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Out From Under My Rock

It might be time for me to emerge from whatever rock that was my host rock for the past few weeks, months, whatever… as is my wont and practice, I sheepishly lift the rock, peek both ways, and tentatively shuffle out. “Oh yeah, it is pretty safe out here.”

Under the rock is too often my refuge. Granted, I have had stuff going on. Who doesn’t? I look around and see people with kids, a kickass business, speaking engagements, podcasts, and any number of ventures, activities, and stuff going on… and they are still “out there” engaging in life-type stuff and making things happen.

As a tried-and-true anti-multitasker, I do not covet their busy-ness, as I rarely know what to do first. I will always chase down the urgent and flip off the important. I will do the least important first. I will never eat the frogs, ok if I have to, I will gulp them down right at the last minute and gag myself silly after I have choked them down. (For those of you who don’t know when I use certain obscure references “Eat the Frog” was a mantra and philosophy from a 20 years ago that emphasized doing the hardest, most complicated and difficult thing first, instead of pushing it away in favor of easier things.) At the risk of mixing metaphors, I am not a fan of eating amphibians, reptiles, or even those food groups that could fall into either category.

And I will avoid. I can be lazy. I relish living inside my own head. This is not healthy or in any way helpful for me.

I guess I am calling myself out here. If you see it as a cry for help, it might be that too. When your writing, thinking, and engagement style is shoot from the hip, off the cuff, or straight out the brain without stopping at the filter, this is what you get.

It’s easy to sit back and say, “I have writer’s block.” Or how about “My muse is out of town this week.” Or the “Inspiration isn’t coming my way.” For me, those are all a load of crap. I know what it is. It’s laziness. It’s choosing not to do the hard thing by sitting at my keyboard for an hour or so a week and peck out something to give back to the universe. I give in to that urge to be a spectator and throw off some well-timed cheers as the Parade of Life goes by.

Besides an apology, I want to ask a favor. Help me out. Unless you’re ok with my silence. If you are, I am ok with you staying silent about my silence. But if you want to hear from me more often than I allow myself – just throw a rock my way and tape a note to it – “Time’s up Tom, nobody cares about your brooding and rumination.” Maybe a shorter version could be “Hello?”

We moved three years ago in the summer of 2018 – I went silent. My mother-in-law died at the end of November; I went silent again. We helped my parents move in April (and I can’t begin to tell you what a fun-filled love fest that was…) and I thought that silence was the best method to deal with that. When I go silent, all of my focus and attention turn inward. That’s not helpful. It’s not useful, it’s not any fun and it doesn’t move the needle for me finding clarity on any of the things that I am brooding about.

All of us are a whole big bunch smarter than any one of us. How would I like it y’all crawled under a rock when you had stuff? I wouldn’t – so if it’s not ok for you, it’s not ok for me. It’s cold and cramped under those rocks anyway, so don’t let me hide there, anymore. It’s my intention to stay and hang with you. I look forward to more mingling and engagement. I promise. I don’t want y’all to start throwing rocks at my rock. It’s better out in the sunshine and fresh air. With you.

Tom Dietzler
Tom Dietzler
Lifelong, proud somewhat strident Wisconsinite, I love my state and love to sing its praises. A bon vivant and raconteur, lover of history, literature and good conversations. Laughter and music are salves that I frequently am applying to my soul. I have spent time (too much) in manufacturing and printing and have found great joy in my current position as director of operations at a large church in the same area where I grew up. Husband to Rhonda and father of two adult children Melanie and Zack, I’m the constant companion of my five-year-old Lab, Oliver, who is my muse to a lot of my stories. I’m a fan of deep conversation and my interests are in learning and gaining wisdom, so in the last few years I have become and less politically vocal, and hopefully more respectful and open-minded. Rhonda and I sold our home in 2018, bought a condo and have traveled a bit more, golfed a bit more and are enjoying life a bit more. If you take the time to get to know me, prepare yourself for an invite to the 30th state to join the union, a gem located in the upper Midwest, full of beautiful scenery formed by the glaciers, with lots of lakes and trees and gorgeous scenery, and the nicest people that you’d ever want to meet.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Tom, this is awesome. Just reading it sends your feelings and experiences into harsh reality. But, my friends, you have emerged the wiser and have spread worthy advice, just through describing your situations, and your release from under the rocks.

    You will have helped any folk experience a similar period in their lives.

    My compliments to you, Tom

  2. Ali, I loved what you said about ventilating our brains… that is so concise and so well expressed! I am so grateful for your comments, and I am glad that you found value in my mental meanderings. Closed doors do foster the growth of molds, another really good way to look at this. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and participate. I look forward to learning more from you!

  3. Mega bytes of unpublished introspective words hide in dusty corners of my hard-drive (and the only reason it is only megabytes is that words don’t take up much space compared to pictures. ) Some of that introspection led to places I really don’t want to go. And some led out into the light again.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that words don’t need to be publishable to have value if they stimulate your search for answers. Obviously, when they become the above, they must reach the wider world.

    Tom, I can relate. And welcome you back.

    • I told someone else, Kimberly Davis, I believe that too often I choose to curate in my brain instead of creating on a page. Too much curation just gets lost as a jumble of thoughts, if I was at least journaling or something of the nature, some of the jumble might be preserved and converted into something less useless… potentially. Introspection is not a bad thing, but everything in moderation, correct? Thank you for your kind words, and I agree with much of what you say. Not every thought needs to be ejected out into the ether. We have filters for a reason… Discretion and discernment are not overrated…

      • Much good can be said about curating in your head. I have two comments. One is that your brain doesn’t know what is a story you tell yourself and what is real. Stories can become your truth.
        The other is that if you put it out on a piece of paper – and old-fashioned pencil and paper may be even more effective than the keyboard – you don’t only activate your storytelling machine, you have a lot of other brain geography working overtime as well. That is when your subconscious starts paying attention, digs deep, and new insights may emerge while you are in the shower.

  4. Thank you to Dennis for this awesome platform peopled with some of the best peeps in the world. In retrospect, I see this post as a “Gee look at me, I’m going through stuff…” but my friends always see the best in me. I am beyond able to express my gratitude for being able to air out my brain here, to say what sits on my heart and have it be so thoroughly and completely embraced and affirmed. Thank you, again, Dennis, and I deeply appreciate the feedback and love being poured upon me from all corners…

  5. Hey Tom…. so glad to see you! As I read this piece I thought to myself, “Wow… I know exactly how he feels!” I’ve been there and getting stuck in my own head is usually okay in small doses. Beyond that, it gets depressing — and lonely — and dangerous for me. I’m with Kimberly when she says the world needs more Tom Diezler. I’m grateful for your honesty and the way you reached out and grabbed my sleeve today. Thanks for showing up in my corner of the world today.

    • Melissa, what you refer to is some of the awesome beauty that Dennis has created with this community. So often we get to read someone else’s thoughts and think “That’s what I was just thinking about…” or “I wish I had said that…” and we all gain so much by sharing our thoughts and perspectives. Getting stuck in one’s head can happen to anyone, it’s when we stay there that the ick can really pile up. I will be happy to show up in your world any day… I am glad that I had something of value to contribute to your day, you do that so often in so many ways for so many of us.

  6. I so love you and your raw honesty, Tom. I tend to hide under rocks too, so I get it. Although, sometimes, it’s not hiding, sometimes it’s rejuvenating – it’s coming back to myself. It’s learning to listen to my own voice. But it always, always, always takes telling myself the truth about why I’m pulling back and getting quiet. Sometimes I confuse the two and stay hidden for far too long or forget that there’s a a there-there out there. One of the great gifts of this community and the NVL community is we have people who pop into our lives to check in on us, and give us a little wake-up call. You do that for me often, even if you don’t realize it. I think some of this goes with the deeply sensitive/deep thinking territory. Our gifts are our Achilles heel. You don’t meet many uber-extroverted writers for a reason – it’s a solitary, in-your-head kind of thing. It’s not letting ourselves stay in our heads where we can get lost in the dark, that’s the trick. So, thank you for being the sunshine that pulls me out and please let me be yours. Because my world needs more Tom Diezler.
    By the way, frogs taste like chicken. Totally! You wouldn’t know the difference if someone didn’t tell you (there was a restaurant in Bozeman, MT where I tried frog’s legs when I was a kid because I thought it sounded exotic!). So eat the damned frog! xoxoxoxo

    • Kimberly, such warmth and joy at reading your response… I knew that you would roll this into a huge hug of empathy and affirmation – and I so love your perspective about gifts being Achilles Heels, there is so much truth to that. Part of my rumination does lie in perfectionism, as I feel like whatever I am writing could use more research, or review or editing or something… I’m seeing that perfectionism is something that I get from my mom, who in this stage of her life, with a serious medical condition is not a very good patient. She is such a perfectionist, that I really believe that she feels if she can’t have perfect health, which she has been blessed with for almost all of her 92 years, that she doesn’t want to be bothered with any of it, and she just wants to close her eyes and be done with it all. That makes for some unusual challenges as for her care and treatment… anyway, it’s the furthest extension of what perfectionism can be like.

      I know that frog legs can be good, and I have eaten them. The original context of “Eat the Frog” is, of course, to wolf the whole frog down, raw… and I can’t think of anything less enjoyable. I love that your world needs more of me, and I am going to make it a point to provide more of me. I want to push myself to create more, and curate less… if that makes any sense. I stew things in my brain for so long that it’s almost stifling. In my quest to be a healthier me, I have learned a lot, and have found some keys that I think will help me with writing my book. I’m excited, and I think that this is going to be a great thing. My midwestern sense of modesty tells me that I shouldn’t puff up about certain things, but some of that isn’t helpful if it keeps my light under a basket, yes?

      Your example and creation of the Brave Leadership community causes me so many thought massaging moments, and unless I crystallize them into words, they just stay thoughts. Thank you so much for your support and generous cheerleading… you are one of the goodest peeps around… even if you did bale on us to another part of the continent.

  7. “And I will avoid. I can be lazy. I relish living inside my own head. This is not healthy or in any way helpful for me”
    When I go silent, all of my focus and attention turn inward. That’s not helpful. It’s not useful, it’s not any fun and it doesn’t move the needle for me finding clarity on any of the things that I am brooding about.
    .
    Tom- reading your post and the above quotes extracted from it ended up with me having two mised feelings.
    The fist feeling is that if silence brings out this juicy post from you then it is worthy for the readers.
    The second feeling is that is that I agree with you in saying this is not good for you. Unfortunately, I agree with you. I expressed in my post of today on Intellectual Molds” that we need to open ourselves to the world to ventilate our brains with fresh ideas. Closed doors allow for molds to grow and prosper. And so are heads that stay with selves for prolonged periods of time.

    I enjoyed reading your post and cared to share it with the world.

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