A Dog smile, Eleanor, and Anxiety

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Today it’s like my recharge light is blinking. I need to plug in somewhere and re-energize.

Today I’m weary emotionally. Ever get weary of the whole wide world? Perhaps I have been weary  a long time. It so happens we went to the airport to drop off a houseguest who stayed with us for a week. There was a crash near Tweed just yesterday. A plane crashed into a house, killing four people, the youngest one being a one year old. We had to detour around the scene which was cordoned off with officers, tape, orange cones.

Remember when Anthrax was sent through the mail years ago? It ended up in the mailbox of a family who lived right next door to a house I grew up in. The hospital my husband died in was all over the news when someone died from this terrorist act.

And that awful school shooting here in Connecticut? Newtown? We accidentally rode by there the other day. “Isn’t that the school that—” “Yeah it’s the one.”

Of course I was not personally affected by this horrific events, but I am affected nonetheless, even if they weren’t this close to my home base I would’ve been affected. I was five when the infamous Manson murderers were all over the news. Petrified, I looked on my globe to find California and it only seemed five inches away. These things affect all of us, because I have to believe that most of us are taking some solace that we’re all in this together. Human connectedness feels severed abruptly when bad things happen. And makes us feel vulnerable too.

I can’t help but yearn for a simpler time when death didn’t seem so random, but maybe it has always been that way?. I used to cherish little things, like a visit to church, for example. I had faith then. Outside the church I’d climb those familiar cracked steps , psyched not for the service, but for the feel of the place and the familiar rituals. Men would sing like ladies in the choir. I watched dust swirl in sun rays. The rays shone in through the colored glass windows, and the dust motes in them danced, twirl, floated, somersaulted gayly.

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     Some of these (almost unseen) little motes landed in the hair of people around me, unbeknownst to them. The sunbeams that shone in… they colored the hair of people in subtle tints, making blonde hair appear purple, green or pink.

Adam Duritz says, “I put my hand into the air and it swims in the beam.

It’s just a brief interruption of the swirling dust sparkle jet stream.”

I remember seeing one dust speck come in for a landing on the bald pate of a singing man. I took the dust motes home with me of course; the ones that nestled unseen in my own hair and clothing. Just knowing they were there gave me so much secret joy. Holy dust motes!

 

I am a student of Buddhism now. And with all the changes in the world, the weather, the natural disasters, the three events I mentioned above…I strive to remain optimistic about faith. It always came naturally before; I never had to work at it as much. I’ve got to remember to hold on to simple joys.

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“You must do the very thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying.  “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” What this means to me is to dare to believe that good will out trump bad. Without that belief system (that I refuse to surrender) I will blink all the time and never recharge. That’s no way to live. Some things will always make me anxious. But a good friend (D.W.) once told me to always remember that

“Anxiety is not the third person in the room.”

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I shall try to give it no notice and like a tantrum throwing toddler, perhaps anxiety will wane.

In the mean time I will enjoy secret harmless indulgences, so like the holy dust motes. Chocolate for breakfast. The way light attaches to a child. A doggie smile. And daily meditations.

 

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