October 6, 2020
Despair is the greatest of our errors.
Luc De Clapiers
Things are not easy these days. Unfortunately, most of the things going on we cannot change. But it is up to use how we handle our realities. We all are challenged by the pandemic, todays extreme partisanship and some of us are dealing with the changes that come with aging.
My greatest challenge is learning to live separated from ny wife for the first time in our sixty-seven years of marriage. Her memory issues coupled with her failing health has made it necessary to permantly move her to an advanced care residence in our senior living facility.
It is important that I stay upbeat when I visit her as she struggles with adjusting to our living separately. All of us are challenged as years go by and how well we deal with our concerns will often keep us from despair. Here is an excerpt from an article written by Angel Chernoff that shares her thoughts on how we can cope with difficult times.
First Steps for Coping with Unfavorable Outcomes
Here’s a brief outline of some initial steps Marc and I actively take (and cover with our course students and live event attendees) to cope with the immediate tension that arises from unfavorable outcomes in our lives:
Acknowledge the tension inside you. – If you notice yourself getting angry and flustered, it’s a sign that you need to pause, take a deep breath, and practice the remaining steps.
Resist the urge to act in haste. – The greatest harm comes whenever you act out of anger — actions that might include giving up too soon, consuming unhealthy substances, or even attacking someone else. So whenever you notice anger building up inside you, try not to take any form of destructive action. Instead, turn inward and mindfully assess whatever it is that’s arising.
Sit with your feelings, and give them space. – Turn directly towards the tension you feel, and just be a witness. See it as something that’s passing through you, but is NOT YOU. It’s a feeling, a dark cloud passing across a vast sky, not a permanent fixture. Treat it that way. Instead of obsessing yourself with the dark cloud’s presence, try to broaden your perspective — give it the space it needs to pass. Sometimes you need a little distance to see things clearly again.
Be OK with not knowing. – Now that you’ve given yourself some necessary space, tell yourself, “I don’t know why things are this way.” And be OK with this unknowing. Give yourself full permission to not have concrete answers in this moment.
The bottom line is that when life dishes you a harsh dose of reality, the best first steps involve sitting silently and witnessing the thoughts passing through you. Just witnessing at first, not interfering and not even judging, because by judging too rapidly you have lost the pure witness. The moment you rush to say, “this is absolutely terrible” or “things should be different,” you have already jumped head first into the chaotic tension.
It takes practice to create a gap between the witnessing of thoughts and your response to them. Once the gap is there, however, you are in for a great surprise — it becomes evident that you are not the thoughts themselves, nor the tension and chaos influencing them. You are the witness, a watcher, who’s capable of changing your mind and rising above the turmoil.
Despair is the price one pays for self-awareness. Look deeply into life, and you’ll always find despair.
Irvin D. Yalom
She says this is what he really means:
“I can’t find it.” MEANS: It didn’t fall into my outstretched hands, so I am completely clueless.
“That’s women’s work.” MEANS: It’s difficult, dirty, and thankless.
“Will you marry me?” MEANS: Both of my roommates have moved out, I can’t find the washer, and there’s no milk left.
“It’s a guy thing.” MEANS: There’s no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.
“Can I help with dinner?” MEANS: Why isn’t it already on the table?
“It would take too long to explain.” MEANS: I have no idea how it works.
“I’m getting more exercise lately.” MEANS: The batteries in the remote are dead.
“We’re going to be late.” MEANS: I have a legitimate reason for driving like a maniac.
“Take a break, honey, you’re working too hard.” MEANS: I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.
“That’s interesting dear.” MEANS: Are you still talking?
“Honey, we don’t need material things to prove our love.” MEANS: I forgot our anniversary again.
“You expect too much from me.” MEANS: You expect me to stay awake?
“It’s really a good movie.” MEANS: It’s got guns, knives, fast cars, and half clothed women.
“You know how bad my memory is.” MEANS: I remember the words to the theme song of F-Troop, the address of the first girl I kissed, and the vehicle identification number of every car I’ve ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.
A Doctor’s secretary called an old farmer out my way and said: “Your check came back.”
The old man replied, “So did my arthritis.”
Bob is a favorite conductor among commuters on the Long Island Rail Road. He has great rapport with the regulars, but occasionally runs into a problem rider. One passenger, for instance, seemed irritated at having to hand over his ticket to be punched.
“Where are you going today?” Bob asked, smiling.
“Well, what does the ticket say?” replied the traveler sarcastically.
“Um, it says you’re on the wrong train,” Bob informed him.
“What am I supposed to do now?” asked the flustered passenger.
Returning the punched card, Bob replied calmly, “Ask the ticket.”
“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive.
Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.”
In the same vain, an executive of a company I once worked for told me that he “would rather have an imperfect Christmas Tree in mid-December than a perfect tree in mid-January.” His words have stuck with me ever since. How often do we withhold something of value because it is not yet perfect? In my experience we often find that others can fine tune our work and perfection soon comes after we have made a timely release of something of value.
“If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?”
A man walks into a dentist’s office and says, “Excuse me, can you help me. I think I’m a moth.”
Dentist: “You don’t need a dentist. You need a psychiatrist.”
Man: “Yes, I know.”
Dentist: “So why did you come in here?”
Man: “The light was on…”
The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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