AS A MATTER OF COURSE
AS A MATTER OF COURSE
ANNIE PAYSON CALL
THE aim of this book is to assist towards the removal of nervous
irritants which are not only the cause of much physical disease
but materially interfere with the best possibilities of usefulness
and pleasure in everyday life.
II. PHYSICAL CARE
IV. BRAIN IMPRESSIONS
V. THE TRIVIALITY OF TRIVIALITIES
X. ONE'S SELF
XIII. SENTIMENT VERSUS SENTIMENTALITY
AS A MATTER OF COURSE.
IN climbing a mountain if we know the path and take it as a matter
of course we are free to enjoy the beauties of the surrounding
country. If in the same journey we set a stone in the way and
recognize our ability to step over it we do so at once and save
ourselves from tripping or from useless waste of time and thought as
to how we might best go round it.
There are stones upon stones in every-day life which might be
stepped over with perfect ease but which curiously enough are
considered from all sides and then tripped upon; and the result is a
stubbing of the moral toes and a consequent irritation of the
nervous system. Or if semi-occasionally one of these stones is
stepped over as a matter of course the danger is that attention is
immediately called to the action by admiring friends or by the
person himself in a way so to tickle the nervous system that it
amounts to an irritation and causes him to trip over the next
stone and finally tumble on his nose. Then if he is not wise
enough to pick himself up and walk on with the renewed ability of
stepping over future stones he remains on his nose far longer than
is either necessary or advisable.
These various stones in the way do more towards keeping a nervous
system in a chronic state of irritation than is imagined. They are
what might perhaps be called the outside elements of life. These
once normally faced cease to exist as impediments dwindle away
and finally disappear altogether.
Thus we are enabled to get nearer the kernel and have a growing
realization of life itself.
Civilization may give a man new freedom a freedom beyond any power
of description or conception except to those who achieve it or it
may so bind him body and soul that in moments when he recognizes his
nervous contractions he would willingly sell his hope of immortality
to be a wild horse or tiger for the rest of his days.
These stones in the way are the result of a perversion of
civilization and the cause of much contraction and unnecessary
There is the physical stone. If the health of the body were attended
to as a matter of course as its cleanliness is attended to by those
of us who are more civilized how much easier life might be! Indeed
the various trippings on and endeavors to encircle this physical
stone raise many phantom stones and the severity of the fall is
just as great when one trips over a stone that is not there. Don
Quixote was quite exhausted when he had been fighting the windmills.
One recognizes over and over the truth spoken by the little girl
who when reprimanded by her father for being fretful said: "It
isn't me papa it's that banana."
There is also the over-serious stone; and this so far from being
stepped over or any effort made to encircle it is often raised to
the undue dignity of a throne and not rested upon. It seems to
produce an inability for any sort of recreation and a scorn of the
necessity or the pleasure of being amused. Every one will admit that
recreation is one swing of life's pendulum; and in proportion to the
swing in that direction will be the strength of the swing in the
other direction and vice versa.
One kind of stone which is not the least among the self-made
impediments is the microscopic faculty which most of us possess for
increasing small inoffensive pebbles to good-sized rocks. A quiet
insistence on seeing these pebbles in their natural size would
reduce them shortly to a pile of sand which might be easily smoothed
to a level and add to the comfort of the path. Moods are stones
which not only may be stepped over but kicked right out of the path
with a good bold stroke. And the stones of intolerance may be
replaced by an open sympathy--an ability to take the other's point
of view--which will bring flowers in the path instead.
In dealing with ourselves and others there are stones innumerable
if one chooses to regard them and a steadily decreasing number as