19 April 2021

Uncertainty and Anxiety

 We live in uncertain times.  Covid, political unrest, climate change, all big issues that concern all of us because they threaten our well-being.  Humans instinctually do what it takes to survive, or at least what we think will allow us to survive.  Right now our survival faces threats that are biological and social, and these overlap.  The Corona Virus presents the most obvious threat to our survival, but since it has been politicized in some countries, like the US, there is overlap between the biological and the political.  Likewise climate change threatens our lives, and the politicization of climate change creates overlap again.  In other words, these three things all overlap in a Venn Diagram.  The point is that yes it is real, threats to human survival exist.

Humans are sensitive creatures.  We perceive with our physical senses and we perceive with our emotional senses.  We detect emotions in ourselves and others, and our emotions are often in response to our experiences.  We experience emotions regarding the threats I outlined above.  

If you are having emotional responses, if any aspects of our reality cause you to feel sad, or angry, or afraid, you might also be feeling some anxiety.  Anxiety is one of your body's natural responses to stress. It's a heightened state wherein your adrenal glands are activated, fueling your mind and body to respond to the stressor.  Sometimes anxiety is like an alarm, sometimes it's like a massive storm.

There are a variety of techniques one can employ to reduce anxiety.  Pharmaceuticals is one.  Nutritional and/or herbal remedies can also be helpful.  Learning to regulate your nervous system through mindfulness and breathing is perhaps the most accessible since it doesn't require a trip to the doctor or the store.

Relaxation & Finding Inner Teachings is a set of three audio recordings which lead the listener through a guided imagery experience designed to reduce anxiety and increase a sense of well-being.  If you have no experience with meditation or guided imagery, these are a great place to start.

If you are someone who already knows how to meditate or engage in deep relaxation, these tools can help you to reduce anxiety.  Knowing how to do something and remembering to do it, however, are two different things.  I encourage you to remember the tools you have, and to use them. You may already have at your disposal methods to make you feel better, even during these uncertain times.

17 April 2021

Hey Empaths This Is For You!

 The trick to not being emotionally laid low by the world is to differentiate between one's personal challenges which one can effect, and the big "humanity sized" challenges which are rarely effected significantly by one person, and to adjust one's responses accordingly.

We all face whatever local challenges we face, in relationships, work life, finances, etc.; whatever these happen to be. We are able to make choices in these arenas, more or less, depending on a number of variables including the cultural or societal, depending on where we live.

Then there are the big humanity sized issues that change more gradually, and usually through social movements.  These are very gradual, groups of humans effect change on the global scale at a much slower rate than we individuals do in our local scenarios.

I have experienced, and may other empathic people have told me similar stories, a lot of distress from and about the big human issues; our brutality, corruption, and all that stuff.  It can be painful to be aware of these things, and we now have awareness of so much of what happens in the world because of the internet and the ubiquitous devices bringing us information all the time.  It's a bit much!

What I am learning is that if I separate out my personal local stuff from the big humanity sized stuff, when I am feeling most clear, I can choose to be aware of the big stuff and respond to it in whatever ways I choose, and not be laid low emotionally by all that, or at least be laid low emotionally less severely and less of the time.  If I focus on making my local situation as good as I can, and am fortunate to exist in a context where I can do that and appreciate that, it fuels my resilience for responding to the big stuff.

Responsibility, the ability to respond; if I can respond, especially in a creative or helpful way, however small, to the big issues, that also fuels my resilience in dealing with my local personal life issues.

People who are strongly empathic can find themselves experiencing empathy fatigue.  By working within ourselves we can reduce and maybe even prevent that.


27 March 2021

This Human Journey

 Today I am recovering from my second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.  Last night was rough; fever, aches, very unpleasant. Today I am better, though exhausted from last night.  I'm sure all that informs how I am feeling.

Reading about what's happening in Myanmar, children gunned down in the street by soldiers (with Russian weapons, supplied by Russia), dozens killed yesterday, and dozens in the weeks since the coup, and how many more?

10 people gunned down by yet another young white male shooter in the US; where is the response that says we must address why and how our society creates these killers?  I don't see it.  I don't hear it.

Violence is one of humanity's most enduring problems, our violence.  War, domestic violence, violence on the streets, the systemic violence of racism (Georgia passing Jim Crow voting restriction laws this week), violence against women (Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that it isn't rape if the woman ingested alcohol prior to the forced non-consensual sexual activity) and the list goes on and on.

Are we evolving or are we de-evolving? I wonder.

22 January 2021

May the healing begin...

How to begin? How to turn the corner from the feelings of anger and grief, of feeling terrorized and violated, for myself and on behalf of others. I’m not quite there but I am beginning to see that it is necessary to turn this over, to let go of the vitriol and focus on what has been so horrific and appalling.

We’re emerging from four years of a deeply abusive relationship, complete with violence, gaslighting, pillaging, and more. The country has been traumatized, and it already was traumatized, but this last four years has been a concentrated dose of poison.


There are a lot of people for whom the abuse and trauma was not just psychological, it was and still is physical.  There are families that have been separated and may never find each other again.  There are over 400,000 people dead from a virus, many of those deaths were preventable.  People have been killed, and injured from the trickle down of bigotry from “on high.”  The wounds are many and healing is gradual.

Perhaps we need a Truth & Reconciliation process.  Perhaps we need to broadly encourage people to express themselves as part of their healing, in art, in sharing with loved ones, in ceremony and ritual even. This has been a nightmare and we are not out of it yet.  What happens next?  How DO we heal as a people?  Do we have to heal as individuals first?  Maybe they are the same thing.  

Our country was facing huge challenges before this period of toxic regression and chicanery, and those challenges did not go away.  Some are now more difficult.  Some areas have made progress, ironically because of the virus. We add to all of that the recovery and reconstruction required now. It looks like a lot of work. 


Part of our work has got to be celebrating and helping each other.  Isn't that the antidote to cruelty and deceit?

17 January 2021

On this day...

 It's Sunday, the day I shop at 7 AM, during the "Old People's" shopping time.  It's my one outing, and it's weekly.  I shopped as usual, and driving home, listening to George Harrison "Living in the Material World" I felt so strongly George's presence, and I asked him to help.  Help me.  Whatever the work is that's left for me, and there seems to be plenty of it, I am still here, and I sure could use help.  Then they just flooded in, all my beloved dead; Maureen, my parents, my brother, Madelin; so many have passed.  And I remembered how all of us who live are descended from people who lived through so much.  I thought of my friend Yoeke's mother, who survived a nazi concentration camp.  I think of my melinated friends and what they go through.  

On this week's episode of Paradigms I spoke with Sandor Katz about his new book "Fermentation as Metaphor".  One thing he shared is that we are each made up of and host to trillions of micro-organisms, and it made me think, maybe we can appeal to or somehow reach out to the micro-organisms in the people who are filled with rage and believing lies and pushing a violent racist agenda.  We know that meditation changes the literal vibrations around the meditator.  Do these concepts offer ways to get through to people who are so lost they don't believe their own eyes and ears anymore, but only what they are told by someone they idolize? 

It's morning still, early.  What will this day bring?