It doesn’t take much to make one jump out of their shoes nowadays. We’re all a little on edge for at least a minimum of twenty reasons. Those of us who aren’t on edge have gone into the second phase of mood-altering mindfulness, that of operating in a semi-state of numbness. A constant state of feeling tense will do that to a person.
Choose any newspaper headline, television news report, or listen in on any random conversation while waiting in any line when running errands here and there. If bad news isn’t happening to you personally, it’s happening to someone you know, not to mention the really big bad news that constantly hovers overhead which involves War, Corporate Greed, Fire Devastation, and Political Corruption all at the same time. Or, for that matter, just sit and wait for the check that never arrives in the mail while the bills keep piling higher and higher. Cash flow placeboes anyone?
The feelings of helplessness are overwhelming. Where and how does one possibly begin to rise above the constant paralysis of general fear? There’s nowhere to run and hide, there’s no one who can truly offer protection from anything or anyone else. The only place where one can go for a temporary respite from real life is to experience horror at the movies. A few hours of cinematic reel life can make one feel grateful for the humdrum of routine. NOT!!! I’m sorry to say that most current flicks are disgusting and disappointing, certainly not worth the price of matinee admission even.
The plain and simple fact is that there is no escape from life, no matter how dark and drear it may seem, whenever, for whatever reasons. There has never been, nor will there ever be any quick fix for anything in terms of what ails our country, our ecology, our government, our attitudes, our healthcare system, our educational system, etc.
There are few suggestions that may help one to quietly cope, as well as offer a few reminders of what life is for in terms of grand purpose. First, it is necessary to define “happiness.” When someone says that all they wish for is to be happy, it would seem that she/he has never experienced happiness at all. In reality, “happiness” is a moment of pure joy, which may be prolonged over a period of time, but the intensity of it is instant and immediately begins to ebb or dissipate over time, though of course, the afterglow of that happy moment will always have a lasting impact. A constant state of euphoria can only be drug-induced, when in fact it is beyond human capacity to maintain a high level of any specific emotion. Measured biological readings would attest to this fact. This is the bad news.
The good news is that one can experience a limitless number of happy moments. Given this premise, it makes logical sense then that one can strive to experience as many “happy moments” as possible without any ill effect. So, rather than think of happiness as a state of being, think of creating moments of happiness that can be freeze-framed as if collecting photographs for a photo album. How many happy moments can one possibly create in one day, think about it.
What creates a happy moment for one person will vary for another, but overall, they are easily shared and just as infectious as any sadness. One might even have to practice the creation of happy moments in order to get to a point where it becomes natural, rather than contrived. The upside to all of this, of course, is being or living in each moment.
As for “grand purpose,” each person has the responsibility of living the life that has been given to every human soul by being and doing everything in one’s power to learn, share, and participate in making, preserving and bettering the world as we know it.
The second fact is that change is constant, as is the ocean tides that have washed ashore since the beginning of time. All one has to do is to take a stroll along the beach or desert sands and know that for centuries human beings around the planet have stared up at the same sun, moon and stars since we arrived. In spite of the numerous wars, holocausts, plagues, natural disasters, the will for human survival is indestructible. Each of us, represented by one grain of sand on the beach, participates in the ongoing saga of man’s evolution.
Now, with these two simple facts in mind, regarding no escape from life and constant change, juxtaposed with life’s grand purpose, perhaps with some deep breathing exercises, one can begin to slough off the lethargy created by tension, fear of the unknown, and discomfort caused by the prevailing winds, which cause the wildfires to run rampant, not only on the earth, but also in our psyche.
Remembering to take numerous deep breaths throughout the day will help to keep one’s mind clear and focused. Then it will become easier for one to become more active in positive ways that can help assist others who are not as fortunate or strong. There is safety in numbers after all, so why continue to think as if one is alone? Voices in unison are heard more readily than any single orator. Combined voices can create change; it is inevitable.
There is a multitude of tasks that can be accomplished in small ways, which are all stepping-stones to becoming involved, taking action, and creating moments for peace of mind. Picking up trash or litter anywhere/everywhere, looking up community organizations requesting the help of volunteers and offering a few hours a week, cleaning out your closet/attic and making donations to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, write letters to anyone/everyone for whatever reason necessary, plant a tree, take a walk and smile at as many people as you can get away with… you get the idea.
To create moments of happiness, be mindful of all that is beautiful in our world and share it with others. Indulge your sense of aesthetics by visiting the museum, art galleries, listening to music that feeds your soul, experience the grandeur of nature from the minute to the majestic, begin a craft project, make your own cards and gifts, read poetry aloud to anyone who will listen… you get the idea. Sit quietly, breathe in deeply, exhale slowly, remember the smiling faces of loved ones and know that all is right with the world, in spite of prevailing times, because change is constant and we ride the tides of change together.