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If we wish to change the person we find ourselves to be, we must change our thinking.
October 7th, 2018
When Lucilius was young and full of restless wander, he set off on a great journey. With a pack of essentials, a few beloved books for study, and good weather, he set off.
He was not far from the town he had left when a terrible odor wrapped about him, choking him of air. The sky was clear, but the air was still. And in that stillness, something had flooded. He walked on, a scarf over his mouth, and then finally he came upon the cause.
A deer, some time dead was a few feet from the path. There being few predators in these parts, it was being claimed by thousands of insects.
Lucilius watched for a moment, forgetful of the awful stench, entranced by the awesome sight of nature.
Each tiny creature was carrying off a piece of the animal so small it was unseeable. And yet the carcass was clearly wasting away.
Lucilius watched the spectacle until the stench was too much and then he carried on.
Several days later, Lucilius was aching from the days of walking. The pack felt as though it had become heavier and he was beginning to wonder what he was doing.
It was then the weather started to turn.
First the skies darkened. Then the rains came. And Lucilius was soon walking wet and cold.
The rains did not let up and several days later, Lucilius felt frail under the constant taps of cold drops, his clothes soaked with weight, his pack and books drenched.
Lucilius stopped in the trail, and he was blessed with a clear moment of thought.
He asked his shivering body if it was really so cold. And though it was unpleasant, he began to suspect that his mind was making it out to be worse than it really was.
He wondered how this could have happened. No great misfortune had befallen him. His clothes would eventually dry, and so would his books. His skin and body would not suffer as they might under a grueling desert sun. But how could his mind turn on him like this and make things worse.
At that moment a single drop of rain landed on his nose and made his eyes clapped shut.
A single drop.
Lucilius wondered how many drops must have found him in the last few days. He had felt each one, and carried most of them until they drenched down his clothes and body.
Each one had taken a small toll.
Or rather, he had allowed each drop to take a toll on him.
It was then he remembered the deer, being slowly eaten, and smiled.
Lucilius walked on, untroubled by the rain.
Years later, after many adventures, and much contemplation, Lucilius finds himself often sought for counsel. A young man approaches him, full from a feast. Well acquainted with Lucilius, he tosses himself down next to the wise man and belches.
“Lucilius, I am so very full. I feel like I might pop.”
“I do hope you’ll keep from popping my good friend.”
“We shall see, but in the meantime, I need your advice: I have been tasked with a huge endeavor. It is so large I have no idea how I might accomplish such a feat. How does one do anything so tremendous?”
“Blinders,” says Lucilius.
“Blinders? Like on a horse?”
“Lucilius, you are like a wise elder, but sometimes you say such strange things. How might blinders help me with my big task.”
“You see too much. Just as your eyes were bigger than your stomach at the feast today. You have eaten yourself silly, and now you can only lay useless while you recover.”
“I see too much? I eat too much? How does this help me, you strange old hermit?”
Lucilius remembers the deer and the rain from years ago, and smiling, continues, “If you face something larger than yourself, you cannot unhinge your jaw and consume it whole, like some great snake.”
The young man looks disapprovingly at Lucilius, then regards his taut belly with comforting hands as Lucilius continues,
“You must take your time, my friend. You must nibble.”
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