I have just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air. This is a wonderful book written by a neurosurgeon/neuroscientist on his journey toward death. It is not as sad as you might imagine. He has spent his life searching for meaning and has multiple degrees from medicine to English. The book is full of wonderful thoughts about life.
Dying seems to be the thing that haunts us.Not existing is unimaginable. We can’t begin to imagine ourselves absent.There are cultures that live closer to it’s reality and have less difficulty. We love youth in this culture.Death is not acceptable. This brings to mind again those who want to be immortal. What arrogance?
Somehow having a beginning and an end feels right. I wish that we could turn loose of our fears. After all as FDR said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Most of us who struggle with anxiety and fear are usually not thinking about death but whatever triggers our fears.We truly see fear as the enemy……maybe not death.
This is where our faith and faith community are so important. We need the love and care to hold us up. It can be the difference in our lives.
There are some days that “you should’a staid in bed.” This was one of those days. Part of my schedule was to pick up a friend who was having some minor surgery done and take her home. I like to listens to books on my Kindle in the car….wellllll my Kindle had no charge. I popped a small charger on it and left the house early so I wouldn’t be late. I arrived in plenty of time to discover that I was at the wrong doctor’s office. I took out my phone…..which I had removed from the charger in my house…..and guess what? My phone wasn’t charged.
I quickly got in the car and plugged the phone in to call another office to find her. She was only a couple of blocks away. Actually got there on time. She had been given a mild sedative before the surgery which was to relax her only. Wellllll it knocked her out. She slept all the way home. I questioned her about meals and she managed to tell me that she had food. Her husband is 90 something and has a caregiver with him. When we got to her house I had to get the caregiver to help me get her into the house…..we put her in a gown and she immediately fell asleep. Checking her refrigerator I could find nothing that would do for dinner so I made a trip to the grocery to get a prepared meal for dinner. Leaving her house the low gas light came on in my car and I had to quickly find a gas station.
Understand the plan was to pick her and take her home. About an hour to do this. Having left home at 10:30 I arrived back home at 2:30. . No lunch for me.
Long story and funny in retrospect. It just shows that things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we just have to take things as they come. Life is irregular. God, after all, did not tell us everything would go smoothly. He just said he would be with us. He was certainly by my side today. I wasn’t the least bit anxious and just rolled with the flow. When she is fully rational I will share the funny story with her.
We have weathered Irma and are more or less back to normal. Our son, daughter-in-law and kids have been with us for two days since they still had no power. They left tonight and it is nice to feel back to normal.
The time spent in the last week has made me realize just how attached we are to routine. when we are forced out of our normal pattern we become (at least in my case) anxious and disoriented. I like my routine…especially in the morning. If something disrupts that then nothing seems to go well the whole day.
There are so many times that we are tested by circumstances beyond out control. Life definitely does not always run smoothly. It is the changes that challenge us. We have to adapt to the new circumstances like it or not. The thing is that adaptation takes time and we want things to be good immediately. Our society has expectations of everything being done RIGHT NOW!
At one time I worked for a group of pediatricians and a sick child would be given a prescription in the morning and in the afternoon the mother would call and want to know why the child wasn’t well. (absolutely true story.. and it didn’t happen just once.)
We need to relearn patience….the ability to let things resolve in their own time. Life doesn’t run on our schedule. We cannot expect instant gratification.
Learn to sit and wait.
I think that one of the hardest things to learn about anxiety is the up and down of it. One moment everything is fine and then something is said and or learned and there you are again…dealing with anxiousness. Life is such as gift it is not right to waste it. I don’t know how someone lives in a country like Israel not knowing when your life might be wiped out. I guess you must learn to live with it. There is no other choice.
It is so hard to keep up with the meditation, prayer and yoga that I am using to learn a new path. It is so easy to put it off and say I’ll do it tomorrow. The thing is that it helps when I follow through. How dumb is that to put it off?
Usually I stay away from the news as being too violent and depressing but now with the North Korea situation it is hard to shut it out. What sort of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren?
We are all humans dwelling on this planet. Will we ever learn kindness and love toward one another?. Sometimes I wonder if anyone has ever read with a real listening heart the words of Christ. There is no part of his life that was not concentrated on getting us to practice compassion.
Compassion is a unique thing. I am not sure that we really understand it until we have lived long enough to have encountered hardship and tragedy in our own lives. With that experience we can really feel the pain of others. If we use this experience to reach out to others in their pain we are a healing voice in the world.
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 al
though 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.