Remembering that the veneer of society lasts about a week during severe breakdowns like war, I started flipping through a book in our personal library with the title: JUST IN CASE – How to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens.
Over 200 pages of advice on chemical disinfection of water, solar cooking, home canning, alternative sources of power, foraging, heating with wood, making cheese, and other skills for independence.
Homesteading skills. I realized to my horror, that I don’t have any! Even the thought of having to learn them makes me feel sick to my stomach. I’m your typical city-dwelling “I don’t have to learn how to do anything because I can buy it or hire someone to do it” person. Which is fine as long as civilization holds together. Currently, the seams are looking a little frayed.
Now I understand asylum seekers. I won’t be heading for a safer country if things get out of hand. I will throw myself at the mercy of the Mennonites and Amish – people who can actually do things.
Physical and emotional needs must be attended to, and especially in trying times. If they are not, we become vulnerable to depression, anger, anxiety disorders, greed and addiction.
This is the premise behind the book Human Givens, which is a rich and inspiring body of psychological knowledge to help you improve the quality of your life.
In short, these emotional needs include:
A secure and safe environment.
The ability to give and receive attention.
A sense of autonomy and control.
Being part of a wider community.
Friendship and intimacy.
A sense of competence and achievement.
Meaning and purpose.
Since these are the very things that are currently being demolished, it is very important to find creative ways to overcome these distressing conditions. There are always solutions to feel better. Move your body, phone somebody, watch something uplifting, learn a new skill, play board games, laugh, focus on the future because this too shall pass, change your mood with music, take control over stress eating, feed the birds, cook something from scratch, go for a walk in nature, etc.
Shocks have a way of driving us back to basics. Being loved or encouraging someone else, might be the only meaning and purpose we really need in life.
It was launched on February 28, in honour of my mom’s birthday. I loved her – she had a Ph.D in common sense. She lived longer than Steve Jobs, John Lennon and Martin Luther King, but she died in 1985 at age 57.
The hardest thing about writing this blog is trying to balance positive and happy posts that make you smile, and my natural inclination to write about corruption, lies, and other horrors. I have a weird guilt complex. I feel that if I don’t warn you of potential disasters, and the worst happens, and I say ‘I knew it would happen’, you’ll be angry and wonder why I didn’t tell you. But if I talk about the stygian bleakness when everything feels fine, you’ll want to stop reading because I’m too negative. Clearly I was born with a Cassandra complex.
I can’t just write for Enneagram 7’s and people on anti-depressants, so I will do my best to blend my smiling pessimism with wisdom that you can actually benefit from. And maybe even enjoy reading. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
Time is life. If I waste time, I am wasting my life. But Aristotle said that leisure is true wealth.
Set goals and exercise the “want” muscle in your brain. But what if you are content?
Simplify your life. It promotes peace. I see the opposite – complexity and chaos and the eternal hamster wheel of busyness in most lives.
Goals – if the mind doesn’t have a defined target, energy is squandered. But sometimes the target eats up all the energy that your family and friends might like a piece of.
Remember, being productive also means coughing up phlegm. Beware of definitions that might be more beneficial to others rather than you. Every employer wants a productive workforce. Workaholics are good for the bottom line. But who really reaps most of the rewards?
“I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”
In the book Growing Down by Barry J. Robinson, he writes about this very common attitude:
“Holding people in their sins is a popular pastime. Few of us can resist it. I know something wrong that you have done and, no matter where it falls on the continuum of wrongdoing, it has lodged squarely in my mind. It is the way I see you whenever I look at you from now on. The woman who had an abortion at eighteen. The man who got caught cheating on his wife. The person who failed at his job.”
“And yet, how simple it is to let someone go, to unlock our hold on their sins, and release them to live a new life. It is what human freedom is all about – both the freedom we give another from releasing them from their past and the freedom we receive from choosing to be our deepest and most loving selves.”
He relates a story about a man named Joe and therapist Milton Erickson to illustrate the point. An excerpt about “You can if you’re a gentleman” can be found here.
The Ascetic Experience is a blog I subscribe to because I love the pictures and meditations of this group of Greek monks. Orthodoxy has a unique beauty.
They wrote a small piece about how to find a good spouse, and one of the points was this:
“Observe him around girls or women with whom he is not interested in having a relationship, like a sister or feeble or old woman. How does he behave around them? Here you will see his true character.”
Obviously you can substitute ‘her’ for ‘him’, but I think the point has merit. Every life has value and something unique to offer. Don’t settle for a friend or spouse who ignores certain people or treats them like they’re worthless.