Sunday, May 22, 2011
This spring has been fun for birding. So far I’ve added two more species to my checklist: wood ducks and yellow-rumped warblers. I remember the first time I spotted a bird I didn’t recognize. I observed it a while, then looked it up in my friend’s guidebook and easily found the one that walked head-first down the tree. I can’t tell you the name of that bird right now because remembering isn’t as easy as it used to be.
A lot of things aren’t as easy as they used to be, and if I allow myself to get seduced into looking back and dwelling on them, I become bitter and sulky, and it’s too nice a day for that.
One thing I didn’t learn very well as a child was how to stop myself from getting stuck in and overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings. Like most kids, I let my imagination get the best of me and take me deep into monstrous places. I had no ‘eject-button’, or concept of one, so would crash and burn over and over again, even at older ages, even now.
Fortunately not only are there a lot more storybooks to educate children’s imaginations, but there are also storybooks for toddlers that depict ‘worried faces’ and ‘sad faces’ that give parents the opportunity to begin discussing feelings at an early age. Emotional Intelligence is a whole new field of study that has come into being, and it’s wonderful because it helps people better understand this aspect of their lives.
The concept of ‘eject-buttons’ has also evolved. A young friend has been dealing with acute pain for several months. The doctors haven’t yet uncovered the cause, and meanwhile she suffers. I asked her how she was coping, and she told me she reboots herself by reading and cuddling with her cat. When the computer doesn’t work properly, you reboot it by turning it off, and when you restart it, the glitch is usually gone. How interesting to think we can do that with our own minds – disconnect from what isn’t serving us – and then reconnect and carry on!
Just being aware of the concept has done wonders for me. When I find myself tapping my fingers, a sign of pent up anxiety, I inhale and hold my breath for a second then exhale and let the stale air go. I keep repeating this until I feel relaxed and rebalanced.
Looking back, I realize I have acquired a lot of rebooting tools through the years. Physical ones like, dancing, running, singing, and playing music, all help me burn off or disconnect from anxiety. Spiritual ones like mindful breathing, reading, acts of gratitude, and ritual all help me take back command of my energy flow and reconnect to a more centred way.
I find my days are happiest when I begin with a cleansing practice that allows me to start fresh. Lexio Divino, or divine reading and mantras are great ways to begin with uplifting thoughts, yoga and dancing are great ways to start with a limber body, and mindful breathing and singing are great ways to lighten my spirit.
Life can be messy and unfair, and in these times of tragedy and great loss when my whole system is shocked out of alignment, I may need time and assistance to reboot. When my dad died twenty-five years ago, I sought therapy and drugs to help stabilize and move forward. Grief, however, is a personal and shifting process, so recently, when there was an untimely death in the family, I found I could work through it on my own. Now that I am more self-aware, I am better able to manage the grief because I am respectful of my needs. I am able to allow myself to feel and express the grief, come to terms with it, then burn it off, reboot and move on.
I find myself rebooting a lot lately. It seems like there is so much that is overwhelming. With the twenty-four hour ‘disaster’ channels it’s almost as if Big Brother wants me to stay anxious. An easy way to control people is to keep them afraid, unhealthy and needy. This thought makes me sad, and I have to reboot again.
I wonder if the way to counter this need to keep rebooting is to focus on what is good and merciful and work on staying connected to that. Actually, come to think of it, that’s why this publication came into being. It was intended to connect our community, to be an antidote for the doom and gloom newspapers, and to amplify what is beautiful and honourable here. No wonder people read it from cover to cover.
There is so much that is good in this world, so many small acts of kindness that are happening all the time. Too bad we aren’t all taught at an early age how to hook in and hold on to it. Mind you, everything is evolving. Maybe this is too and I’m just not aware of it yet.
Say, what if we started each morning with the mantra: today I will amplify goodness. Wow, just think what that would do.
Oh look. There’s a nuthatch.