System Failure

note: this post has nothing to do with postive, happy things. i’m in a dark place today. I thought about NOT posting this here, to just write it down on some sheet of paper to be tossed or tucked away. you know, the old ‘this isn’t very upbeat and positive so why bother putting it on the blog’ internal debate. but you know what else? If I only write happy go lucky things and product reviews, then I am not representing my true self. yes, yes, there are certain things that i WON’T write about, but this? bah. small potatoes….**

The American Thoracic Society defines Multiple System Organ Failure as: “when more than one organ of the body stops working normally. Since each organ of the body has its own important purpose to keep us well, the more organs that don’t work properly, the less likely it is that a patient will get better from a critical illness. Organs can stop working, or “fail,” for a number of different reasons. Some common reasons that cause more than one organ at a time to fail are serious infections, low blood pressure (called “shock”) and serious injuries (called “trauma”). In general, the chance of a patient dying in the hospital increases each day that organs don’t improve functioning. So, for example, patients with 3 failed organs for more than 3 days are very unlikely to survive.”

It can happen slowly, one organ system at a time, or suddenly, due to trauma or sudden illness. Either way, the outcome is grim. Reminds me of the boiling frog (frog boiling?) story:
If you drop a live frog into a pot of boiling water, he tries frantically to get out of the water before he is cooked to death.
If you drop a live frog into a pot of warm water, he thinks nothing of it. As you slowly turn up the heat, he simply adjusts to the warmer temperature, then thinks nothing of it. Eventually the water reaches a boiling point, and the frog dies (yes, yes, possibly BEFORE the boiling point).
In the second scenario, the frog is put through extremes, but since they happen gradually he simply makes adjustments as to what is acceptable; eventually dies anyway.

Jump. Don’t be the second frog.

As I get older, I am realizing that there are several things (systems, if you will) in life that help me keep my shit together. Family, work, my health, friends, music, and nature to name a few. In the rare occasion that they are all functioning well at the same time (to my standards, at least), all is ‘ok’ in my world. If one or two are out of wack, I notice, but can keep going just like the second frog. If one or more are suddenly not well, then I notice right away and feel like I am the boiling frog.
I am fortunate to be in a place where tragedies are minimal, and am more often in the second frog situation than in the first frog situation. Thing is, I DON’T LIKE IT, and sometimes realize TOO LATE and nearly boil to death. In the past I have tried to simply adapt to the system failures, to decide that it is ‘ok’ that things are going wrong, to become comfortable with the failing system, and to try to continue on without it.
To mix analogies here, I NO LONGER WANT TO BE ‘OK’ WITH THE INCREASING TEMPERATURES! Enough is enough. Please turn down the heat, at least a little, won’t you PLEASE? Stop trying to boil me. Please let my systems function well together, that I might function well.

Of course, I say these things unto myself, for I am in control of my stovetop and my systems. Right?

What about you? Do you think that you function better when all systems are working together, or at least functioning at their peak? How do you hold your shit together? I could use some pointers. Thanks.


  1. I hold my shit together by picking and choosing my battles and stepping away to look at the big picture; realizing there are some things I have no control over and have to let go. To help manage the stress, I’ve begun practicing yoga and meditating. I can’t hold a balance pose if I’m my head is spinning with something about my kids and with meditation, it’s about letting those thoughts come and go. Deepak Chopra has a free 21 day guided meditation going on right now. Each day a new meditation is emailed to you to do when you want and it’s about 20 min long. It just started Monday and the meditations are accessible for a week. I sit in bed and listen to the meditation on my phone to start my day. Here’s a link

    Good luck!

    • I agree with Kelly. Geno, you really just need to step back and look at the big picture. If you have the love of your family and everyone is healthy is there really much more to ask for? I hope it doesn’t take someone close to you to get sick to realize this. Listen to me, can you tell I’ve been watching those darn Hallmark Channel movies? I have a few friends fighting for their life and when I feel like I’m frog #2 (mind you I’ve never thought of it this way) I try to put things in perspective. So what if S isn’t following the path I’ve paved for her. It’s ok to take your own path as long as it gets you to where you want to where you need to go. Just don’t let others lead you down the wrong path.
      I hope things are beginning to look up in your world.

  2. “Buddha is our inherent nature—our buddha nature—and what that means is that if you’re going to grow up fully, the way that it happens is that you begin to connect with the intelligence that you already have. It’s not like some intelligence that’s going to be transplanted into you. If you’re going to be fully mature, you will no longer be imprisoned in the childhood feeling that you always need to protect yourself or shield yourself because things are too harsh. If you’re going to be a grown-up—which I would define as being completely at home in your world no matter how difficult the situation—it’s because you will allow something that’s already in you to be nurtured. You allow it to grow, you allow it to come out, instead of all the time shielding it and protecting it and keeping it buried. Someone once told me, “When you feel afraid, that’s ‘fearful buddha.’” That could be applied to whatever you feel. Maybe anger is your thing. You just go out of control and you see red, and the next thing you know you’re yelling or throwing something or hitting someone. At that time, begin to accept the fact that that’s “enraged buddha.” If you feel jealous, that’s “jealous buddha.” If you have indigestion, that’s “buddha with heartburn.” If you’re happy, “happy buddha”; if bored, “bored buddha.” In other words, anything that you can experience or think is worthy of compassion; anything you could think or feel is worthy of appreciation.”
    ― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

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