The title of this blog post was composed in the spirit of being cheeky. The post itself has serious intention. First, however, I would like to apologize to my readers (steadily growing in number) for being less regular through August in my posts. But, life happens.
The title’s cheekiness is my response to one person’s criticism, albeit well-intentioned, that my blog posts are too long; hence, she is not reading them nor will many other folks, she suggests. I wrote her, politely, that my blog is intended for more reflective readers. Reflection requires time. Ergo, reading a thoughtful piece of writing takes time.
She also advised me to “target” my audience, for example, academics or clients or friends, and so on. Good heavens, such is the marketing mindset so ubiquitous today, which I resist. My blog’s foremost purpose is not marketing but rather to inspire, to educate, and to develop awareness in creative ways.
I truly worry about communication trends that segment and atomize human beings, and also reduce a person’s concentration level to that of a gnat. Therefore, I write about matters of our time that deeply concern me, to an inclusive global audience, which I look forward to growing, organically.
In turn, my blog `The Yin-Yang of Life’ welcomes thoughtful and deeply felt responses, some of which potentially could begin a mutually informative conversation.
Meanwhile, for this post, I raise the question: How do we get through difficult moments, particularly those that stretch through months, remaining unresolved and/or the whammy of multiple upsets?
Well, one strategy is to try and lose your “self” in intellectual pursuits, which can be an escape for a while. You can pretend you are coping. Regardless, I learned a long time ago that remaining stuck in one’s head, as if somehow our rational mind was disconnected from our body, feelings, and soul, is a misguided way of existing in this world. Instead, connecting with, and learning intentionally through the years how to function more holistically, is wiser and healthier.
For our emotional state of mind and our physical body eventually pay a terrible price, whenever we rationalize away, and ignore, causes of stress. My golly, pick a number. The sources of stress are endless, from overwork or no work to pay the bills, or family distress, losses and grief, to chronic health conditions and internalizing the world’s woes, or all of the above. I speak from hard-won lessons.
The fact is, such common stresses get internalized into our bodies at a cellular level. Doing so causes havoc, sooner or later, physiologically and psychologically. Believe me, in regard to those consequences, there is no escape. There is, however, always the possibility of healing and renewal, by transforming the ways in which we negotiate reality.
As for individuals who choose to shut down or shut out any of the above causes of stress, guess what, you are not as immune to your attempts not to respond to the world around you – whether family, workplace or planetary environment – as you may “think.” Contrary to Descartes’ credo: “I think, therefore I am,” (which has been too narrowly interpreted), the fuller functioning of the human being is holistic rather than linear and disconnected. We cannot escape the human condition nor our planet’s situation. The choice always is ours, instead, to do something to improve the quality of life, at various levels.
My blog posts are intended to encourage and inspire readers to believe in themselves and make a difference in the larger world. Do not let the surrounding dominant voices, in your personal life or beyond, make you small and feel dispensable. I include the news media and popular culture that focus relentlessly on celebrities, and reduce the meaning of life to consumerism.
To clarify, I have no bone to pick with fellow human beings who are celebrities, some of whose creative talent I appreciate and admire, as I do their respective humanitarian activities. My critique instead is directed to the media and public obsessions that reduce creatively talented human life to commodities to sell in the marketplace. On this topic, please read an earlier blog titled “Messengers of Compassion – A Pop Diva and A Monk.”
Similarly, I am not criticizing fellow journalists, whether mainstream or otherwise, who retain their integrity in truth telling despite the pressures of corporate or other specific ideological gatekeepers. My critique is in regard to the corporatization of mainstream media as well as a cautionary note not to rely on limited sources of information, particularly which have agendas that divide humanity and degrade the planet’s life support system.
Using a personal narrative style is my blog approach to communicate a wee bit of wisdom from the heart as well as the head. Such wisdom, thereby, is based not just on many years of formal education, professional experience, and a fair bit of globetrotting. And, yes, sometimes I resort to my well-honed investigative journalism skills, to address certain issues, responsibly, in some of my posts and suggest further resources difficult to find.
But, moreover, any accrued wisdom evolves from honest self-reflection and taking ownership of one’s own human imperfection and fragility. In other words, I prefer to present myself, and walk with you, as a fellow traveller, who continues to learn and grow in the ongoing journey to be a better helper in the world.
Indeed, through a dreadfully challenging four months I have plowed through production of several blog posts, trying to contribute some insights useful for other people. But, then, I hit a wall. And I should know better. For I know the reason why.
I have been twisting myself into an intellectual pretzel in doing too much analysis, both in my writing and my research, and neglecting the essential self-care of my emotional and physical energies. But, hey, I can admit it, and do so with a chuckle in considering one of my immediate remedial measures – mowing a quarter acre of grass yesterday and today.
That is why you are getting this blog post and not a different one, for which I went overboard in several days of analytical preparation – a post to publish at a later time.
I now return to the question that I raised near the beginning: How do we get through difficult moments? First of all, do whatever it takes to connect with your body as well as your feelings. Perhaps find a guide or several teachers to facilitate a transformative journey, through stages. Take mind/body workshops, and train yourself in a meditation practice.
Make time for loved ones, good friends, also people who need your kindness. Do not neglect the nurturing of your own soul – with beautiful music, a stroll in a quiet place of natural beauty, maybe alone, maybe shared with others. Slow down and make space for moments of reflection.
Model gentle and compassionate qualities to the children, and allow them to experience joy, beauty and peacefulness. Help them develop resourcefulness and perceptiveness, to enable them to pay attention to what really matters.
In these practices, we together collaborate and co-create a life worth living, for everyone, on our fragile and wounded planet.