pedi.
It is far more exclusive, but accessible by all.
To quote Elmer Fudd, “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet” and then check inside.
What is the state of your personal infrastructure?
If you are listening you might hear:
“I am anxious.”
“I am unhappy.”
“I am scared.”
“I am in pain.”
The next step is to disengage our familiar response toward the cry.
Challenge your automatic responses and habituations toward the predicament.
If you are tired, rather than reach for more caffeine, get more rest.
If you are discontented, rather than mindlessly eating more “comfort food,” sit and think about involving yourself in things that engender happiness and freedom of expression.
If something is hurting, stop ignoring it. Seek nurturing and expertise to understand and work toward corrective measures.
Most of the challenges we experience with our infrastructure come from the chronicity of ignoring our body’s own reports and cries for help.
Yes, there will come the day that our infrastructure can no longer withstand the neglect just like the day that the levees no longer could hold, despite the decades of countless warning. It’s the broken aspects of our situation that provide the richest opportunities for innovation and growth.
It isn’t necessary to suffer so intensely or be so outraged with the state of our infrastructure.
How can I be so certain of this? We all struggle with our mortality and the ebb and flow of emotional discontent, feeling powerless and pain. I think they call it “the human condition”. Try something new put yourself in the zone of reaching beyond your own resistance, if this doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to what you are doing now, no questions asked.
If we pay attention and give town-hall time to the inner self and it’s innate mission to survive, we can go way beyond the fundamental preservation skills of our lizard brain and really begin to have a symbiotic relationship with ourselves, our responsibilities and our commitments, This is how we tap into our infinite potential.
Dedicate yourself to a small amount of structured time and resources for the communion, I guarantee it WILL pay off.