Today for some reason my mind is blank….or struggling for clarity. I thought about this poem written a while ago and offer it here.
Deep in the closets of my mind dark secrets are hiding I have not seem them for many years
I stand and look at the doors and fear to look inside to let the light shine in
The fear is not of pain but something far more frightening the fear of myself
the real me hiding all these years the me no one can love the me I cannot accept
God, help me to fling open the doors and with broom in hand throw out the secrets
and dust off the person who has been hiding in the dark
Yesterday I read an article about the newest drug craze. People are buying flower seed and using them as drugs. Apparently some seed have an ingredient that is similar to LSD. I guess it is far enough away from the 60’s for them to not remember how those drugs work. LSD was a big deal in the 60’s. Timothy Leary was the guru who encouraged people to try the drug. He wanted everyone to “take a trip” and experience altered reality. For some people it did what was advertised. For others it produced a “bad trip” and not only did people do things like try to fly off of buildings but some kept experiencing “trips” for years after using the drug once.
I have never wanted to be out of control. That may just be an issue for me but I had no desire to try mind altering drugs. Native Americans and primitive peoples have used various plants to reach an altered state. However, I don’t think they have done it for fun but as a religious experience.
I am sad that there is such a culture of drug use. There is a big problem with opiods. Some of the drugs that we use for anxiety and depression are being abused by those who don’t have any problems. It worries me that so many people need to escape their lives by altering their brains.
I don’t know if the problem is any worse than it has been in the past. Maybe we have shifted from emphasis on drugs like morphine and invented new ways to dose our bodies. Whatever is the problem, abusing out bodies is not what life is about. I have no idea how to help but I wish I could.
Today there was a terrible tragedy in our area. A C 130 military aircraft crashed just after takeoff. They have not said yet about survivors but a video of the crash (taken by someone who heard the aircraft and thought it sounded funny) shows the plane going in a nose dive. It seems unlikely that anyone survived. We have not heard how many were aboard but somewhere between five and nine crew.
It is amazing that it crashed on a major highway and didn’t hit any cars. I guess in every tragedy there is some light. My heart goes out to the families of those soldiers. Their lives will never be the same. “What a difference a day makes” (from the song). It is so true. We can never be sure of a next moment, next day, next year. We make extensive plans and don’t know if they will happen.
If we spent our days worrying about what will happen next we would never leave home. When my youngest daughter was 15 years old she flew to Japan as an exchange student. We let her go far away. At that time a passenger plane was (I think) accidentally shot down and I didn’t want her to go. My husband pointed out that we can’t stop living for fear of what will happen.
Many people have talked about how fruitless worry is. We are not living if we spend our life in fear. We must live and make life worthwhile.
Lately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy. It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)
Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.
When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.
We have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.
I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.
As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”
I began this blog to follow me through changes that I need to make in my life. I don’t know how much progress I have made but there has been some. My anxiety is more under control and I have begun some new habits that focus me.
I have enhanced my prayer life which had slipped considerably. I have added “praying in color” which is a book that my daughter gave me a few years ago and I never pursued it. This has been a wonderful thing for me. I am not in the least an artist but it if wonderful to take colored pencils and create prayers. I am doing them on black paper and enjoy creating light from darkness. I can also look back (they are in a spiral sketch book) and see who I have added to my prayers.
I do occasionally do Mandalas and love doing those. They help me when I am in crisis. For me, they consume time and I have to feel the need to do one. I have saved these also and can look back over trials and tribulations. It is helpful to see where I have been and how far I have come.
Prayer is a real way for me to “center down.” Meditation for me is also a prayer. I don’t do that enough.
Since writing this blog I have encountered so many wonderful people who have understood and encouraged my journey. I have been enriched by reading their blogs. The community is a comfortable and comforting place to be.
Thank you all.
Life can be so frustrating. Things can begin to pile up and then they push us over the edge. And we fall. Tonight I spent time talking with someone who is being pushed and is maybe too close to the edge.
Living with anxiety and depression can be hard for us but it can be terrifying for those we love. They can see the cycle happening and want to do something but everything they try doesn’t help. They sense the danger and can do nothing. This can lead to overreacting. Being anxious and feeling watched for signs of stress doesn’t make life easier. The sad part is that we know it is about love but we also can do nothing.
The books that came out in the 1950’s and 1960’s talked abut what life would be like if we were being watched. “Big brother” is always watching. This idea is unsettling. It takes a toll and makes life even more difficult. It adds on guilt for seeming to be a burden and making those around us afraid.
This is a heavy weight to carry. Someone watching our habits…sleeping…eating…living and questioning our level of wellness can actually set healing back. I don’t know what the answer is. To be loved is what all of us want and need but it can be overwhelming.
Each of us needs to find the middle path between our loved ones anxiousness and our own search for wholeness, wellness and ability to function on our own. We must accept their loving care but need them to know that we are aware of their fear of harm for us, understand but also need space to just be be ourselves.
When I think over the years of my life the one thing I know that I could never do without is my faith. Not just faith in God but faith in many things. I have faith that there is love in the world, faith that there will be seasons and that the sun will rise. Faith in things that happen regularly and are provable don’t seem to lie in the area of faith but to me they do. Science says that we can believe things that can be proved. A lab test that comes out each time is a scientific proof. Faith is not scientific.
Part of our problem with the word faith is we see it as something that we “have.” A noun. Faith is not a noun. It is action, it is a verb. Faith is also not a feeling. Feelings come and go….they are transient. Feelings are not an accurate judge of faith. Instead faith is a choice. It is something that I must do. Each day when I wake I have to choose to believe in something. If that something is God it is my choice. I may waiver from time to time and question my belief but I can continue to chose to believe.
I will never be able to prove that God exists just as I can’t prove that love exists. I don’t have to. Belief is the choice that I make and it is not necessary for me to justify it. It is what has supported me through my life. Making a choice of belief each day allows me to absorb the winds of change that pummel my world. It gives me a safe shelter.
I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without this. What is there to hold on to when there is no safety anywhere? God did not promise that we would be free of trouble….only that He/She would be with us. I give heartfelt thanks that God has been in my life. “Amid all the changes and chance of this life I rest in your eternal changelessness.” ( from “The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: Compline)