Saturday, January 15, 2011

Get a Handle on the Situation

Pull yourself together, get a grip on the handle, don't panic, it's only January 2011. Eventually this month will vanish, never to return. Most of what happens now will be forgotten, except for the shocking events taking place at this moment, flooding in Australia, mudslides in Brazil. It's in the news, a spectrum of human suffering ranging from total trauma to minor irritation. Whatever the situation, one has no choice but to deal with oneself.

Of course, it's easy to sit back in the armchair and offer opinions and useless suggestions, based on incomplete understanding of what's going on. I'm learning to keep quiet. There's nothing worse than telling someone you don't feel good and then listening to the person give condescending advice. The person's advice betrays a lack of compassion and understanding. In fact, compassion and understanding are linked. In order to open your heart to someone, you have to be able to listen and be willing to at least make an effort to understand how the other person feels. There's a reason, or set of circumstances, behind a person's behavior or situation. Instead of judging, why not take a moment and connect with the humanity of the person involved?

I was once told that when you don't feel good, you should talk to somebody. That approach often backfires, as you see the person become alarmed. Then you end up having to reassure the person that you're ok, everything is fine and that you don't really have a problem. It's important to be careful to not talk to people when you feel bad, or at least, to be very careful about who you choose. Make sure it's ok with the person. I'm no expert.

It boils down to the fact that one has to keep going, even though it feels like one can't take another step. One falls down in the snow. One has to get up and keep walking, in order to get to a warm place. Each person is responsible for his or her state of mind. In order to make life bearable, I use negative states of mind as a reminder to not forget the wider perspective. Whenever nagging thoughts start happening I shout: stop! Pay attention to sight and sound. Of course, I'm being a bit of a hypocrite here. I do have a bad habit of grumbling. Sometimes, probably like most people, I do need to talk to somebody. Talking about problems often makes them appear much less threatening. Once I calm down, it's easier to figure out how to proceed.

There's a bright side to this post. I've been blessed with a few wonderful friends and would like to extend what I've learned from them by saying: ladies and gentlemen of the dreaming universe, if you need somebody to talk to, Dreaming Man will listen.

No comments: