coming back around again

Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water.

And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes

you cannot even breathe deeply, and

the night sky is no home, and

you have cried yourself to sleep enough times

that you are down to your last two percent, but

nothing is infinite,

not even loss.

You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day

you are going to find yourself again.

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F. Scott

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one foot in sea, one on shore

Love,

It will not betray you
Dismiss you, or
Enslave you.

It will set you free.

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crisis survival guide: a weapon

This is the fifth post in an ongoing blog series, featuring some practical tools and activities. Fill up your arsenal and collect your weapons for recovery.

*****

Crisis time.

I’d guess that less than 10% of us handle potential emergencies in a rational and calm state of mind. The rest experience something else that doesn’t quite make for the most efficient response – overwhelming panic, nauseous anxiety, stunned shock, blinding confusion, even more blinding denial, or some other lovely category along those lines.

I’ve always heard that slips and setbacks aren’t just possible, but they’re expected along this path on which we’ve been placed.

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We can bounce back from adversity or be consumed by it. The survivors will walk away with more personal strength, character and resilience, and a heavier toolbox for future attacks.

Some succinct tips to help keep your head above the water:

  • Shake off the stunned brain freeze as soon as you can
  • Don’t waste time on blame and shame
  • Be gentle with yourself as you come to acceptance
  • Rally your support troops and call 9/11 on yourself
  • Take account of your current situation and how it’s both similar and different to what you’ve known before
  • Collect every tool you have and search for new ones
  • Be patient with your progress
  • Make small goals and celebrate baby steps
  • Don’t minimize the problem
  • Positive self-talk only
  • Drink tea, breathe deeply and get a lot of sleep
  • Think only moment-by-moment, one day at a time
  • Ask for help
  • You’re stronger than you think.

2

with the earth

Now I see the greatest secret to making the best person:

To grow in the open air,

and eat,

and to sleep

with the earth.

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Walt Whitman

wolf in sheep’s clothing

How do you know if something is good or bad? It seems a simple question, but this is a task at which humans are notoriously inept.

We would say that something is good if we like it. If it makes us feel pleasant and comfortable. Maybe even safe, happy and secure. Bad things bring us discomfort. They take away the things that we like. Bad = pain, confusion, anxiety.

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The trouble is that good and bad mean different things to different people, at different times and under different circumstances. Cue: Conflict. Plus, sometimes good things wear disguises and present themselves as challenges, only to turn out absolutely and completely amazing. On the other hand, we do things that feel good and comfortable that prove to be unhealthy and destructive in the long run.

I spend all kinds of time paralyzed by fear of doing things that are actually good for me because they bring feelings of anxiety, vulnerability and stress. Avoiding these things is a quick fix to feel better in the moment, but actually does no good at all. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A security blanket. I can build myself upon these unhealthy things disguised as good, until the ground collapses right under me and I find I’ve gone nowhere.

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Letting go of the security blanket means doing stuff that doesn’t feel good. It means walking up to the big, bad wolf and staring it right in the eyes. This just isn’t human nature – Think of all the people in the world sticking to bad relationships and unhealthy habits, like smoking – Letting go is a process.

Realizing this limitation actually brings me a sense of peace. I know that avoiding the right path because I am afraid will never allow me to achieve my dreams. I can cast my fears aside by accepting that I don’t perfectly understand good and bad, and I’m not intended to. I can trust that my life’s trajectory is headed toward freedom and peace, and align myself with the inherent goodness that is faith.

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