The middle ground

middle-groundToday I worked in the yard re-potting plants and cleaning up.  I overdid it. By the time I came in I was over-tired and over heated. I know better than this but I got going and didn’t want to stop.

It is so easy to take on more than we can manage. You say yes to one thing and then another and suddenly you are in overload. Then add to that the worries that we all carry and the things we HAVE to do and we are in serious trouble.

It is so hard to stick to the middle ground. The Greeks talked about the Golden Mean….that center place where we have done just enough. If we choose to do too little we end up with a vapid face…if we choose to much we are tired, irritable and overworked.

We face the problem that in today’s work scene many employers expect too much. Since we can be reached at almost any time on our cell phones we are seldom out of touch. We are afraid to turn the thing off because we might miss something. It’s hard to call time when a job is on the line.

balance2There is a balance and we have to try to reach it. It may not be easy but unless we do we are at risk for more anxiety and more stress. None of us need that.

Reach for that center place where peace dwells.

inspiration-peace

God’s dump truck

out_of_the_frying_pan_and_into_the_fire_by_amorous_inc-d5zf87rHave you ever felt that you move out of the frying pan into the fire? Lately I seem to be doing that. I get past one crisis and another arises. I do key into other’s problems and help if I can. At times that can be overwhelming. Sometimes I just need to back away.

Today I have a very open and honest conversation with a friend. I hope that we both came away with a positive feeling. It is in relation to my journey to discover the next place that God is calling me. We will see how it moves forward and I trust God to help me discern what is best.

I have also been with a friend whose husband is ill and has been fighting the medical system. I hope things are getting better.

As we know these kinds of interactions can push the anxiety button. Fortunately it is only hanging in the background and that is where I want to keep it. It is time to use the things I have learned about taking control.

Control is a word that can have positive or negative connotations. Being in control is where we want to be but that is not always possible. It is so difficult to turn loose. I once taught a class where I talked about putting all of our worries and aggravations in a trash bag and handing them over to God. Then we would move on. However, our inclination is to move and drag the bag with us….move and drag the bag. We can do this endlessly. We just can’t seem to turn it over and leave it there. I wonder if it is our lack of trust or maybe the feeling that we should be able to handle it.

garbage truck

No matter what is the reason we have to learn to stop dragging the bag and let the God dump truck take it away forever.

Take a breath

Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned. Today has been that way. My foot is still swollen but not bad. I planned to stay off it but it didn’t happen that way. Instead I spent part of the day with a friend who’s trying to get her husband admitted to the hospital. The medical system is really broken. Trying to get something done is almost impossible.

It is hard that when illnesses hits you and you have to fight to get help. We are aware that this is true for mental illness but now it seems it is also true for other ills.

Life can be frustrating. Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and keep going.

Keeping balanced

original_good-day-and-bad-day-mugsToday was such a mixed day. I began stressed waiting for some medical results. I think I overdid my meds because of that. I got called about 11:00 that all is well and the anxiety subsided to leave me feeling groggy. It’s funny how there are times when the adrenaline goes it goes all at once. Still I felt good. I went to meet some friends for lunch and on the way out of the building down steep stairs fell the last two and twisted my foot/ankle? It hurt but I could walk on it so went on to enjoy lunch.

After lunch walking back it really hurt so headed home for ice and ibuprofen. Those helped and now it is just a minor ache. I learned a good lesson about managing my meds as I’m sure that’s why I lost my balance.

best daysLife is about balance. Can I balance my checkbook? Can I balance work and home? Can I balance exercise and food? We are always working to keep life on track. We have to weigh the things we do and try to keep an honest balance. Taking care of others and not ourselves makes life out of balance. In contrast we can say the same thing about paying attention only to ourselves and shutting others out is not a balanced life.

Learning to balance our moods and concerns can be even more difficult. Sometimes there is just no way to keep it all together. We need to strive for that balanced life. Sometimes we will lose balance and things will fall over but that is life. Just keep trying.

balance cartoon

“O that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances!

Death comes/ a poem

The following was something that I wrote to clear my mind during my mother’s illness and subsequent death. I was thinking about it today and decided to share it.

death comes

It’s a funny thing. During my mother’s illness grief was present but it was hard to separate it from the other emotions… fear, panic, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, were all present. Grief was one among many. Now the others are resting..they crop up from time to time but not consistently. Only grief is consistent and somehow is easier to bear when there is time to see it by itself.

Illness, uncertainty                                                                                                          Decisions..choices

No time                                                                                                                                          Rushing                                                                                                                                          Home.. hospital.. work.. family

No time                                                                                                                                             Cant’ wait                                                                                                                                        Must go                                                                                                                                                Must do

On and on

So much                                                                                                                                                Feelings crowding                                                                                                                            Pushing                                                                                                                                        Jostling for position

One on top ..                                                                                                                                       For now..                                                                                                                                          Fear

Then shifting                                                                                                                                            Moving                                                                                                                                            Panic wins

No time                                                                                                                                                 To understand                                                                                                                                        Or sort

Weeping                                                                                                                                                  Sadness wins                                                                                                                                    And tears                                                                                                                                         Wipe clean

For one instant

In the hurts we absorb, forgive us

fallToday, a friend at church, was showing us the bruises and stitches gotten when she she fell in the grocery store. She fell while buying a bottle of wine. The bottle broke and she was cut by the glass. She talked about going to the immediate med place and smelling like a drunk. I can imagine her saying “but I wasn’t drinking!”

She will have a small scar in one place and that started me thinking about the scars that we all carry. I have one from the time I put my finger in an electrical socket as a child. I have one from falling on a sharp piece of bamboo in the back yard.

woundsWe all have scars. Some are physical and some are emotional. I think the emotional scars are harder to heal. The trouble is we keep pulling them out to look and remember the pain. It’s funny how we do that and hardly notice the physical scars.

It is so easy to remember the times that we were hurt and to dwell on them. We can feel the emotions all over again…whether it is anger or pain or sadness. We almost treasure them and tuck them away so that we can get upset all over again.

We have to open those closets inside where we shove those scars and pull them out and throw them away. The sooner we do that the sooner we will be able to move past them. Holding on to them hurts us. Probably the people who caused them remember nothing and there we are still hurting.

I am trying to expose those scars and push them away from me so that I don’t have to feel the pain. In the Lord’s Prayer it says (new version) “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” A version from the New Zealand Prayer book says “in the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.” It makes me think that one meaning we can get from that is forgive us for holding on to those hurts.

hang on1

Turn them loose and move on.

Kindness begins with ourselves

teaYesterday I talked about the importance of touch. There is another side to the idea of needing touch. It is very important that we learn to treat ourselves well. We can get some positive touch from things that we do. What do you like to do to make yourself feel better? I love smells so lighting a candle for the odor makes me happy. Slipping between clean sheets is something that I love. I love to take a walk with the dogs. A wonderful sup of tea. All these things tend to bring me down from whatever stressors are jumping on me.

While at my grandson’s wedding I was feeling stressed (weddings are always stressful for those involved) but really had no way to stop the cycle. I wanted to but I was away from home with other people and couldn’t think of a way to stop.

When I think back I realize that I could have taken five minutes to take a short walk outside and just breathe.  The way that we do nice things for ourselves is a way of giving ourselves soothing touch.

small-actsThe secondary benefit of this is that we are more ready to offer something soothing to someone else. Being kind to ourselves is a step in the direction of being kind to others. We will begin to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Kindness can start at home. Learn to take time to do something for yourself and let yourself pass it on to others.