Beyond ice there is warmth and hope

We are in the middle of a winter storm. Since I live in the south this weather is unusual. I can’t remember the last time that it was below freezing here. Ice covers the roads and everything is closed. No problem for me. I will stay inside and enjoy the fire. Kids are delighted to have a day off. It seldom happens.

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(Marsh grass covered with ice.)

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but then do we ever?

Life itself can be icy itself and leave us in a shivering in a cold place. There are so many things in life that we can’t control and weather is one of them. Maybe some day science will find a way but I like it this way. It doesn’t make things easier (when hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. happen) but it is real. If we really think about it the only thing that we actually control is ourselves and our reactions to things. Choices bring consequences good or bad and that choice is up to us.

This fact makes it doubly hard when dealing with some mental aberrations. It is easy to feel that we are in a morass and there is no way out. It doesn’t seem as if we have a choice and that there is nothing left to do. The only way out becomes suicide. For those of us dealing with anxiety and depression suddenly not being there at all seems like a relief.

However, there are people who are doing away with themselves slowly by means of alcohol and/or drugs. This way can be devastating as it strips the person a little at a time. Each day they slip away a little more until nothing is left but the drug of choice. The drug takes away their ability to think clearly and reduces the chance of making a different choice.

hope lightWith all these depressing thoughts we need to look toward the light because we do have a choice. We can decide to reach toward the light. We can seek help from others whether friends, communities or therapeutic help. Hope is still out there. As long as we are breathing there is hope. Life can be difficult but we are alive and a new day is out there.

My granddaughters have said that I give them hope since I have found ways to cope for 77 years. I am still here. I have joys and sorrows, good and bad but life is worth it all.  Mostly I have found peace. Gather your strength and hope.

You don’t eat what?

mark twainNot too long ago I belonged to a circle of women who met once a month for dinner and a program. We held the meetings at someone’s home and a light dinner was provided by the hostess. After a while ideas about diets began to be popular and things changed with the group. It was expected that the hostess would try to accommodate the dietary requirements of the members. One person became a vegetarian and that was pretty manageable. Then someone become a vegan and it got a little more difficult. Then someone didn’t eat carbs and another went gluten free. It began to feel as if water was the only choice for dinner. The group decided to eat out and let everyone make their own choices. Strangely enough, people who were on restricted diets seemed to eat whatever when eating out.

I have noticed that this is a growing phenomenon in society today. People are choosing various eating methods in order to be healthy. For people who have allergies or celiac disease or diabetes or other serious problems,  it is logical to avoid certain foods. We have long known that most of us eat too many carbs and too much sugar. But we seem to have reached the ridiculous.

(How many of you have seen the movie Notting Hill where a dinner guest objects to eating carrots because they were murdered?}

I have friends who have been vegetarians or vegans for many years. They manage their diets well and usually manage at dinners without any fuss. I also know people who claim to be one or the other and really don’t understand how to manage it well.

Just as recent converts to a faith are the most stringent so the most recent converts to a diet are rabid about maintaining it. This kind of thinking makes me decide to not have people to dinner as they have few manners about pointing out their restrictions. As the group decided, it is easier to not do it. We have become picky eaters and outspoken about our desires. Others are often left feeling that they are not in step if they don’t follow.

garfieldEating healthy is important for many reasons but let’s not be so obsessed as to make others uncomfortable. Everyone is entitled to their own choices. There is some implication in one of the two Genesis stories that vegetables should be our primary choice but it is up for interpretation. (Have you realized that there are two stories?) I have felt for a long time that moderation in all things is the key to living. Extremes cause problems. It’s up to you.

How do you fill the hole?

I have just read an article from Spirituality and Health about a physician named Gabor Mate. Mate works with addiction patients in Vancouver, Canada. I have included a link to the whole article at the end of this post.

I was intrigued by the article and found some things I agree with and others I don’t. Mate is convinced that much addiction is linked to our childhood experiences. I agree that there may be some link between the two but I wouldn’t rule out the other links such as genetic disposition. I am a holistic thinker and tend to see us as body, mind and spirit linked together. However, some of his thinking seems to be right on target.

“Addiction, says Maté, is nothing more than an attempt to self-medicate emotional pain.”

addictionI do believe that this is true. In a previous blog I talked about the hole that is in us that we need to fill. Each of us tries to fill it in some way. Our way of filling it may be a recognizable addiction or one that society sees as good.

Mate says that: “The only difference between the identified addict and the rest of us is a matter of degrees. Daniel Maté, Gabor’s son and an editor of his books says “A lot of people make wonderful contributions to the world at their own cost. We often lionize unhealthy things.”

It seems to me that we are all addicted in some way. Some are workaholics, some over or under eat, some shop etc. If we do enough of these things we may begin to be noticed as going overboard and a problem may be identified and called addiction. This doesn’t happen to all of us but each of us is trying to fill that hole in some way. The question is with what?

Some doctors who do not recognize something as other do not agree with Mate who says: “something else in us and about us: it is called by many names, ‘spirit’ being the most democratic and least denominational.” For me this is God.

He does believe that there is something more. Something about us that is craving for wholeness.

The article concludes with Mate talking about how we treat and judge addiction and for me he hits the target smack in the middle.

We lack compassion for the addict precisely because we are addicted ourselves in ways we don’t want to accept and because we lack self-compassion,” he says. “And so we treat the addict as an “other” – this criminal, this person making poor choices – to whom we can feel superior.

“I think that if we developed a more compassionate view of addiction and a more deep understanding of the addict and if we recognized the similarities between the ostracized addict at the social periphery and the rest of society and if we did so with compassion both for them and for the rest of us we would not only have more efficient, more successful drug treatment programs, we would also have a better society.”

better world

This was an excellent article with much to think about. If you would like to read it for yourself the link is: https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2012/10/10/gabor-mat%C3%A9-why-were-culture-addicts#.Wa3qMGIX6z0.email