Over the Christmas holidays, and very much since then, I have been musing about the paradoxes in my personal life and in the world in general. How there are always things I’m deeply grateful for and appreciate, that raise my vibrations to joy, or at least contentment and a general feeling of being O.K. and rolling with life. Then … there is the rest! The world is going to hell in a basket. People can’t agree on “facts”. They argue and act in ways that we all learned in kindergarten is disrespectful. That whole “do unto others” thing.
I would LOVE to see a “good news” channel --- because inspirational stories and freely given everyday kindnesses truly are everywhere. It is so much more ubiquitous than the constant parade of videos of conflict and controversy you see, one after the other, on the news. Fear messaging is designed to attract your attention, because our brains have a natural negativity bias to pick up on the cues that keep us “safe”. Whenever I see “Breaking News!” on the CBC or BBC, I can feel my own chest constricting and throat tightening in an immediate knee-jerk response. These body sensations tell me it is time to wordlessly tap on the meridian endpoints to reduce that stress response. Bad news grabs your attention, increasing ratings, and making it more likely that all you will hear is more of the same!
It’s on all T.V. and radio channels, as well as on just about every site of our tech devices, and can feel like a constant assault on our beleaguered nervous systems, telling us we are in danger. It takes time to delete/snooze/ignore/ or unsubscribe from the most soul-sucking negative diatribes. I consider myself a responsible person who WANTS to make a difference in the world, so I often read the first bits before making the judgment that it has to go. That sorting process itself depletes my energy when I spend too much time on it!
First, I need to recognize when this is happening. The more stresses I am dealing with in my personal life, the more trigger-happy I have to become in managing and deleting the content of what is either too negative or just unnecessary at this time: ie., too much news, reality(!) or violent T.V. shows, do I really need yet another interesting course or Summit right now, etc. Paring it down mainly to the necessities and what lifts me up.
Right now, my closest friend is struggling with trying to survive Stage 4 cancer. We are losing sleep from the antics of mice behind our walls(!) in the wee hours, and trying to find just the right solutions for my on-again, off-again back pain from dreadfully unsupportive furniture that is well past its “best before” date. The last thing I need is “busy” work of questionable value, or to get my nervous system all razzed up!
I need to look after ME --- to maximize the messages of love, inspiration and support I take in, and foster the connections and relationships that fill my emotional tank. We simply don’t have unlimited hours or energy to do everything. More demands always translate into making selfcare a much higher priority --- if we want to stay healthy!
One change I’ve made (in addition to my usual self-care rituals) is to make sure that I read something inspirational early in the morning. Ten to twenty minutes of deep immersion in some thoughts and ideas that expand my heart and fill me with optimism, energy and strength, can’t help but improve that dreary state I so often wake up with (Is it “groundhog day” again?). Brene Brown’s books are my current favorites. After I read, I feel more loving and kind to myself and the world, able to focus on the part of my glass that is half full, and start getting excited about creating a satisfying and interesting day.
I can’t control the majority of what is happening around me, only what is inside. Our moods and outlook are incredibly influenced by the choices we make of where we place our attention and energy! First thing in the morning, and last thing before we go to bed are, I believe, quite vulnerable times. That’s when we get the most mileage out of practicing our positive habits and routines. It brings our nervous systems calm and safety, so we have the capacity to be more present in our world --- even with the ugliness and confrontations we inevitably encounter at some point.
By simply doing a short “Loving Kindness” meditation for instance, we can extend love and compassion for those on both sides of a sticky, seemingly immovable paradox. That caring energy can begin to soften the rigid polarities --- because it speaks to the heart and our common humanity. Research has already proven that the more people meditate on peace and love for targeted recipients, the greater the calming effect --- on everyone! [The “maharishi effect”.]
In order to manage the challenges of the paradoxes in our lives, we have to take care that we are not bamboozled willy-nilly into joining “camps” that separate us, one from the other. To listen to our heart’s wisdom, we must first let go of fear. And THAT requires work on ourselves, with any tools you may have in your arsenal --- meditation and mindfulness, prayer, EFT, Havening, etc. Self-care is SO not selfish! It helps us to bring our best selves into every relationship and every encounter in our day. You have to have love and grow it, to give it. I would say that’s the total opposite of “selfishness” --- wouldn’t you?
I am excited, and just a wee bit nervous about starting a Blog. A book is edited and re-edited till the cows come home, until I feel comfortable with both the message and the tone or “feel” of the piece. If I did that with a blog, I don’t think I’d ever get it out there! It’s more of a “state of the moment” sharing --- what I’m thinking or feeling about a topic that I judge may resonate with my readers, very specifically from a present moment perspective. This will not be a daily, or even necessarily weekly offering. I will write when I feel moved by the Spirit to do so!