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Cabin Fever

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posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:48 AM
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Cabin Fever

The weather is bad. Has been for the last couple of days. I've been stuck inside for most of the week honestly. There is only so much house cleaning and indoor activities you can do before you start to get cabin fever. I didn't know exactly what that was, so, while I am buried under two feet of snow and experiencing it myself, I'd thought I'd look it up.

First of all, I decided to look up the etymology. You know, to figure out where the term came from. Quite interestingly, it has been dated back to 1918, and was used in conjunction with prisons and sailing:


Historians speculate that the term cabin fever was first used to describe early U.S. settlers who experienced long winters alone in their log cabins, snowed in until the spring thaw. The term is dated to the 19th century by the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms and is first recorded in 1918, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Suffering from this condition is similar to going stir crazy, a term that originates from a mid-19th century slang term, stir, which meant "prison." Stir crazy was typically used to describe the behavior exhibited by inmates in prison suffering from the effects of a long incarceration.

The origins of the term may also date from the time of frequent oceanic crossings, when people endured the long passage across the Atlantic in small, cramped quarters below the deck of a ship. In addition, during outbreaks of disease, people were often confined or quarantined to their homes in the effort to prevent its spread. Restlessness and depression could have surely been a result in either of these situations. ...

There is also mention of it being a term used for typhus prior to 1918. But, I found that the term that actually was used for typhus was camp fever.

camp fe•ver
1. any epidemic febrile illness affecting troops in an encampment;
2. obsolete term for typhus.
3. Synonym(s): typhus ...


Typhus is caused by fleas, mites, lice, and ticks. Generally found to be spread in developing countries through close human contact.

Now a days, Cabin fever seems to be a combination of the two: A general term used to define any isolation (whether in a camp, boat, train, or home) that is caused by being located somewhere you can't leave/step outside of. There is also cabin fever associated with being inside the "cabin" of a plane. It's become a general term used to define the symptoms and not the location.

The symptoms are as follows:

The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association characterize the symptoms of cabin fever as:
  • A lack of patience
  • Always feeling tired
  • Feeling unproductive and unmotivated
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Craving carbohydrates or sugar
  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability

Other symptoms of cabin fever are hopelessness, losing interest in the activities one used to enjoy earlier, weight gain/weight loss, difficulty concentrating and/or processing information and change in the sex drive. ...

And I noticed a funny thing. I looked around the web and found that no one has really studied or defined in technical terminology what cabin fever is. The closest thing that psychologists have compared it to is claustrophobia. It seems, for the most part, that we've kind of missed the boat with this one. I thought it a bit odd until I found this:

"Cabin fever is something that isn't part of a diagnosable condition," said Sheri Alexander, a licensed clinical social worker in Juneau.

The medical condition most closely related to cabin fever is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Alexander said. It is generally a condition that relates to mood and occurs at a certain time of the year. For most SAD patients, that time of the year is winter and they notice a repeat of their symptoms year after year. There have been rare cases of reverse SAD occurring in the summer for some patients with symptoms of heightened anxiety.
...

Here is the psychological definition for Cabin Fever:

Cabin Fever is a colloquial term used to describe the reaction when trapped somewhere for an extended period of time. It can be used to describe being metaphorically trapped (like in a toxic relationship) or actually trapped (like being in a cabin covered in snow during an avalanche, which is where the name comes from). The most similar clinical concept would be claustrophobia, which is an anxiety condition marked by a feeling of no escape and fear of small spaces. Symptoms of cabin fever can include restlessness, frustration, sleep disturbances, irritability, distrust of others and urge to escape....
(note that they say cabin fever comes from being in a cabin covered in snow during an avalanche, which wasn't mentioned in the word history at all)


Continued...




posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:49 AM
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Cabin Fever

I really don't know if it is as simple as that though. Comparing it to Claustrophobia. It seems to be so much more. When you look at the stories floating around the web about it, it seems to be a bit more complex. Even the definition suggests it's something more than being scared of tight places.

One other thing I find a bit odd is there are pages and pages of how to cure Cabin Fever on the web, yet hardly any information on what it is. I've found more information on extreme isolation and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) than I have on Cabin Fever. But I did manage to find a few stories from the past with, what is believed to be, cabin fever references:

1. Earnest Shackleton's Trans - Atlantic Exhibition

An early expedition in 1898–99, the first ship to winter in the Antarctic, recorded widespread psychological disturbance among the crew. ‘Mentally, the outlook was that of a madhouse’ wrote the ship’s doctor.

Ernest Shackelton’s doomed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is one of the most famous. He and his crew were trapped on their ship (understatedly named Endurance) for 10 months on drifting pack ice, and then spent months finding their way free of the Antarctic wilderness. Members of the crew were said to be suffering mentally at the time of their rescue, though in the scheme of things (frostbite, gangrene, amputation), cabin fever was probably the least of their problems.


I think it may have been a bit more serious then this writer exclaims. When we are not mentally strong, we tend to fail physically. We make more mistakes, do sloppy work, and sometimes, that leads to injuries that may lead to gangrene, frostbite, and eventually to amputation. The mind controls the body, our thoughts control our actions. (or, I could be way out in left field with this one...who knows???)

Ok, a few stories turned out to be one...one story. lol. There wasn't more to be had unfortunately. Yes, there is a mention of long sea voyages and people getting Cabin fever. They would jump from the ships to their deaths because they saw green grass instead of blue seas. Also, there is mention of a Russian murder because of Cabin fever and mountain men fighting amongst themselves after spending long months in isolation together. There is even a bit about the space program and their isolation training programs. But I have yet to find any hard evidence to back all these up. Where are all the stories and newspaper/medical write ups of these events?

A lot of articles compared the symptoms to the movie The Shining. The long winter spent at the hotel, Jack getting more and more insane, having hallucinations as time progresses, and finally trying to kill his family in the end. Yet, you can't really find any evidence to support that comparison either. Not one story have I found where people actually resorted to extreme violence because of cabin fever (if anyone knows of one, I'd be interested in hearing it).

I did find one thing that involved some fighting, which was reported in Lord Auckland's voyages of 1842:

Fights aboard
Close confinement often led to quarrelling and ‘cabin fever’. In one account of the Lord Auckland’s 1842 voyage, a ‘regular row’ involving sailors and emigrants, ‘all fighting together, and shouting, cursing, swearing and screaming in a general mass’, erupted when the sweetheart of a hysterical woman attacked the surgeon. 6 In another report, the ‘great national dislike between Scandinavians and Germans’ on board the Friedeberg (1873) led to endless ‘petty squabbles’. ...


That was it, the only one that actually had reference material to back it up. All the rest mention that Cabin Fever could lead to extreme violence, but there are no solid examples.

All was not lost though, I stumbled onto something else that may be the same or a similar condition...

Continued...

edit on 12-2-2018 by blend57 because: Always an Edit! :/



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:49 AM
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2. Prairie Madness

Prairie Madness seems to be the exact same thing as Cabin Fever. What it is:

Prairie madness or prairie fever was an affliction that affected European settlers in the Great Plains during the migration to, and settlement of, the Canadian Prairiesand the Western United States in the nineteenth century. Settlers moving from urbanized or relatively settled areas in the East faced the risk of mental breakdown caused by the harsh living conditions and the extreme levels of isolation on the prairie. Symptoms of prairie madness included depression, withdrawal, changes in character and habit, and violence. Prairie madness sometimes resulted in the afflicted person moving back East or, in extreme cases, suicide.

Prairie madness was caused by the isolation and tough living conditions on the Prairie. The level of isolation depended on the topography and geography of the region. Most examples of prairie madness come from the Great Plains region. One explanation for these high levels of isolation was the Homestead Act of 1862. This act stipulated that a person would be given a tract of 160 acres if they were able to live on it and make something out of it in a five-year period. The farms of the Homestead Act were at least half a mile apart, but usually much more.[1] There was little settlement and community on the Plains and settlers had to be almost completely self-sufficient.

The lack of quick and easily available transportation was also a cause of prairie madness; settlers were far apart from one another and they could not see their neighbors or get to town easily. Those who had family back on the East coast could not visit their families without embarking on a long journey. Settlers were very alone. This isolation also caused problems with medical care; it took such a long time to get to the farms that when children fell sick they frequently died.[3] This caused a lot of trauma for the parents, and contributed to prairie madness.

Another major cause of prairie madness was the harsh weather and environment of the Plains, including long, cold winters filled with blizzards followed by short, hot summers. Once winter came, it seemed that all signs of life such as plants, and animals had disappeared. Farmers would be stuck in their houses under several feet of snow when the blizzards struck, and the family would be cramped inside for days at a time.[4] There were few trees, and the flat land stretched out for miles and miles. Some settlers specifically spoke of the wind that rushed through the prairie, which was loud, forceful, and alien compared to what settlers had experienced in their former lives.[1] ...


From the isolation of prairie farms, an article found in the Atlantic 1893 issue, I was able to pull this:

It is hard to establish any social bond in such a mixed population, yet one and all need social intercourse, as the thing most essential to pleasant living, after food, fuel, shelter, and clothing. An alarming amount of insanity occurs in the new prairie States among farmers and their wives. ...


So, I find it weird that everyone seems to want to cure a "mental illness" and no one seems to have any clue what it is. Maybe it isn't even real. Or maybe, it is just under some other name that I'm not aware of, but you'd think that would be noted in the psychological description if it was.

There is one area that I seem to be missing in this write up...the prisoner aspect.There have been studies done on the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners. And as prisoners experiencing Cabin Fever was mentioned in the etymology, I thought it should be included here as well:

Charles Darwin, for example, observed inmates “dead to everything but torturing anxieties and horrible despair. . . . The first man . . . answered . . . with a strange kind of pause . . . [he] fell into a strange stare as if he had forgotten something. . .[Of another] Why does he stare at his hands and pick the flesh open, . . . and raise his eyes for an instant . . . to those bare walls?

In the United States, unfortunately, these experiences did not give rise to a body of clinical literature. However, in Germany, whose penal system had emulated the American model, major clinical concern developed about the incidence of psychotic disturbances among prisoners. Between 1854 and 1909, 37 articles on this subject appeared in German journals, collectively describing hundreds of cases of psychoses that were deemed to be reactive to the conditions of imprisonment. A review of this literature appeared in 1912 (13) and will be only summarized here.

The literature described a hallucinatory, paranoid, confusional psychosis in which characteristic symptoms included 1) extremely vivid hallucinations in multiple sensory modalities, including the visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory; 2) dissociative features, including sudden recovery “as from a dream,” with subsequent amnesia for the events of the psychosis; 3) agitation and “motor excitement” with aimless violence; and 4) delusions, usually described as persecutory. Onset was often described as sudden and, in some reports, as precipitating at night. In other cases, initial manifestations included “humming and buzzing, unpleasant noises and inarticulate sounds [leading to] hallucinations.” Rarer, only occasionally noted symptoms included Vorbereiden (“the symptom of approximate answers,” usually associated with Ganser [16], although described as well by others) and hysterical conversion symptoms ...
(online PDF 5 pages)

Is cabin fever even real? Maybe it is just different for us than it was "way back when". With the internet and being constantly connected, maybe we just don't feel the effects of it like they used to. I can tell you for certain that there is one form of cabin fever that is very real. It seems that at least one type is NOT psychological at all:

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 17 -- People who spend a lot of time in remote cabins in the United States and Canada often report they suffer from 'cabin fever,' and now scientists said Tuesday that at least one form of fever is not psychological -- it's caused by a tick-borne bacteria. The fever, caused by infection from the bacterium Borrelia hermsii, is transmitted through the bite of a tick that feeds on sleeping persons in rural cabins, lakeside vacation homes and even permanent residences ...
Which would fit with the typhus fever/camp fever definition up top, yet they still call it Cabin fever.

Anyone have any experience being stuck in an isolated area for days? Did you get cabin fever and how did you work your way through it? Is SAD the same thing under a different name?

Anyhow, just thought I'd share what I found.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you found at least one thing of value...

Thanks!
blend
edit on 12-2-2018 by blend57 because: Always an Edit! :/



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:54 AM
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Sounds like a close cousin of "Stir Crazy."
Go sit a month in solitary.
It will change a person.
Not for the better.



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:57 AM
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Sounds like bliss to me, all we are getting is rubbish wet snow mayby an inch and its gone in an hour.
Been years since we got snowed in.
Blooming Obama

edit on 12-2-2018 by testingtesting because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 06:58 AM
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I can relate to cabin fever. I pretty much dont leave the house unless I have to, but have never any reason to. self inflicted cabin fever perhaps.. but nonetheless, what I used to consider enjoyable well over a decade ago, just taking walks.. is now, something I can't do.

and depression does come from it. this is my coffin.

I'm pretty sure I am sane though, except for everything...

Never thought of it like that, instead of snow, it's people that trap me in this single room. lol oh well, this is why I venture out once a fortnight, to fight to elements that stare at the caveman, to get my supplies. just enough to drink the dire nights away..

it didnt start that way.. but has become cemented around me now.

if not for the internet, I'd have a coconut shell I call Mandy.



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 07:00 AM
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originally posted by: testingtesting
Sounds like bliss to me, all we are getting is rubbish wet snow mayby an inch and its gone in an hour.
Been years since we got snowed in.
Blooming Obama


It's not bliss, trust me.. it's only bliss when you can regain your composure in public once more. when you can't and you're stuck, it's not anything to want.



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 07:06 AM
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Not everyone gets feverish from being locked together with themselves for long periods of time.

I guess it depends on how comfortable one is in ones own skin, how one handles another 'fever' called boredom.



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 07:37 AM
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Ensure you are unable to leave your place for near 15 years, then you will know what boredom is.

take up knitting perhaps.



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 09:17 AM
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a reply to: blend57


Great thread! I used to live in the outskirts of town (Rockford,ILL) we were in a subdivision about 4 miles out of town. It would take sometimes up to a week to get us dug out. Since town was more important we had to wait for our roads to be cleared, until the city was up and running again first.


I loved it, it was fun being snowed in, there was excitement the day before a bad storm was coming. Getting all of our food, and supplies knowing that we would have to hunker down for a few days....The Blizzard Of 1978 was one I wont forget. We had like 4 feet of snow and it lasted about 2 days. We had to keep our doors cleared, so that we could open them and not have the snow block us and trap us in.


Now had we lost electricity that would have been awful. Luckily all of our power lines were underground, so we did not lose power.








posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 01:15 PM
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a reply to: blend57

"Cabin fever" is like jazz, if you have to ask, you'll never know!

One thing you didn't mention is all the alcohol abuse that it entails in the northern countries around the world. In modern times, you can tack on other illicit substances too.

Part of it sociological. Part is psychological. Humans need interaction and novelty. Which is why solitary confinement seems to work so well. Back in the day, being expelled from the group was enough of a shock. Socrates refused to pay the fine levied against him, he also refused to leave Athens, so, following the law of Athens, he drank the hemlock. Try taking a smart phone from a teenager! Being shut in a confined space for days is similar.

As an aside, I have tried to read James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, a couple times now. And failed miserably! My college professor said she knew one person who read it while snowed in for the winter at their cabin! Twice! How is that for staving off cabin fever?!

You can go outdoors if you wanted to! I see all these people complaining at the Olympics that it is too cold for the Olympics.. pssttt! I learned how to snowboard at -10 °F, if I can do that, you can go outside. Dress in layers, enjoy the calmness and quiet. At least that is what we tell people new to Alaska... find an outdoor activity. Hmmm, maybe that is why I am always being asked by friends to go to the movies! An indoor social activity we can all share!

SAD may have something to do with it. The long winter nights tend to bum people out. Maybe that is why I like the winter solstice so much!

Up north, we have concerts, dances, dog races, beer festivals, etc., to stave off the dreaded cabin fever. Nothing better than gathering in a concert hall to hear some New Orleans jazz and celebrate Mardi Gras in the middle of winter!

Happy Fat Tuesday from the Last Frontier!



posted on Feb, 12 2018 @ 01:55 PM
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originally posted by: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
a reply to: blend57

One thing you didn't mention is all the alcohol abuse that it entails in the northern countries around the world. In modern times, you can tack on other illicit substances too.

You can go outdoors if you wanted to! I see all these people complaining at the Olympics that it is too cold for the Olympics.. pssttt! I learned how to snowboard at -10 °F, if I can do that, you can go outside. Dress in layers, enjoy the calmness and quiet. At least that is what we tell people new to Alaska... find an outdoor activity. Hmmm, maybe that is why I am always being asked by friends to go to the movies! An indoor social activity we can all share!

SAD may have something to do with it. The long winter nights tend to bum people out. Maybe that is why I like the winter solstice so much!

Up north, we have concerts, dances, dog races, beer festivals, etc., to stave off the dreaded cabin fever. Nothing better than gathering in a concert hall to hear some New Orleans jazz and celebrate Mardi Gras in the middle of winter!

Happy Fat Tuesday from the Last Frontier!


Happy Fat Tuesday to you as well! I read that Alaska has a lot going on in the winter to beat the winter blues or cabin fever. Which is great! Also, I didn't mention the alcohol, so thank you for mentioning it.

Hmmm...going outdoors . Yep, I could. Some people are snow bunnies and some people are beach bunnies. I think I'm somewhere in between honestly. Although a friend keeps telling me it's not about the cold, it's about your gear. So, next year I'll be buying better gear I guess, put his theory to the test.



originally posted by: kurthall
a reply to: blend57

I used to live in the outskirts of town (Rockford,ILL) we were in a subdivision about 4 miles out of town. It would take sometimes up to a week to get us dug out. Since town was more important we had to wait for our roads to be cleared, until the city was up and running again first.


I loved it, it was fun being snowed in, there was excitement the day before a bad storm was coming. Getting all of our food, and supplies knowing that we would have to hunker down for a few days....The Blizzard Of 1978 was one I wont forget. We had like 4 feet of snow and it lasted about 2 days. We had to keep our doors cleared, so that we could open them and not have the snow block us and trap us in.


Now had we lost electricity that would have been awful. Luckily all of our power lines were underground, so we did not lose power.


It's funny how there is always a run for bread and milk on the day before a storm...lol. And I don't mind being snowed in for a couple days, just when you get to the point where you are going "stir crazy" as another member mentioned, that's when it bothers me a bit.

On the plus side, the snow is beautiful to look at, the cardinals are easy to spot in the trees, the whole world seems much more peaceful and serene. And, the air smells sooo much better! I didn't know that snow acted like a natural air purifier. Oh, and the night sky! It is beautiful after a blizzard/snowstorm!

So, I don't have cabin fever yet I don't think. Just a bit antsy and ready for the "spring thaw". It seems as though it takes awhile to get cabin fever though. I've been inside for a couple of days versus, what sounds like, months and weeks of isolation in order to see anything like cabin fever develop.

Thanks to everyone who replied!

blend



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 09:30 AM
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a reply to: blend57
Please don't go insane and write all over your walls "all work and no play makes blend a dull tinfoilhatter"...

I think it originated with ship cabins, and the start of mutinies. Basically if a ship was delayed or lost in a storm, supplies could be low, people drink saltwater in desperation, huddled in a cramped quarters leads to conflict. If you've ever spent a weekend camping with your best friends, they invariably start to piss you off with their habits...

It works with others or by yourself. Doing or seeing the same thing endlessly causes insanity. There is a form of snow blindness just caused by the same terrain that all looks the same.

It's not a psychological disorder because it's more of a cause than a disorder. It causes various co-morbid things, I dont think any are specific to just that scenario though. I forget how many years ago but there was a (Canadian I think) study that demonstrated solitary confinement could create worse pain than actual physical torture, and then the guy who did a study started campaigning against it in prisons...




Although a friend keeps telling me it's not about the cold, it's about your gear.

Ingen dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær!



posted on Feb, 13 2018 @ 10:12 PM
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Nice; research and subject...

I am a hermit for the most part but it is voluntary... living simply with the least complication to existence. Of course I am sure settlers not used to self-sustenance or something to break up the monotony were in a tough spot the same as the others even when around others but yet in a similar circumstance... like you can only hear a persons same stories so many times... and when alone that includes your own... so the mind invents stuff like the gansfield effect from a ton of snow and everything being white also accomplished with a ping pong ball cut in half and placed over the eyes...

I do the hermit thing purposefully, living and working as a sort of art project and Buddhist practice at the same time; close to four years now... the practice which was not available to the settlers, inmates etc. whats the real difference when isolated even if it is just "feeling" that way?

But in practice no matter what arises it passes... as much as people dislike change? That change is the hope for many when feeling stuck in situations... in a this too shall pass affirmation. Since mine is by choice the arising and passing is the norm and no matter what arises and passes I don't cling... I share some experience from this continuous meditation from time to time... but they are no more real than a dream; whatever it is as real or not isn't really the point it is the letting it go just as easily as it arose however is the point.

When that is mastered then all concepts fall away and instead of stuck in concepts etc as a mental prison one cannot escape? Mental silence arises a profound mental silence... nothing to stir even there. From such a great freedom arises, whatever arises that one used to attach too is seen as the prison not the freedom. I know quite a few would like to be able to do the same; quit running away from themselves beating that pesky thing of a mind with a bat of distraction... because it's contents make them restless and discontent so they seek out even more to fill it with... as if the illness is the cure lol. Of course meditation is that retreat for many that do the practice of stopping the running chasing the distraction so that they can come to that peace.

Of course they are going to face every demon etc imaginable in the process, and this is why many get too a point and then stop or run away back to the distractions... lol failing to see the distractions demons gods etc are no different than the distractions one stopped and ran off to embrace yet again... see still attached.

Keep going and all of that empties out cup still remains, seeing still occurs, hearing still occurs, smell and taste still occurs, touch still occurs... but no mental dialog in relation to them as a feedback loop occurs... it simply stops and so does the suffering... yeah you'll still stub a toe, cut a finger etc. but thats all it is it isn't inflated with all of the rest as it used to be or blown out of proportion... as you dont think about it... the sensation ceases to even be though of as pain as that has been picked apart over time pain is the throbbing, dullness, etc and those concepts also disappear I mean hey they may be present but are lost in where ever awareness may happen to be... not placed in the mental realm of toe etc one continues on as if it never arose cup filled for an instant and then emptied right back out.

As that suffering that used to be there fades further and further into past as an experience; it too becomes forgotten and joy arises in it's place and it's such a simple joy... just seeing itself becomes the joy, as there is nothing chained to seeing as a function in consciousness to bring a whole assortment with it like it once used too...

It has been said; no matter where one goes you'll carry all of that with you one calls a self...

First one sees the impermanence, of all arising in mind hunger killed with food or as external phenomena snow killed with the spring thaw... the thought one has attached to hunger and snow is just as impermanent and not self it is just arising and passing concepts attached too and seeing that attachment whether seen as good or bad or even neutral brings all the suffering with it and the detachment well form will still be there no matter what one thinks about it or doesn't so seeing that clearly the mind just stops knowing a thought cannot accomplish anything but thought... once one has done dishes one knows how... you dont need to teach yourself again so no need to think about it and of course no need to run away to the bahamas in phantasy or past in memory nor even the future as the future is the hand making a circle on the plate... and right there is where reality is taking place... no where else.

When seen and experienced as that over much time and practice thats all everything is exactly what it appears as no guessing, no ulterior motives no plotting and planning and everything becomes effortless... and what gets called right action finally starts to take place as awareness needs to hold the plate do circles with the other hand as the eye watches on simply seeing... of course one can get really really absorbed in such a thing... and that is were artisanal quality starts arising as ones work. Of course trying to do that at ones work they may get yelled at as being too slow like every single carrot cut does not need to be precisely a quarter of an inch... so yes there is a time and a place for and where such is appreciated.



Well, that's been my experience... living in a situation that would give people cabin fever and has but; no cabin fever.



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