This Precious Life

This is one of my spunky spindly sunflowers at sunset before the snow came. Bye-bye sunflower, I thank you for the cheer you brought me every day as I gazed outside my window drinking in the view. I loved watching you grow!

I baked goodies and mailed them off to our daughter, the last package for her birthday month, it was so much fun! I will do this again next year too. The apartment smells like chocolatey goodness. I drank some psychological coffee (decaf, lol) and had a brownie for dessert after supper while I watched High Maintenance, what a charming show it is, I love it!

I started the day off rough around the edges with achiness, fatigue, and congestion, but this afternoon and evening I’m feeling so much better, so maybe that’s it for the post flu vaccine funk, I hope.

Here’s the video for today.

It’s natural to have fears along with the resulting biological responses that kick in, except these days we don’t need to run away from predators so our fight or flight response often does more harm than good.

Most of the things that we get anxious about are all in our imaginations and aren’t actually happening. Even when adversity happens, the fight or flight response tends to impede us rather than help us unless we’re leaping away from danger all of that adrenalin is overkill. That’s when it’s helpful to have methods to tamp it down so it doesn’t cascade into a full panic, so we can handle life’s ups and downs more smoothly. So we can prevent all of that unnecessary stress and strain on ourselves and avoid the fallout of our stress responses so it won’t impact others.

We all find ourselves ruminating or worrying about something, it’s in our makeup, we are wired to quickly react, to avoid danger to survive. Life is much more complex these days and we are bombarded with information and there’s so much that is not within our power to control. We have the ability to imagine scenarios, make predictions about the future and empathize so there’s a lot that we can worry about and catastrophize.

It helps to be able to put everything into perspective by categorizing the things we are concerned about based on if we have the power to do anything to change it. If we have no power to change it then we can snip snip, let that shit go. It helps to have boundaries surrounding the things that we allow to infect us with anxiety, worry, heartache, and pain. We won’t be able to function if we focus on all of the worrisome situations that we read about, and are beyond our reach to help or cure. We have to bring our view way back in, down to the right here and now and what’s within our immediate grasp, or else it is too overwhelming.

It also helps to prioritize what’s important enough to get upset about. I know some people who practice getting upset as much as they can over every little thing throughout their days so that they’re always upset and stressed out no matter what, day in and day out.

We don’t have to live our lives in misery like that.

We can choose to let the little things slide and focus on the things that are going well instead. You know, don’t sweat the small stuff, remember those books? Most everything is small stuff in our day to day lives and the really big stuff? It only seems big because we’re not getting creative enough with our approaches or solutions, or we are resisting, avoiding, and denying the hard truths along with the difficult choices and changes we don’t want to face. We’re never as trapped or stuck as we think we are.

The really big stuff is beyond our control as one person to make much of a dent to create a positive change. Those issues will take many people, lots of coordination, cooperation, and ample resources and time to make the shifts so that’s when you decide to do what you can with the power you have like vote, donate, volunteer, protest, share information, participate in commerce that supports your ethics, etc.

And there are many other things that happen that we can not change like health issues, accidents, natural disasters, etc. It helps to loosen our grip and to enjoy now as much as we can. To do things every day that make us light up, that gets our creative juices flowing that cause us to appreciate the simple pleasure of being alive. If disaster happens at least I will have been living my days with shining dapples of joy instead of succumbing to fears and sorrow.

When the worries and the panic starts erupting in me I’ve learned to tell myself to wait a minute, take a deep breath, recenter, drop down into my heart and evaluate what’s actually true at the moment. I’m here, I’m safe, I’m breathing, nothing’s coming to hurt me, it’s all in my mind. If it’s in my mind, I have power over that, I can choose to think of whatever is upsetting me in a more empowering, realistic way. I can think about it logically and calmly. I can question it asking is there anything I can do about it right now that will help? If not, then I need to let it go.

If there are things I can do to help improve the situation and diminish my fears then I get creative, come up with a plan, do research, get advice, get help if needed and take appropriate actions. Knowledge and understanding always help alleviate my fears.

If there’s nothing I can do to improve the situation, then I focus on something in my immediate surroundings to ground me, to be thankful for, and then do something to help release some of the nervous energy, like a chore or engage in an activity that’s healthy and soothing. I focus on the here and now, appreciating life at this moment. I take steps to enjoy right now as much as possible.

Another perspective that helps me is that I’ve navigated every challenge in life thus far and it’s highly probable that I will make it through okay whatever comes my way. I am reassured by the fact that all of the worst-case scenarios I imagined have never come to pass and all of the challenges I’ve been through have also had unexpected benefits as well.

I’ve come to see everything as having some sort of benefit in the long run so I am more accepting and less fearful when challenges arise. The situations that used to seem like a big deal no longer phase me because I know that we all go through adversity, I’m not unique, it’s not personal and it does not determine my self-worth. I know that we are all inherently equal and worthy in spirit and nothing that happens here on earth can diminish what we truly are.

I still have fears and I worry and my heart breaks, but I don’t allow it to determine my everyday level of engagement and joy in living. Some days are better than others, but it’s okay to take the space to feel it all, to process and release it. Not every day is gonna be rainbows, unicorns, and lollipops and that’s okay as long as overall I am managing my fears and appreciating, engaging, creating, sharing, growing, exploring, and loving in this precious life.

Michelle Miyagi
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