Saturday, June 22, 2013

BELABOURING THE OBVIOUS


  1. Center. You are going to need balance, cuca fria--cool head--as we say in Portuguese. Do whatever it takes to clear your mind--meditate, take a walk, listen to inspiring music. I like to go outdoors and reassure myself that the the trees are still there, the birds still sing, the turtles still hide under the berry bushes. Sounds simple, right? It is, simple, but when you are super stressed, when you are going from adrenaline highs to lows, the chemical flow does a job on your body and the state of your body affects your mind. Breathe in, breath out, like babies do. Simplest thing to do, but have you tried it when your are tense? So, center. 
  2. Remember that it is usually not about you.If society is going through convulsions, it is a collective convulsion. You are important, but you are not the  center of the universe. Gazillions of people all over the world are going through all manner of difficulties every day. How would you like to be a little girl trying to go to school in Pakistan? How would you like to be a Jewish woman who wants to pray at the Kotel? The old, old truths are very real--you are not alone. Whatever you experience might be new to you but you have the collective wisdom of many others who preceded you. Rely on it. 
  3.  Be kind. Do something for others. The smallest gesture I make is to put out slices of fruit for butterflies.  The hardest thing I do is to maintain a garden that grows consistently messier. It is however, of great importance for the local fauna--pollinators, birds, turtles, raccoons. It is important for the little children on my block because growing up in a green space with lots of birdsong and flowers makes them happy. I don't need to say that kids should be happy, do I? You can make them happy with other gestures--bake a healthy cake and share it with children and their parents. Offer to take a kid for a walk.Write a real letter to an older person living alone.  Surprise someone with produce from your garden. Offer tro do the shopping for a busy mom or a busy father. Do something you do not expected to be reciprocated. If is, why, that's a bonus.
  4. Be gentle with yourself. Last time I went to see my doctor I complained about this ache, lamented my lack of energy and the impact at had on my writing, my housekeeping and gardening. What she told me is so obvious we overlook it all the time, "We can only do so much."That is something I should make into my mantra whenever I demand the impossible from myself. 
  5. Have some fun. Read a funny cartoon. Watch the Muppets on Youtube. Talk to a baby. Dance with your cat. Dance by yourself. Wear something outrageous. Spritz on your best perfume. Have an ice cream cone.
  6. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I am saying this to myself but I have a brilliant friend with whom I commiserated just the other because we  both have scads of interest and we are both  driven to multitasking By all means do something creative--draw, paint, make a song, sew a dress, but refer to number 4 on this list. Yup, we can only do so much. Choose a task and stop fretting.
  7. Seek support. When the market crashes, the government does something stupid, the authorities exceed their brief, gather loving people around you. You don't have to ignore reality, you only have to remember that governments fall. Good friends remain.
  8. Be open to good suggestions. 
  9. Indulge yourself. Don't, for heavens sakes,  rush to buy a Maseratti. I'm talking little indulgences, guilt free indulgences. I happen to love good chocolate, Lapsong Souchong tea with fresh lemon, good books, flowers, fountain pens and all manner of very pleasing things that do not cost the earth.
  10. Have faith. Trust your strength, your resilience. Have faith in  people and their resilience. Imagine what humanity has gone through. We humans are still here, doing some good, making mistakes, correcting them, looking for answers, stating the obvious. Draw strength from that. 

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