Control Center Alert

Although, I ignored my “Control Center Alert” instructions for years, due to time spent in deep, dark pits, I now pay attention.

IN CASE OF:

  • Overwhelm

  • Tragedy

  • Panic

  • Depression

  • Exhaustion

“…think about these things…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…”

Dwelling on what is scary, dreary, horrid, painful, wrong, and depressing never worked.

Even though it seemed counter-intuitive and too simple, soaking my brain in beauty did. I now use books and the internet to refuel on success stories, overcoming obstacles, recovery-after-tragedy, unexpected-redemption-in-dark-places, love, loyalty, art, nature, animals, and role-models. The change I feel inside is immediate.

Pain to progress. Darkness to light.

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If We Want to Come out on the Other Side

Often the thing that makes us crazy is the fear of losing (or never being able to regain) something we think is essential to our happiness.
We often fight, claw, scheme, plot, gamble, bargain with God, fret, worry, and despair in order to hold on to:

  • someone we love
  • our health
  • a job we think we’ve got to have
  • our youth
  • the money we have or want
  • prized possessions
  • our status or illusion of status

Ironically, the only path that will keep this pursuit from turning ugly is to let it go gracefully…whatever or whomever it is.

“Write” Yourself In As the Hero

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I love this quote by Harold Kushner (author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People).

When I think of my life this way, I can trace threads of connection with situations or people through a pattern that is no less interesting than an intricate work of art, or the complicated plot of a great book.

The challenge is in the stopping to notice part.

In order to do so, I must adamantly deny fear, anxiety, and frustration access to my story. Since I am actually a co-author of “this book,” I can intentionally choose to write myself as the character that overcomes the most difficult challenges, arriving at a breath-taking climax: a climax that will tie all the intricacies and mysteries together with one great big sigh of relief.

Worried about Doomsday…Again?

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I just saw that September 23rd has been predicted to be the end of the world.
Do you think they were referring to September 23rd in Australia or in the US?
I am curious because I will, ironically, be in Australia on September 23rd and, one day later, arriving back in the US on the 23rd. Which part of the trip should I be worried about?
I am speaking tongue in cheek, but, in reality, even barring a catastrophic end of the world tomorrow, September 23rd will be the end of “the world” for many.
The harsh truth is that many die every day…and one of them someday will be me.
So, I guess a “double” doomsday prediction should give me nothing more to worry about.
A very happy September 22nd to us all.

GAD and Egad!

A symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is jumping from one bleak thought into depression about everything, e.g., one error leads to the thought that I am worthless, which leads to thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made, which leads to how utterly hopeless I am, which leads to the whole world sucks and nothing will ever get better.

Some GAD sufferers benefit from medication to help with brain chemistry, some, the listening ear of a good counselor or coach, and all, an EGAD (Eradicate GAD plan). My Egad goes like this:

  1. Egad! I’m in a hole again.
  2. Quick, change the soundtrack in my head.
  3. Think about my heroes who changed things by first remembering that nothing is permanent.
  4. Alexa, play “You Better Think” by Aretha Franklin, “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash, or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by IZ.
  5. Now, have a good laugh at how serious I am taking myself.

To Freak-out or Simplify?

Hmmmm, which is better? To freak-out over my concerns or to keep it simple?

What if…? WTF? How will I make it? Why am I such a loser? Who do they think they are? Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do?

Or…

I’m going to do the best I can with what I have, trusting that all will work out, breathing the oxygen that miraculously feeds my trillion cells (while traveling through the Universe at one-thousand MPH on a planet made of hot molten lava).

When Confronted with Injustice and Tragedy

When confronted with injustice and tragedy, (which is a frequent event if we keep up with the news)

Do not merely ask, “Who could do such a thing?” 

Also ask, “Help me recognize the depth of pain, loneliness, and anger in humans who think of doing such things.”

Do not merely ask, “How could something so terrible have happened?”

Also ask, “How can I be more in touch with the painful, tragic things that are happening in people’s lives all over the world, right now.”

Do not merely ask, “How can I physically protect myself and my family from this evil?”

Also ask, “How can I  psychologically shield myself and others from despair and live a courageous life in spite of tragedy?”

That Dream Again

The car is totally out of control on icy roads, wrecking into things, gaining speed, fish-tailing on the edge of dangerous cliffs. As I am being thrown around the car, I am astounded that the driver is allowing this chaos by not even attempting to steer!

Then, horrified, I realize that the focus of my disbelief is sitting in the backseat! I am in the driver’s seat! It has been me, all along, who has abandoned the steering wheel and gotten us into this mess!

I don’t need a psychiatrist to interpret the dream. My subconscious is screaming, “Wake up, quit blaming others for your stress, and take responsibility.”

(Photo courtesy of Mental Floss. Click on photo for link to 12 Common Dreams and What They Supposedly Mean)

Next stop for me: apology…to my “passengers.”

If I Bought a Filter

If I could buy an automatic filter that would not only clean the air, but also remove all of the harmful things I think, say, and do, how different my life would be!  I would…

  1. Think more clearly
  2. Sleep better at night
  3. Become a stronger and kinder person
  4. Be happier
  5. Be less competitive, jealous, or angry
  6. Have more peace and patience
  7. Be more productive
  8. Play better tennis 🙂

Since this miracle “filter” doesn’t exist, my job is to create a routine for myself that functions as the “filter.” It may be a lifetime project, but so far my filter consists of:

  • Setting an intention of radical self-improvement and contribution
  • Daily meditation and prayer
  • Reading and learning from others
  • Honest, on-going evaluation
  • Owning my mistakes quickly

A small price to pay for all the benefits.

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Lemony Snicket Wisdom

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When things don’t go right, go left is good advice but I must do it quickly; move to plan B before I have time to fret, fear, or flounder. Otherwise, I will bog down from the weight of all the disappointment and frustration.

Like this morning, when things started to crumble around me, I couldn’t even get a foothold to change my direction in the onslaught of minutia and miscommunication; redoing my work, spending twice as much time and effort with nothing to show for it in the end. So, I just had to stop, quit taking myself so seriously, and trust that who I was in the moment would be more important in the long run than anything I might accomplish.

It was an anxiety-erasing, temper-soothing directional change. Thanks Lemony Snicket.