Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Addendum to yesterday’s post:
As my sister reminded me last night (and which I share with you here in these days that are so hard to “keep a level head”): STAY IN THE LOVE OF THE LORD because there is a much bigger picture far above and beyond the tyranny of the urgent, both on the ground (in the political fray) and “above the ground,” so to speak.
I would also add, DO NOT ENGAGE WITH RAGE.
Rage leads nowhere but to more–and worse–of the same.
There is a point at which rage (not the same as righteous anger, but by definition, “violent and uncontrolled” also known as “maladaptive anger” that is counterproductive) deters rational analysis which is a different and higher level of thought, aka critical thinking, that leads to more comprehensive solutions to whatever fear or threat is presented or perhaps ginned up by some who know how to control using emotional manipulation.
Part of this might be explained by the physiology of such intense negative emotions that originate in what is commonly known as the “bottom of the brain” (amygdala) where essential emotions such as “fight/flight/freeze” originate along with the base positive responses to stimuli.
“Staying there” beyond normal limits by fueling whatever positive or in this case negative (I would add powerful and fearful) emotion keeps us there, keeps us busy responding in fear. And if the fear is fed by hate and rage, it becomes harder and harder to “leave” and to do the more painstaking work of reflection, research, analysis–and most importantly, making lasting progress.
By way of further encouragement for those finding it difficult to fend off frustration, fear, and fury, I also offer the following.
There is a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling called “If” that comes to mind, although with all due respect to Kipling, I would add many others to the recipients of his sage advice. Here is the poem:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
…and/or (I would add) “my”…daughter, partner, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, and everyone/anyone else in need of encouragement today. And change “Man” to “the best person each one desires to be”.
In short, retain access to all areas of your brain, i.e., don’t get trapped in just one, so that you maintain greater potential to access the best analyses of–and solutions to–whatever the problems.
I would also add, remain in good cheer. Consider this additional advice: A MERRY HEART DOETH GOOD LIKE A MEDICINE…
“Merry” as in “joyful, showing joy.”
You mean EVEN NOW, considering the seemingly fast-degrading state of politics in particular?
Yes. Especially now!
One way to do so is to remain in the love of God, as noted above. Also, don’t forget to include laughter and a good portion of other positive emotions in your busy schedule.
To remind myself of the importance of this, I have a sign that hangs in a prominent place in my kitchen that reads, “Do one thing every day that makes you happy.”
For me, that’s not just wall decor. It’s a perscription. Take at will.
Perhaps that advice will help you, too, deal a bit better with the rage.
And staying joy-filled as much as possible is, I hope, the most important take-away for you from this post
Because rage, along with other forms of unrequited and/or unexamined stress, does serious damage to the immune system–which then hampers the ability to remain healthy-minded, so to speak, as well.
To sum it all up: my encouragement to you today is to stay well, open-minded, and aware of the bigger picture.
At all times.
As much as possible.