By Tim E. Renzelmann (June 17, 2021)
For those of you interested in the short story, just read the sign (left) that now greets patients and visitors as they walk through the doors of the MOA/SCBS clinic. For those interested in “the rest of the story” (or the long story) based on The World According to Tim, continue reading:
I am always amazed by those in this world who (at least appear to) have great confidence towards and great command over the many complexities of this life! Some are born of great intellect while others rely on intuition.
Dealing with the pervasive nature of COVID-19 over these past sixteen months and now, as we begin to reacquaint ourselves with a life post-pandemic, I am convinced more than ever, that I really don’t know what I’m doing! 😊 As much as I appreciate and respect life, confidence towards or command over its many complexities has and always will elude me.
Using the words of Geri Halliwell, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m damn well going to do it.” And similarly, Woody Allen once said, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but my incompetence hasn’t stopped my enthusiasm.”
I feel intense enthusiasm to see those beautiful smiles and schnozs come out from behind those masks and once again appear with all of the beautiful eyeballs that have been the focus of our attention during this pandemic! Like so many others, I am incredibly eager to get back to doing some of the things that I have been unable to do for well over a year now.
This enthusiasm, I think, is a good thing. But, as they say, too much of even a good thing isn’t always a good thing! We’ve all seen examples of unbridled, untempered, or misdirected enthusiasm contributing to less-than-ideal outcomes.
Before we jump into whatever it is that we are doing, it is often helpful to begin by taking a moment to connect with our purpose and set an intention so we may direct our enthusiasm in a manner that aligns with our values, priorities, and what is truly important to us. A kind of “mindful enthusiasm” (a term that I made up... JUST NOW)! 😊
So what is “mindful enthusiasm”? Although I just made the term up, I feel oddly comfortable offering a description. As some have leaned on their intelligence to guide them and others their intuition, I have and will continue to rely on a kind of “mindful enthusiasm” to help me navigate the complexities of this life.
Mindful Enthusiasm “Makes CENTS”
In other words, it is enthusiasm of reason. Mine is not a mind of great intelligence. But I do try hard to use reason and follow the scientific method when considering problems and their possible solutions. The more evidence I have to support a particular passion, the more enthusiasm I will have towards that passion. I’m not sure there is a single thought in my mind that doesn’t include at least a small presence of doubt. “Mindful enthusiasm” results when, at best, doubt is reduced (not eliminated – I tend to be wary of anyone or anything that suggests total certainty) and, at worst, it does not increase doubt.
Mindful Enthusiasm “Feels Right”
I’m really not sure what “intuition” is or if I have any. But, like most, in my heart I have an understanding of what is good and just and right. And, as I see it, determining what is good and just and right begins by considering what has the greatest positive impact on the greater good. If what I think is best for me individually might do harm to the greater good it does not feel right and enthusiasm greatly diminishes or disappears!
Mindful Enthusiasm Is Where Intellect and Emotion Intersect
When enthusiasm for something flourishes both in the mind (is reasonable) and in the heart (benefits the greater good) it is a clear sign to me that it is something worthy of time and effort. One usually does not need to stoke further enthusiasm; it simply builds on its own.
Moving forward, as we continue to respond to and recover from this, I am looking forward with “mindful enthusiasm” to resuming some of the indoor in-person group activities in our Local Cancer Community!
The Local Cancer Community: Resuming Indoor In-Person Group Activities!!
According to the CDC with regard to COVID-19 and the related vaccine:
What We Know
What We’re Still Learning
“What We Know” gives me confidence to resume some of our pre-COVID activities. “What We’re Still Learning” suggests we proceed with caution!
So, with “mindful enthusiasm” I am planning our first indoor in-person group activity on Thursday, July 15th. I’ve chosen that date as it marks the 16-month anniversary of the last time a group of us had gathered in the MOA/SCBS 2nd Floor Conference Room.
I am not exactly sure what that gathering will look like!
With “mindful enthusiasm,” I will continue to encourage and practice modified precautions: limiting group size for indoor activities, allowing for more personal space, offering fewer handshakes and hugs, and following other public health practices that are proven to be effective and beneficial.
I do so to respect and protect my fellow man and to be mindful and sensitive to anyone who may feel worry or experience anxiety as we begin to gather in a way we haven’t been able to for sixteen months.
I also do so because it “makes CENTS” from a public health perspective. Amidst the uncertainties and unknowns related to COVID-19, one certainty seems to be that many of the public health precautions implemented during this pandemic resulted in a dramatic reduction in many other contagious respiratory diseases as well! So I find myself “mindfully enthusiastic” as these precautions are reasonable and benefit the greater good!