Thursday, January 22, 2015

If at First You Don't Succeed, etc., etc.

"In each of us there is internal knowledge, a gentle voice, beckoning us
toward well-being. It tells us to let go, to stay in the river of present experience, not to dam up our lives by worrying about potential futures or bemoaning past mistakes.” 

I thought I was doing a good job of staying in the present, my intention for the year.  I was working diligently to stay focused, in the here and now. Then Paris happened.  And the incessant news coverage, the constant reminder that the world is not safe.  That terrorists can surface anywhere and anytime. I was glued to CNN for hours, even as I was aware that I was watching the same interview, the same shots again and again.  My best intentions blowing in the wind.

Before I realized it, I was overwhelmed by worry for the future and caught up in the history of my childhood.  I am old enough and remember enough to see the incidents in Paris (and too many other places) as reminiscent of the rise of Nazism.  I believe that apathy, appeasement, rationalization and pervasive fear are the breeding ground for such evil to spread.  I could feel my jaw tighten, my breathing becoming shallow.  I could feel worry morphing into anxiety.

No surprise that Sunday found me dejected.  Thankfully, I decided to attend our local Unitarian Fellowship service and was pleasantly surprised to walk in on what might have been the largest gathering in its history here in St. George.  A group of thoughtful, open, concerned people who want to make a difference in this little community had assembled, many I believe, in search of some optimism - and a desire for some degree of control in a world increasingly out of control. My spirits gradually began to lift.

I then came home to see that incredible display of solidarity and courage in Paris.  I listened to thoughtful, in-depth analyses, the call for unified action, the validation that other people out there are seeing what I'm seeing. .By the end of the day, I had regained some semblance of equilibrium and enough of the news.  Maybe more than enough?!

Looking back on those few days, I easily can see how I sabotaged my intention to stay as much as possible in the present and attend to my sense of well-being.   I broke the promise to myself to limit the amount of time spent watching TV news.  Easy to see, looking out the back window.  Not so easy to interrupt in the midst of it.  

I've been tempted to swear off the news completely, and can understand why some people have.  But for me, for now, a more palatable solution is to get my news from NPR, a couple magazines...and John Stewart.  At least with John, I can laugh a little.


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