Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.
I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now! How different my whole life would have been.
You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.
I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.
The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.
So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.
Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?
All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.
All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.
There are some things we can’t fix. I have written about this….I know this and yet I don’t want to accept it. My friend is in an untenable position. It is amazing how events can transpire in such a way that there is no way out.
No matter what we do sometimes life boxes us in and there are no good choices. Only ones that bring pain.
Sometimes I wonder why some people seems to have more sadness and challenge in their lives that others. Is it because they deserve it….no, no, no. Sometimes the worst person has the best come to them and the best person gets the worst. We just want to yell at God and say NOT FAIR. But no one ever promised that things would be fair.
For me it seems at least sudden catastrophes can be gotten through. The long term, every single day, on and on things become an impossible burden. It is amazing to me how there are those who cope each day and go on. Think about the ALS patients (Lou Gehrigs Disease). Day after day…on and on.. each one failing a little more. Those that I have known have been amazing. Keeping faith and a positive perspective through it all. How do they do it?
Life is a precious thing and maybe just waking each morning makes it worthwhile. I can see that but what about the person for whom life has no meaning left, no joy? They may not know that dawn comes each day. How do the families face the next day? How do you manage when each day brings no change but only sameness?
The only thing that I know to do is to be there in those times. There is nothing that can fix it but my presence may give some solace. This is what we must do. See around you the people who are in pain…emotional or physical. Reach out to them. Let them know that someone cares. You don’t have to know what to say. Just presence in enough.
Everyone has pain in life. Some immediate, some long lasting. Don’t forget to be there whether supporting them on Word Press or in person. Be there!
In a previous post I mentioned the first car I ever had. My father bought it and I’m sure it must have been a bargain. Just having a car was a thrill…I didn’t care what kind of car. For me any car was a plus.
Fortunately I was young enough (?16,17?) that the problems the car had were like an adventure to me. The car was a Willys Jeepster. It was not new and had some interesting challenges. It would not go over 50 mph unless you were going down a long hill.The seats were bolted to the floor so there was no adjusting them to reach the clutch and change the gears. I used a pillow to reach. There was a starter button in the floor (how many people ever heard of such a thing?). It was a convertible…you pulled the top up and down. It did not have windows…only side curtains. ?Isinglass? Before plastic. (Now you are getting how old I am.) We lived in northern Virginia and it was cold in the winter. There was no heat. My friends and I didn’t care a jot. We had transportation! In the winter we bundled up and sometimes rode with the top down when it was snowing.
The car’s idiosyncrasies gave us an opportunity to meet people. For a while the starter button in the floor did not reach something called the “starter connector” in the engine compartment. There were two options for starting the car. You either had an available person to put a piece of metal between where the starter button was supposed to connect to the starter connector so that it would reach or we pushed the car. Old cars started easily by someone pushing and someone popping the clutch. If we parked the car when in town we usually searched for an end spot so we could jump start the car if needed. We parked on hills when we could as just drifting down a hill would give us enough motion to start the car. We would also get help from people who stopped to help us. We met lots of boys this way.
Once, in heavy traffic, I stopped for a red light. I didn’t realize that when stopping I pulled up on the steering wheel…..it came off in my hand. With great aplomb I pushed it back on and held it that way until getting off the road. There was a bolt that held it on and we managed to fix it.
The car met it’s final demise while we were in downtown Alexandria. We began seeing smoke coming from the front of the car and pulled into the nearest filling station. It was not the radiator but all the wiring in the front was merrily in flames. The station attendant raced out with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. My father retrieved us and the car went “where the lost things go.”
This was life in a different era. It was not dangerous for young girls to wander around town and meet strangers. Most roads had speed limits of 50 mph or less. Looking back it seems it was a kinder era. Maybe not…I may have just imagined it that way. I wish it were so now.
Today my husband and I traveled to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up. As we traveled I notice the number of storage facilities we passed. What is wrong with us? We have so much stuff that it is big business to store it away. Surely this is the height of the ridiculous.
As a society we hoard. There are many stories about hoarders lately and most of us don’t have a house so full that we can’t walk through it. However, maybe we would if we didn’t have it stored away in a facility.
If the “stuff” is not wanted then we need to take it to the Salvation Army. They have the highest rating for actually helping instead of paying CEO’s. There may be people who need it.
I have recently been trying to clean out and pare down. I have way too much in my house. Quite a bit can be classified as trash and should be thrown or recycled. Some of it is going in boxes to take to help others. It is amazing what we can accumulate.
Seeing all of this reminds me that not only is my home in overload but that I can be too. What am I holding on to that I need to let go? So while I am searching through stuff I will also be opening doors in my mind to sweep out what is cluttering my mind.
This is not my story. I heard it at a conference. It was told by Madeleine L’Engle and I never forgot it. I don’t know if it is hers or someone told her. Forgive me if I tread on toes.
There was a family that had a new baby. They also had an older child called Tommy. (not real name). Tommy seemed very attentive to the new baby. After the baby had been put down in bed in the nursery he said to his parents. “I want to see baby!” The parents tried to usher him into the room but he pulled back. “I want to see baby ALONE!” The parents were a little taken aback but reasoned that there was a monitor in the room and they could hear whatever went on. They waited by the monitor. Tommy entered the room and they heard him say to the baby: “Tell me about God, I’m forgetting.”
Many people have posted about this song on Facebook. Many were brought to tears. Memories are still there. People are not forgotten. As long as we remember them they are still there. I wrote about my father recently. He is still in my mind. My mother is always with me. Things don’t just go away. Maybe we will find the “where the lost things go.”
My father was a unique man. I don’t remember ever hearing him say something negative about another person. He always said “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”
He had impeccable timing and always had exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right moment. I never think of what to say until the moment is long gone.
In the 1950’s I had a Willys Jeepster. Not the car you would want to have. It ran when it wanted to. The seats were screwed to the floor and I had to have a pillow to reach the gear shift. I will post more about this car in another blog.
That day my father was riding with me. We were siting at a red light when the car decided to stop running. I was struggling to get it started when the light turned green. I couldn’t move and continued to crank the car and beg it to start.. The man behind me began blowing his horn impatient to move on. After a short while my father got out of the car and walked back to the man’s open window. I could see him speaking but had no idea what he was saying.
He calmly got back into the car …..the horn had stopped. At this moment I managed to get the car running and moved through the intersection. As soon as we were on our way I turned to my father and said: “what did you say to that man?”
He replied: “I told him I would blow his horn if he would start our car.”
Today I saw the new Mary Poppins movie and enjoyed it very much. I read the book as a child (in the deep dark past) and always loved the story. I adored the original film but found this one deeper and more profound. I know that I will watch it again in the future.
I am often caught by phrases spoken in films and in this film it was said “some people think too much.” I suspect that any of us who worry and obsess and have anxiety do this. We think too much.
Thinking too much is definitely what we do when we worry. We lay out every scenario that can possibly take place. I explain to myself that if I encounter one of my scenarios I will be ready to face it. Usually I don’t face any of the things I envision and if I did I would probably not be prepared at all.
This obsessing is a venture into futility. It is a total waste of time, energy and, last but not least, an exercise in chaotic thinking. It leaves me anxious and exhausted.
It has been said that people who do this are smarter than the average. I don’t know if this is true but there are studies with that information. The reason given is that they can come up with more outcomes for any scenario.
If it is true that anxious people are smarter than the average then it is a mixed blessing. I might want to give it up for some peace.