I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Peace and Love

Raindrops on Peace and Love

It's the name of this beautiful rose, which I photographed on Friday, after John dropped me off at the Cornwall Rose Garden. So pretty, don't you think?
Love and peace of mind do protect us. They allow us to overcome the problems that life hands us. They teach us to survive... to live now... to have the courage to confront each day. —Bernie Siegel

This has been quite a week of hard news, and I'm working hard to find some peace and love to bolster me. And the Rose Garden handed me this rose to admire, smell, and appreciate. Wouldn't you know it would be entitled "Peace and Love"?

There are plenty of other events going on in the world, but in my own news cycles, with two January 6 hearings that had me wide-eyed at times, the war in Ukraine not going so well, and then Roe v. Wade being overturned, with many more similar rulings likely in our near future, well, I'm finding it hard to just stop and smell the roses.

But really, what else can I do? Yesterday I just had to turn off the news, since the news anchors just keep going over and over the same facts, and after awhile I could feel myself shutting down, a heaviness coming over me as I reached for a glass of wine. Of course that only helped temporarily, and I knew that I needed to face what is bothering me so much. I'm old enough to know that nothing stays the same, life is constantly changing, in flux, and that nothing lasts forever.

On top of all that, we are also experiencing a warm spell that is allowing us here in the Pacific Northwest to share what most of the rest of the country has already been feeling. Until yesterday, we had not gotten much above our normal temperatures, but now we are under a heat advisory until late tomorrow night. Then we'll return to our normal moderate weather, at least for awhile. My friend Melanie and I decided to walk the Interurban trail yesterday, which is shaded and quite comfortable. It was only when we were out in full sun on city pavement that it really felt hot. Plus I was able to stay inside, with fans and cool drinks, where it was quite nice during most of the afternoon.

Last year at this time we had a very unusual heat wave, setting temperature records for highs all over the area. I remember sitting in the living room with the TV on, fans on full blast everywhere, and barely able to tolerate the heat. We even reached triple digits on one day before it let up. We had never before gotten that hot in Bellingham. So, when I look back, I can be grateful that this heat wave is just normal, not exceptional. I do, however, realize that the discomfort we are dealing with is nothing compared to many parts of the world. So yes, I am grateful.

I looked up online what ways people can use to deal with despair and found this wonderful article on Psychology Today, which I also discovered has numerous blogs on every possible human condition. This one, however, is about how to deal with despair, and lists these five coping mechanisms:

(1) Take your despair for a walk. Good advice. I always feel better once I get outdoors and into the beautiful green environment that is my neighborhood. And after a few minutes, my perspective usually changes for the better.

(2) Give your sorrow words. It always helps me to find other people who are feeling the same as I am, and to read words of wisdom from authors and poets who know how to articulate what it means to be a human experiencing a tough time,

(3) Honor your despair. The article points out how pushing away or avoiding the situation doesn't help, but really makes it worse. Everyone in every life will have moments of despair, and acknowledging it actually helps to make it better.

(4) Seek out fellowship. Finding others who you can share your feelings with will definitely help everyone. I spent some time talking with my neighbor yesterday, and both of us shared tears over a glass of wine. Both of us felt somewhat better afterwards, I think.

(5) Avoid toxic positivity. This was a new one for me. I realize after pondering its meaning that what it is saying is that it doesn't help to put a happy face on it when you're feeling really bad. I cannot hide my despair, and I surely shouldn't even try.

Maybe it's time to start to think about all the wonders that surround me here. First of all, I'm sitting up in my bed, as usual, tapping away at my laptop, and looking forward to purchasing a new one in a month or two. I love my MacBook Air from 2019, but now that Apple has upgraded it, I'll be buying a new one. You wouldn't think that three years is a full lifetime for a laptop, but it really is. I use it every day, and it's become the main way that I watch videos. When I binge-watch a series, it's usually on my laptop with headphones. 

I talk to my sister Norma Jean once a month on here, too, and seeing her face in even more detail on FaceTime will be like she's right here with me. She's still swimming a mile every morning, and she looks good, which makes me very happy. My connection to her is essential to my continuing happiness. Between Norma Jean and SG, I have two wonderful people with whom I can share my ups and downs, and that makes all the difference. So, looking at my life from a new perspective, I realize that I will get through this rough patch without any permanent scars (at least that's what I'm hoping). How about you? How do you deal with... whatever? 

And yes, it's that time again. I am finished with my tea, my dear partner still sleeps next to me, and the sun has already raised the temperature, even early in the morning, by a few degrees. I'll put on my Big Girl shorts and sandals and share a nice breakfast with my friend John, before returning home for some good conversation and hugs with my guy. Yes, life is good, still. I have so much gratitude for everything. That includes you, my dear readers, and I do hope you find a way to experience the wonders that are everywhere, if we just stop to look. 

Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things, and that you will find a way to remain comfortable in your own world. Be well.


ApacheDug said...

I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I'm feeling a little closer than usual to you right now. As always, your Sunday column is a thoughtful read; but what you wrote of despair here, and those five points for dealing with it, I very much appreciated. It helps. Hey, I also wanted to thank you for what you wrote on my recent blog regarding my mom. That's what that post was mostly about and I feel like you saw that, and it meant a lot DJan. Take care. 🙂♥️

Arkansas Patti said...

I love the idea of taking your despair for a walk. When I get down, I do something physical if only house work. It really does help. That and like you, not listening to the news analysis for very long. I get the main points, then move on. Sometime I form a plan but usually know my only power is in the voting booth. Come on November.

Marie Smith said...

It’s been a hard news week. I watch one major news cast and ignore the rest. I cannot do anything about most of it. Nature keeps me going plus friends and family. The vegetables are finally planted for this year and temperatures are in the 20s. The island breeze keeps us cool. Summer is a welcome visitor who distracts us from all the terrible news. Take care, dear Jan. Have a great week.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. For the rose, for your honesty and your wise advice.
Heartfelt hugs.

Linda Reeder said...

I wish I could take my despair for a good long walk, but much of my despair is over my increasing loss of mobility. But I keep trying, and even a short walk helps. I also have a garden to work in. It's getting harder, but I can still get down on my knees and work up close and personal with my plants, and my weeds.:-)
It's rose time in our PNW gardens, always a special time. I hope this heat wave is short, and stays away for a while. Like the flowers, I wilt and fade in the heat now.
We spent three days on Whidbey Island this last week. I have photos to post, probably Monday when it will be still too hot to work outside. I also have three appointments this week, one for a hip injection, one for a much needed haircut, and one for a hearing test. Oh, and another Sounders match at the stadium Wednesday evening. A busy week will help me come down from my "despair" which feels like loss of faith in my government.
Thanks for another thoughtful and thought provoking post.

gigi-hawaii said...

When I am despondent, I like to remember the good times with family in my home through the years. That always brightens my mood. Cheers! Gigi hawaii

Galen Pearl said...

I finally caved in after the last two summers, especially the last one, and got AC for my house. 31 years without it and that was fine until these recent summers. So today I turned the AC on for the first time. Wow. It's like a miracle.

About despair, like you, I try to stay away from too much news. I don't have TV/cable anymore, but it doesn't prevent me from looking at new on the computer. I relish my weekends at the cabin when I am unplugged from phone and internet. Yes, being outside is so helpful. Lately, I've been spending more time barefoot outside, especially in the forest around the cabin. Having my feet in direct contact with the earth is powerful. I realized how rarely I do that, but now I go barefoot more deliberately and mindfully.

John's Island said...

DJan, After reading this post I sat here for a while just thinking about Eye on the Edge and why I’ve enjoyed being here over the last decade or so. I think there are several reasons, but one of the primary ones is kindness. You have an unusually kind way of interacting with your followers. So this week you’ve been a little down with all the negative news. Instead of just grumbling, you did a little research and found the excellent article in Psychology Today, and shared, with all of us, the 5 Ways to Cope with Despair. I’m grateful and believe I can see the same feeling in some of the other comments. As always, thank you for sharing and I wish you a fine week ahead. John

Gigi said...

I usually stay away from the news. I'll skim the headlines in the local paper and focus on a few articles but other than that - I try to stay away.

This has been a hard week, news-wise. And it has definitely led to despair, shock, anger and sadness. But despite all that, there is still many things that we should remember to be grateful for - and that's what I'm striving for today; gratefulness.

Sending hugs. Have a wonderful week.

Red said...

I do think of world ,national and local problems. I don't see changes forward thinking policies . I am generally a very positive person so it helps me get through that I think things will work out.

Barbara Rogers said...

I imagine the great hand/creator/beingness that brought us into being as humans thinking...well maybe this will get those Democrats off their axxes and have some leadership!

Sheila said...

There are a lot of things you can do. Donate to reproductive justice funds, write your legislators, attend rallies, volunteer for reproductive justice organizations, write letters to the newspapers. If you're in a state that supports reproductive justice, ask your legislators to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. There is a place for everyone in this fight, no matter your age (I'm a great grandmother) or mobility.

Glenda Beall said...

I deal with despair or depression more lately and look for ways to handle it. This weekend I have binged on TV shows. I watched the entire fourth season of Yellowstone today. Here in my area COVID has come back on top of all the other bad news. My sister and BIL are both very sick with it this weekend. I am staying in and spending too much time on my computer, but it is too hot to go out anyway. I appreciate your advice, especially about not trying to put on a happy face when we are really hurting inside. Good post.

Rian said...

Again, I'm late commenting. But want to say that I did read the article you mentioned on depression. I don't think this has ever befallen me, but there are times that I feel a bit 'sad' - and don't have the motivation to 'do anything'. But it generally doesn't last... and I figure it has to do with both aging and the current situations our world is in. Doing something for someone else (even something as small as making brownies for DH and grandson or writing a letter to a friend) helps...

Far Side of Fifty said...

You have to allow yourself to be happy, to appreciate every day and to do the things that you can do something about. Everyone is in such turmoil and angst. It even shows up in their driving habits...speeding past people on the left and pulling out in front of people...it is scary.
Today I am cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry and most likely cooking supper because that is what I can do today. Tomorrow I am sitting with my Dad so Mom can run an errand to Fargo to get a new sewing machine so she can sew again.
Little things will keep us all sane:)

Debby said...

I have to tell you that the more awful the news, the more inclined I am to simply take a deep breath, turn off the television, hie myself off to the garden. Something about narrowing my focus helps me a great deal. There is so much I cannot do. So much that I have no control over. But...I can weed like nobody's business.

I always come back to the big picture. You cannot avoid it, can you? I write my e-mails, leave my messages, and I will vote my conscience. That's all I can do.

Peace to you.