Stay above the noise Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Friday, 16 October 2020 12:51
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We find ourselves in the seventh month of this pandemic and we’re all wondering how to keep living with meaning and purpose when so many things are falling apart around us.

So, girlfriend, what are your biggest worries, fears and frustrations right now? Christy Whitman calls it contrast and she says it happens all day, every day from being yelled at by a perfect stranger in a parking lot to getting a rude reply to a fun post you put on social media.

In the year of the pandemic a lot of contrast is played out as financial disaster, especially for trades relying on in-person contact. Things simply don’t work the way they used to. By the way, fifty years ago – way back in 1970 – Alvin Toffler wrote in ‘Future Shock’: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

I take it we’re learning how to relearn, but this can’t really be seen from too close, in terms of time. We’ll know eventually, yet we have to make decisions without the benefit of hindsight. Ali Brown says that a friend once told her, “Ali, in the middle of a surgery it looks like murder. Even if you know it’s going to save that person’s life, it’s a bloody mess.”

If you focus on the mess, you allow your frustration, fear and worry to run rampant, which might lead to severe overwhelm and eventually to sickness. That’s why it is your biggest responsibility in life to learn how to change your focus.

Madisyn Taylor says that there will always be factors and people that we cannot control, but how we respond to them can determine the quality of our lives.

“There are many stories of spiritual masters embracing the presence of an annoying student in their community. There is even one story that documents a teacher paying an irritating person to live among his students.”

We usually try to steer clear of people and things we find exasperating so that they can’t bother us. But, says Madisyn, being able to remain centred and awake even when we feel uncomfortable is much more impressive than doing so in an environment where everything is to our liking.

The challenge is that we’ve never been taught how to manage our internal weather. We simply respond to people and circumstances outside of ourselves and blame them for how we’re feeling.

Your natural response may be to tense up on a physical level when faced with irksome people, upsetting situations or basic uncertainty. You might simply notice your tense shoulders or the knot in your stomach and be unaware of how you’re bracing yourself against that which you don’t want to experience. Only later may you become aware of your changing emotions, which might suddenly hit you like a bolt out of the blue.

Of course you’re going to resent experiencing unpleasant emotions. Mostly we deal with it, but sometimes resentment doesn’t fade and is transformed into bitterness. Madisyn says that bitter feelings allow us to become perfect victims in that we no longer feel obliged to work towards healing and choose instead to identify with our pain.

“Yet as unwholesome as bitterness can be, it is also a natural element of our emotional palette. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel bitter, we reconnect with our hurt in a constructive way and can begin the process of working through it,” she says.

Girlfriend, please keep reminding yourself that you are the only person truly affected by your emotional state. You are also the only person who can control it. That is why you have to be aware of where your attention goes, because that is where your energy will flow, expanding what you’re focusing on regardless of your present-moment reality. You don’t want fear to feed this expansion, do you?

Then take a deep breath, close your eyes and get off the emotional treadmill. Simply be aware. Do what you have to do to stay above the noise, whether that is meditation, going for a brisk walk or being in nature.

It’s sort of like Winnie the Pooh’s poetry and hums. “Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you.”

Besoek die Suid-Afrikaanse Departement van Gesondheid se webwerf vir alle amptelike inligting en opdaterings rakende COVID-19 by www.SAcoronavirus.co.za
 

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