I am getting worn down by 2020.
It has been a year full of scary stuff, COVID, racial atrocities, unrest in the streets, and a charged political scene—you can’t possibly hide from it all.
We have lost so many simple pleasures. There are so many things I miss.
I want to go to a restaurant, a movie, anywhere. But, they are dangerous.
I want to watch a ball game with some fans in the stands. Baseball in an empty stadium is just so dystopian. I am sick of Zoom. I miss my 12 step friends. I want to go to DC and hug my daughter and her fiancé, without virus concerns. I am sick of the President’s hubris as the country implodes. He is so exhausting. There is so much going on, so much wrong. Did I mention the wildfires?
As always, I have a part.
Indeed I bear some blame. I watch too much TV news, overloading on confirmation bias from my favorite cable station. The Political skirmishes on Facebook and Twitter I get involved in are also bringing me down. The thing is, these confrontations don’t move anyone’s opinion. They are pointless, but I keep trolling. I wrote a story months ago about social media engagement, Confessions of a Twitter Troll. Here I am, at it again. Insane!
Why am I am feeding the monster?
I am neck-deep in negativity. If I don’t take action soon, I may drown.
I need a break, you need a break, we all do.
I have some ideas on how to turn down the volume between our ears.
Turn off the flow of digital garbage. Limiting, or better yet, eliminating the use of social media is a no brainer. Virtual neighborhoods are just too toxic. Keep up with friends and family the old fashioned way via e-mail, telephone, or even snail mail—I am not sure that the last one is still a thing. Your people will appreciate the personal touch.
Try to find a news source that is down the middle. The prime time cable news stations are running more and more to political extremes. They are tearing the country apart.
When spending time with someone on the other side of the political divide; don’t let politics dominate your time together– I am not sure ignoring the elephant in the living room is healthy either. But, there are other reasons they are in our lives. Spend time on what you have in common.
Get outside, where COVID is much less of a threat.
Don’t take everything the President says seriously. He is trying to piss you off.
These are just a few simple first steps to sanity. There is more.
Fill up your Spirit
With that initial work underway, we now must fill the void. We need to find or get back to activities that bring us joy. If we don’t, it won’t be long until we slip back into the destructive behaviors that we are trying to get away from. We need to replace the negative with activities that nourish the soul.
If you write, write. If you are a musician, take out your instrument. If you are a painter, get back to your canvas. Go out and work in the garden.
If you don’t have a passion, find something. There are countless videos on YouTube to get you started. In just about any pursuit. For example, I came across some videos on acrylic-painting that were mesmerizing. It is not that hard. A few tubes of paint and a couple of brushes will get you going. Try it.
Immersion in the creative process brings focus. When I get involved in my writing, I am always surprised at how quickly time goes by. Escape into your passion.
Plan a trip
A trip may seem an unusual strategy in a COVID world, hear me out. My wife and her best friend will both be reaching milestone birthdays in November of 2021. They want to celebrate with a big get together in Lake Tahoe. So they plan: they have been looking at places to stay, checking out activities, and figuring out dates. They have something to look forward too.
The trip may or may not happen, but it still requires planning. That brings a sense of normalcy.
We had no way of foreseeing the events of 2020. We certainly can not speak to what will happen next year. Everyone hopes circumstances will progress, and we will all feel safe enough to travel.
We have to believe that life will get back to normal eventually.
Prayer and/or meditation
Nothing is more replenishing than humbly going to my Source for guidance and comfort. As a 12 step member, I have come to rely on my Higher Power for help with all sorts of troubles.
Prayer tempers resentment, close your eyes, and sincerely wish an adversary well. It works.
Maybe, you are more comfortable with meditation than prayer. Sit in a comfortable spot and follow your breath. For 15-20 minutes focus on your well being, and block out all that is going on around you.
Do a relaxing meditation by concentrating on each portion of your body from head to toe, releasing tensions as you go. There are many ways to meditate. If you need help getting started, try a guided meditation. A simple Google search will help find the right one. Be a consistent practitioner, and you will find some peace.
A couple of other simple ideas:
Read or watch inspirational-soulful materials.
Reach out to someone who is having a tough time/ volunteer.
Tell somebody you love them.
We are all responsible for our internal peace, of course. When external events affect our emotions, it is time to look at behaviors and attitudes and make a change. It is within our power.
There are worries in these weird times, but there is a peaceful path through it all.
In this election season, all types of forces will be using sophisticated strategies to get at us. They will attack our emotions, our sense of right and wrong, our religious beliefs, and even our loyalty to the country.
Recognize it for what it is, and let your conscience guide your convictions. Whatever they are.
We will come out on the other side of this crazy year. Hopefully, we will be stronger for it.
In the meantime, stay safe, wear your mask, and stay six-feet apart.