Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Do you ever feel that uncomfortable twist in your gut, that undefined sense of unease? That feeling like a vibrating bass note, long and sustained.

What is off-kilter? Sometimes it is obvious and mundane--the ingestion of too much "news," world events beyond my influence, or echoes of the past. But generally, for me, the unease has roots in wanting control. Control to avoid or minimize pain. Control in knowing the future. Ha. The notion of control is intellectually laughable and yet a part of me clings to it.

This brings me back to the 20 questions Martha Beck posed in a article.

One of the questions the article recommends asking yourself is "How can I keep myself absolutely safe?" Ms. Beck's commentary on that question is a sound:
Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer: You can't. Life is inherently uncertain. The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi-life, but to develop courage. Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this.

I find that following her advice takes mental vigilance.

The things I can control is another story. I am more deliberate about the inputs I allow into my life. I used to love watching Sunday morning political talk shows. I have removed the agitated, high-pitch vitriol, the crafted anxiety and anger. News is consumed in moderation without the hyperbole. I even take earplugs and the iPod to airports and other public settings where 24-hour news blasts from televisions.

Change the things I can. Accept I am powerless over everything else. And that wisdom part, yeah, that helps too.

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