There are so many things in the world today to worry about. Instead of becoming more reasonable and moderate we seem to be radically divided. There is no middle ground any more. Are there any moderates like me any more? Most people cannot discuss politics or religion without setting themselves in concrete. They are even unable to hold a discussion without anger. I remember a line from the movie 1776 (I think said by Stephen Hopkins in the film) “I have never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. .” I agree with him.
It seems that part of this is the idea that our language has to be screened so that no one is offended. I’m not sure that we can express ourselves without using language that is clear and shows our thoughts. I haven’t explained this well but I am sure that everyone understands. Where are we headed with all of this? It seems that with language we want to create a homogeneous language but it is okay for us to be totally divided. Makes no sense.
I guess I will always find something that concerns me and has me worrying about the world my grandchildren will have.
I am continuing with meditation and prayer and will begin to add more time. I don’t want to live lost in a dark place with anxiety ruling my life.
This week the news (as usual) is alarming. I have been thinking about those Islamic radicals who are living in so many western style countries and I have been concerned about what I am beginning to see as a pattern. I am someone who tends to believe the best of people and I don’t like having to think otherwise. When I consider how the Nazi regime managed to change the moral compass of a nation it is easy to see that it could be done again. For me, it brings to mind a poem by a poet know for his limericks. That poet is Ogden Nash. Many of his poems are lighthearted and just fun but there are quite a few that force us to confront uncomfortable issues. This poem was written in 1938 just before the war. The insight it provides about how to change ideas and ethics is frightening. When I see radical Muslims demanding Sharia Law and eroding the legal systems of my world I can’t not be scared. Eroding away inch by inch is easier than going to war. Here is the poem for your contemplation.
The Japanese (1938)
How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says, “Excuse it, please.”
He climbs into his neighbor’s garden,
And smiles, and says, “I beg your pardon”;
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;
He grins, and bows a friendly bow;
“So sorry, this my garden now.”
Except for the above anxiety is momentarily at rest. The trigger has (for now) sent it away. That doesn’t mean that it won’t arise another time. I am struggling to continue my plans for change. When the fear is past it is so easy to slip back into complacency. For those of us who have God in our lives it is typical to let our connection fade when it is not needed. Discipline is so difficult. I will continue to persevere no matter how difficult. I am determined not to let myself back up now.
What started this journey? It wasn’t just the issue that headed me into worry and anxiety. In January of this year the job that I held for 20 years was pulled out from under me. The circumstances don’t really matter. It is the fact that my life as a Parish Nurse for a church was done. When I started I only planned to work for a short while but the pull of putting together my vocation and my faith was almost the culmination of everything I had ever done in my life.
Not everyone is into church and I can understand why. Church can be a family. Just as dysfunctional, mean spirited, kind, loving, and any other adjective you can put on it. It can be the best and the worst of things. Sometimes working within that framework can make you doubt everything you ever believed. It is challenging. However, my role as caregiver was unique and its rewards were abundant. I received much love and thanks. All of this made me question who I am and where I am going now. AT 76 years old I am not done. Out society tends to focus on youth and forget the wisdom accumulated over a lifetime of living. What a shame. So much is lost.
This blog is my chance to share. Perhaps what I have learned will touch some and help others. If so, then it is worth it. All we can do is cast that bread upon the waters and see what happens.
I am continuing to journey. Life as we grow older is not easier but more difficult. Health issues arise, possibly financial problems, decisions about what to do if we are not capable of caring for ourselves have to be dealt with. But we are definitely not finished.
I will keep on learning to change the things that I can about myself. A big task but a worthy one. One step at a time. One day at a time. I am alive today!
Today has been a good day. Since I have situational anxiety and the situation has resolved I am beginning to come down. Since my husband is retired military I care deeply about those soldiers who have PTSD and have some understanding of what they experience. I am fortunate that my episodes are usually short and only take a short while to get over but I can understand how unbelievable it must be to have that much adrenaline running all the time. In the current war zones there is no time away. There is no front. There is no getting away from the stress. They are hyped up 24 hours a day for as long as they are there. Our bodies do not respond well to this sort of stress. Excess adrenaline increases heart rate, blood pressure and so many other things. These soldiers frequently come home for only a few months and are on their way back to the front. How can anyone be immune to mental and physical ailments. I hope that some of the studies on the brain and anxiety can be used to come up with some help for these men and women.
It makes me and my issues seem small by comparison. Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t help when my buttons are pushed. I want to remember how much worse it could be but there are times it doesn’t help. I am continuing to develop more coping skills for my day to day life and hope that I may at least reduce my response to bad situations. Sometimes you just want to ask “Why me?”
Comparisons are odious is a quote from Madeleine L’Engle
This is a difficult post. How do you go about posting that the last week was a big backslide. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, interventions to prevent or at least decrease anxiety have to be in place before we are hit with the thing that pushes us over. Anxiety rampant is falling into a deep black hole. All things around you fade our of existence and the thing running life is anxiety. This is no way to live. Drugs given by physicians can help and may be the only thing when we are close to the edge and teetering over. But in the main there has to be some way to learn a new way of living. Even though backsliding was the result this week I will not falter and and am going to keep on moving forward.
There is one thing for sure….keeping on can’t hurt.
I think the hardest part about change is to keep on trying. When anxiety is triggered it is so easy to give in to it and just let it wash over us and take over. Then we can’t see anything around us. Life shrinks to our own suffering and we cannot experience outside of that. This is such a waste. Hours, days, too much time taken away from us. Time that could have been spent immersed in each moment, each hour. Lost forever to the storm raging inside of us. I know someone who has been suffering with cancer for a very long time. Her life has been challenged many time. The amazing thing is that she is still going on. She moves forward with joy each day and truly lives every single moment. Her faith in God and God’s blessings allows her to savor each day.
The question is how do we learn to live this way? I am sure if she were asked she couldn’t tell you. We each have to find our way alone. Our hope is that we will not be entirely alone if we are blessed enough to have friends who understand, physicians who listen and a faith that holds us close. Still, we must do the work ourselves. Each day, each moment we must repeat I am here now. I am alive now. The past is past and the future is not here. Only this moment matters.
This is the place where we feel as if nothing is working. That step backward puts FAILURE in our minds and we can just stop moving forward. Once again anxiety raises its ugly head and although
it is only a small crack we can peer through and see the chasm yawning below us.
This is where we must dig in our heels or the temptation to slide will take over. After several days of meditation, writing and focusing on change anxiety tried to take over. Sending it back into its cage seemed fruitless and yet why not try? So what has been learned to help push away slip? Deep breathing, distraction do help some but the truth is they are not entrenched enough to banish the feelings.Visualization does help to form the monster into a cloud and send it packing. Continuing forward is the only thing to do. No stopping now.
Not perfect at this point but a start. I can tell this will continue to be a struggle. This is when the whole idea of change can just fade away but determination to continue is still here.