Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
Linda Downing

Fall back on strength to spring forward

Published:   |   Updated: May 3, 2013 at 09:11 AM

Fall back. Getting an extra hour's sleep this weekend may be all the excitement needed after election season. Fall back to glean earlier light, more hours in the day. Seeking answers, not alibis, for personal and national problems, requires reflection.

Fall back. David A. Kessler calls it a "fighting back" stance. The author of "The End of Overeating" says the answer to "conditioned hypereating" lies in the brain. Sugar, fat, and salt give it temporary pleasure, but over-satiation never satisfies. Lasting help lies in re-working our minds, or as Kessler puts it, "laying down new neural circuitry."

Fall back. That lines up with biblical advice to "transform" by the "renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). What the conscious mind absorbs, the subconscious may use for either life-destroying or life-saving purposes later on.

Fall back. The mind, body, spirit connection is acknowledged by medical science. For the last 15 years many medical schools and hospitals have introduced monthly book clubs to discuss medical-themed literature. Patient empathy lies behind the humanities-in-medicine movement. Reading Tolstoy's novel, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," for example, personalizes the stages of dying 100 years before Kubler-Ross gave them names.

Fall back. Empathy wins over sympathy in life's race. Sympathy brings tears, but empathy holds the attention long enough to feel and find a way through. Without it, we fall back and never spring forward. The latest findings on attention span indicate trouble. Ever-changing, swift-moving technology has reduced it to 15 seconds. Because of this, TV commercials and other media must change strategies or perish.

No time to fall back? We find time to formulate logic-defying excuses stranger than fiction. In Sept. 2010, Woody Smith, a Kentucky man, blamed caffeine overload from sodas, energy drinks, and diet pills for his confession of strangling his wife. The jury didn't buy it and found him guilty of murder.

The American Civil Liberties Union glorifies rationalizations far too often. In Oct. 2010 it filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 14-year-old student suspended for wearing a nose piercing. To get around the violation of the North Carolina school's dress code, the suit alleges the piercing is an "article of faith" in the student's religious group, the Church of Body Modification, which uses piercings to channel the divine.

A Brazilian McDonald's manager pinned his 65-pound weight gain on the company, winning $17,500 in his court case. If we can find a way to make everything we put into our mouths responsible for everything that comes out, we can all get rich.

Fall back to regroup for battles ahead. A rest, a think stop, a vision sleep, brings more "daylight" to the soul. Joshua 10 records its hero calling for the sun to stand still. He backed his enemy into the corner, but needed a "light pause" to spring forward.

Fall back. Like saying "no," it can be positive. Experts say the simpler the "no," the less complicated the explanation, the more powerful will be the result. Fall back. Then spring forward and come out fighting. The world needs you.

Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.

Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at


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