Our Cookie Cutter Society

On the drive into Twin Falls yesterday, my mind was at rest, simply taking in all the images that passed my window.

As I live 5 miles away in Kimberly, the first few miles we passed were lush with crops- corn, potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa and newly harvested wheat and oat fields. Between the fielids were homes, some with horses in corrals and RVs in the driveways.

Soon the view changed. As we entered the outskirts of TF, businesses began to pop up. Farm equipment and truck sales lots were prominate here with related shops interspersed between them.

We passed the Chobani plant, the largest yoghurt producer in the world.

Soon the view changed to a mix of independent businesses among neat, landscaped neighborhoods and schools. One of the first things I noticed about Twin Falls was the amount and variety of planted trees.

Then came the dedicated commercial area, packed with big box stores, chain gas stations and fast food places, car sales and cell phone stores.

As I awaited my appointment at the modern St Luke’s Magic Valley Hospital and Medical Center, all of these images and impressions began to form a conclusion in my mind.

While Twin Falls was unique in many ways; the area was truly blessed by it’s agricultural economy with abundance and a 3% unemployment rate, it is just like every other American city in many ways. I have noticed there are 3 ways that are the most prominent.

The first is that 98% of every new or fairly new vehicle on the road is painted one of 5 colors, red, white, blue, black, or gray, with a few gold ones thrown in. This is due to the fact that this is all most new car dealers carry, and to the economic abundance of the area.

The second is the sheer volume of fast food franchises, and the third and most disturbing is the rarity of seeing someone who isn’t staring at or talking into a cell phone.

“…mindfulness, is actually a practice rather than merely a good idea or a clever clinical technique.

It is thousands of years old. It’s essence, being about attention and awareness, is universal.”

Jon Sabot Zinn , in the introduction to “Mindfulness, finding peace in a frantic world” by Mark Williams and Danny Perman.

I have told others “I never get bored” most of my life, when in actuality what I do is divert my attention to one or more of my many interests. This may be responding to emails, reading on Kindle or a printed book, watching a movie or TV show while knitting, checking my to-do list items off or creating new ones, etc.

On the outside, it may appear that I’ve conquered my lifelong anxiety, but nothing could be further from the truth. When I took an honest inventory of my thoughts and behavior, I was stunned to discover how many of these were rooted in anxiety.

In the first chapter of “Mindfulness”, these is an exerpt on performing a “one minute meditation”. Surely I could quiet my thoughts that long.

Mindfulness, I realize, must be practiced on a regular basis. You must desire the peace and clarity it brings. But once you experience it, you won’t be satisfied with anything less.

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