Sheesh, it took me a long time to get back to this! So, twenty-plus backyard swarms, tomato harvests, bird rescues, bee rescues, and many months of watering later, I am here to continue my reflection on finding balance in an insane world.
As I write this, the Ford-Kavanaugh debacle is in full swing. And it is making me crazy. And I am very frustrated that I have allowed myself to let this affect my mental and physical health, which it has. I even found myself drinking a beer last night (I’ve probably drunk five bottles of beer in my entire life…) to calm my shaky nerves.
I am frustrated with myself because this upheaval is no longer in accord with how I manage to stay sane in an insane world. This is how I manage my life for most-possible sanity and peace on a daily basis:
For starters, I no longer follow the news. I am assaulted by the news on FaceBook, and I do my best to avoid it. I simply unfollow people who are heavily into political postings or–worse–rantings. I believe that whatever comes across my page as news is no longer to be trusted. I have become deeply sensitive to the look, feel, and smell of agendas in everything I read. To my mind, most news is about people trying to prove a point they have already decided upon, and I trust the information will be skewed that way.
I am also very sensitive to the emotions of alarm, danger, outrage, and rage that parades as news. I am tired of media trying to scare me into doing whatever their agenda advances. I am tired of corporations calling me a “consumer”–like I’m some kind of mindless larva that is nothing but a mouth and an anus (oh–and a very unlarva-like wallet).
I do not believe that allowing chaos and anxiety into your house is a good thing, and that’s what news and advertising are to me–creators of chaos and anxiety. Dr. Andrew Weil has recommended permanent news fasts, and I agree with him. Anything I need to know about, I will hear about. It really just works that way unless you are a hermit.
I offer no apologies to those who would criticize me for not being a “good enough” citizen.”But don’t you feel a responsibility to keep yourself informed?” Thank you, no–I don’t. I am informed about the things I choose to be informed of. Not what the ruling powers would prefer me to be informed about. Because the ruling powers don’t care if I am traumatized or incapacitated by an overload of useless, pointless drivel that they are so fond of spouting.
The next piece of my personal sanity program is to truly consider what events or things I can impact and which are out of my hands. Those that are out of my hands–well, the very best I can do there is prayer and meditation. And then do whatever is necessary to help myself move on from there.
I honestly do not believe that the gods want me to suffer over things that are beyond my ability to address. I am not letting myself lose sleep over the situation in Myanmar, or Syria, or gorillas in danger in the Congo. I could let myself go into deep despair over any of these things but for what benefit? For. What. Benefit?
I applaud those who are global activists, and know that I am not constituted that way. So, should I shame-guilt myself over that? Nope. I send them prayers for strength, and offer compassion for my self in the very small ways I am able to affect change in the world.
I am a good friend. I am a good neighbor. I have helped people with my writing. I do my best not to bring stress and discord into anyone’s day. I care for nature and her kin and am responsible this summer alone for keeping alive four birds who would have died without my intervention. This, to me, is as important as saving a refugee. These things are the best that I can do with my own, precious, fragile life.
And I put considerable energy into having deep compassion for my very limited self. That kind of energy is well spent. Wringing my hands over the pathetic machinations of our Congress? A waste of time. I vote with my ballot and my wallet. That is the most I can do there. Meanwhile in my yard, I can save a life or two: A praying mantis in the middle of my street, a failing tree. When my granddaughter struggles with why her classmates kill bees and step on ants, I can help explore such things in a healthy way.
If I had lots of money, I would use it to affect change, but I don’t. My life has to be my means of offering benefit. And if that is so, then I must put my energy into keeping myself as healthy and clear minded as I can, so that I can bring about good change and small peace to my loved ones, my neighbors, my town.
In summary, my means of finding peace are these:
Meditate–Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can survive without it.
Choose the ideas and the information and the people you will allow into your life and home.
Don’t suffer over tragedies that are not yours to bear. Choose wisely the ones that ARE.
Bring peace into the world in small ways every day.
Don’t broadcast your misery to others. Be considerate of your confidants, and don’t have too many. Because how many people do you need to feel terrible, or helpless, on your behalf?
Do your best to bring love into every interaction, in as much as you can. I know this is not easy when you think everyone around you has gone bat-shit crazy. Ask me how I know this…