Thought for the Day: The Doldrums

Are you feeling low energy, out of sorts, dull, going nowhere? It happens.

Taking a Kundalini class,  swimming in the ocean,  or baking cookies for your neighbors can fix you right up. But in Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth,” a simpler way is also available suggests the watchdog Tock to the boy Milo, for whom everything is a bore.

“’What are you doing here?’ growled the watchdog.

‘Just killing time,’ replied Milo apologetically. ‘You see —

‘KILLING TIME!’ roared the dog—so furiously that his alarm went off. ‘It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it.’ And he shuddered at the thought. ‘Why are you in the Doldrums anyway—don’t you have anywhere to go?’

‘I was on my way to Dictionopolis when I got stuck here,’ explained Milo. ‘Can you help me?’

‘Help you! You must help yourself,’ the dog replied, carefully winding himself with his left hind leg.

The watchdog Tock

The watchdog Tock

Image from  http://www.carlemuseum.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Tollbooth3.jpg

‘I suppose you know why you got stuck.

‘I guess I just wasn’t thinking,’ said Milo.

‘’PRECISELY,’ shouted the dog as his alarm went off again. ‘Now you know what you must do.’

‘I’m afraid I don’t,’ admitted Milo, feeling quite stupid.

‘Well,’ continued the watchdog impatiently, ‘since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.’ And with that he hopped into the car.

‘Do you mind it I get in? I love automobile rides.’

Tock, Humbug, and Milo on the road

Tock, Humbug, and Milo on the road

Image from  http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-Remaster-Butch-Patrick/dp/B004DS9UF6

Milo began to think as hard as he could (which was very difficult, since he wasn’t used to it). He thought of birds that swim and fish that fly. He thought of yesterday’s lunch and tomorrow’s dinner. He thought of words that began with J and numbers that end in 3. And, as he thought, the wheels began to turn.

‘We’re moving, we’re moving,’ he shouted happily.

‘Keep thinking,’ scolded the watchdog.

The little car started to go faster and faster as Milo’s brain whirled with activity, and down the road they went. In a few moments they were out of the Doldrums and back on the main highway. All the colors had returned to their original brightness, and as they raced along the road Milo continued to think of all sorts of things; of the many detours and wrong turns that were so easy to take, of how fine it was to be moving along, and, most of all, of how much could be accomplished with just a little thought. And the dog, his nose in the wind, just sat back, watchfully ticking.” (p. 30-31).

Get thinking; you too will soon be out of the doldrums.

Aloha, Renée

P.S. This “children’s” book is filled with other good suggestions.  And reading is another great way to get out of the doldrums.

Feature image: http://www.booksofwondershop.com/images/products/detail/CoverCutOut.png

 

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

10 responses to “Thought for the Day: The Doldrums”

  1. Rosita says :

    Hi! I never heard of “The Doldrums”, but I’m still living and learning! Hahaha I don’t think that death’s an end, because, as I said in another post, I believe in reincarnation. I think it’s pretty comforting, because we’re happy to know that we can meet those who we love, in a next life. And I also believe in karma and that dogs can guide good persons to the pearly gates of Heaven. I’m catholic, but I have some Hindu (not the Indian Hinduism, but the Balinese one) traits, so, I’ll never mistreat any animal, specially a dog ☺️ I learned about compassion with a dog, when my beloved Blackie died, wrapped on a white sarong, due to veterinary negligence. My dogs are the family who I chosen. I also admire cats by their independence and I think that they’re mysterious. The most important values I don’t learned with people, but yes with animals, because they’re too disinterested and pure of heart. I believe that God created us to be intelligent and use our intelligence ONLY for good things and be pure of heart, like our animals comrades. Animals and humans are life partners. I also would like to become an infectious disease doctor and travel around the world. But I would avoid countries in war or extreme misery, because these things make me very sad 😦 I hate violence and I think that we should give a chance to peace. I would like to live in any Caribbean country, with sun, paradisiacal beaches and a good quality of life 😉 #paradise PS: I never visited Panama, but I heard that’s pretty idyllic and the capital, Panama’s City, is well-developed. You may also like to visit San Blas, a paradisiacal archipelago in Panama coast, where live an indigenous tribe called Guna Yala 🙂 one day I’ll visit Central America. And I’ll found a no-kill animal shelter with a beautiful seaside view, in one Caribbean country, maybe Dominican Republic or Turks and Caicos or another of those great places, because if I can’t make the whole world a paradise for all animals, I can make for some and other persons will see the good example and repeat it and our world will be a better place for all of us 🙂 I dream with the day that humans and animals will share of the same respect. And don’t forget to visit the archipelago of San Blas when you visit Panama! Namaste and keep with God

  2. Rosita says :

    Hi. How’s Hawaii climate in July? I presume that’s pretty hot, because it’s the summer month on USA. Is it?

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: It’s hot in the summer – an average daytime temperature of about 85 degrees (C 29) in the summer and about 79 (C 26) in the winter. The weather doesn’t change very much. We have our windows open right now – on a winter night in December. What’s the temperature range for Brazil? iHope all is well with you. Aloha

      • Rosita says :

        Hi! Here in Brazil we have lots of distinct temperatures as well as climates. Here in belem, as it’s on amazonic region, it’s pretty hot and humid – like Asian southwest -, and I compare it with Bali island 😉 but we have since tropical beaches to snow. Yes, here on Brazil can snow! Although it only occurs on south and southwest of contry, it’s OK, but it makes some areas of this vast country really cold. And another curiosity about Brazilian climate’s that when it’s summer on Brazilian southwest (November to February), here on north of the country’s raining a lot, although on my city’s never cold as in the south of country, thankfully. We don’t can say nothing about Brazilian climate, because it have an infinite variety of climates, from amazonic rainforest of north to the cold pampas of south.

  3. Rosita says :

    Hi, my dear. I have an advice to you, and no, it isn’t an advice about my idyllic childhood neither my dreams. It’s a sad advice, about a serious disease who’s spreading a lot here on my city 😦 Here on Brazil we have a NEW arbovirus (a disease who’s transmitted by mosquitoes), called zika fever. Zika is a funny name for that virus, because here on Brazil it means the same as bad luck. And IS a bad luck catch it, no? Hahaha but the true is that we’re all scared about zika, because it looks like a less aggressive form of dengue, but it have sequels that can be worst than both dengue and chikungunya. Recently, we discovered that zika’s related to babies who born with microcephaly and persons who’re developing a syndrome who causes paralysis. Initially, we think that it was a mild dengue, we never didn’t imagined that it was a too serious disease, and, now, it’s spreading a lot here and we’re concerned with that, although many people here still letting ponded water. Sad. I’m sending you two links, one about the virus who causes that disease and other about the disease itself… You can confer it above.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_virus

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_fever

    It’s pretty utile to yours, specially if yours want to visit Brazil or even because Hawaii is a vulnerable region to it, due to the climate and humidity. Plz keep yourselves protected! Always use mosquito repellent and share the information about this disease with your neighborhood 😉

  4. Rosita says :

    Hi, my dear. I have an advice to you, and no, it isn’t an advice about my idyllic childhood neither my dreams. It’s a sad advice, about a serious disease who’s spreading a lot here on my city 😦 Here on Brazil we have a NEW arbovirus (a disease who’s transmitted by mosquitoes), called zika fever. Zika is a funny name for that virus, because here on Brazil it means the same as bad luck. And IS a bad luck catch it, no? Hahaha but the true is that we’re all scared about zika, because it looks like a less aggressive form of dengue, but it have sequels that can be worst than both dengue and chikungunya. Recently, we discovered that zika’s related to babies who born with microcephaly and persons who’re developing a syndrome who causes paralysis. Initially, we think that it was a mild dengue, we never didn’t imagined that it was a too serious disease, and, now, it’s spreading a lot here and we’re concerned with that, although many people here still letting ponded water. Sad. I’m sending you two links, one about the virus who causes that disease and other about the disease itself… You can confer it above.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_virus

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_fever

    Plz keep yourselves protected against that virus! Always use mosquito repellent and share the information about this disease with your neighborhood 😉

    • reneeriley says :

      Thanks for letting us know, Rosita: Here’s another good reason to keep up our immunity – and keep mosquitoes off ourselves. I hope you and your family are healthy and are building up your immunity. Happy Holidays to you and your family and friends (and dogs). Aloha, Renée

      • Rosita says :

        Own, my friend, I also hope you’re doing it too 🙂 I have a relatively good immunity – this year I didn’t caught so many colds, only twice this year, thank God! 🙏🏼❤️ Cleo’s pretty healthy and Bali too! I’m going spend the New Year’s at Santiago, Chile. I simply love that city! Perhaps due to the kind and laid-back people style, perhaps due to the cozy and natural atmosphere, perhaps due to the (excessively) friendly street dogs who’re saw lounging around us, or perhaps due to all those things! Really, the simply things of life are the best…and true happiness don’t depend of material things neither hedonistic pleasures 😉 it’s a state of spirit, when you’re in peace with yourself and all who’re next to you.

      • reneeriley says :

        Very true, Rosita: Enjoy the holiday and your trip to Santiago. I’m glad you (and the dogs) are health. Aloha

  5. Rosita says :

    Here on Brazil we have a NEW arbovirus (a disease who’s transmitted by mosquitoes), called zika virus. It causes zika fever. Zika is a funny name for that virus, because here on Brazil it means the same as bad luck. And IS a bad luck catch it, no? Hahaha but the true is that we’re all scared about zika, because it looks like a less aggressive form of dengue, but it have sequels that can be worst than both dengue and chikungunya. Recently, we discovered that zika’s related to babies who born with microcephaly and persons who’re developing a syndrome who causes paralysis. Initially, we think that it was a mild dengue, we never didn’t imagined that it was a too serious disease, and, now, it’s spreading a lot here and we’re concerned with that, although many people here still letting ponded water. Sad. I’m sending you two links, one about the virus who causes that disease and other about the disease itself… You can confer it above.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_virus

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:History/Zika_fever

    Plz keep yourselves protected against that virus! Always use mosquito repellent and share the information about this disease with your neighborhood 😉

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