Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for February 19th, 2011

Time to de-stress

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After the tumult of the past week, I badly needed a day to get away from it all and de-stress.

You see, I get very worked up about politics.  I don’t see it as “political theatre,” or at least not just that . . . I see it as extremely important.  And sometimes, the importance of the political moment can crowd out everything else.

I don’t know about anyone else, but what I do to de-stress is to read my favorite “comfort books” (as I discussed a few blogs ago), rest, then meditate after I’m a bit calmer.  Because things are usually neither as bad as they first appear, nor as rosy as they can look in our best moments — they’re like people, period, and have elements of both.

That we can have the seed of hope in a truly despairing day is one of those conundrums philosophers have been trying to solve for millenia, and I know I certainly don’t have the answer to it.  But that does seem a saving grace, now and again.

Yesterday, the hope I saw despite all the tumult was an unusual picture — on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” starring disc jockey and humanitarian Ed Schultz, he had a member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) community in Madison right alongside a member of the pro-life community in Madison.  This is rarely seen; even more rare, they got along, and agreed that what the protestors are fighting about (the right to have their voices be heard through collective bargaining) is extremely important.

But I couldn’t take in that hopeful picture just then; I was too wracked by the suffering I could see, easily, if the current Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, gets his way.

Therefore, what this blog is about is simple: sometimes we need to take a step back when we’re too emotionally involved in something — particularly if it’s an external event.  (I’m not saying you should step back from your love relationships; far from it!  Though sometimes sleeping on a decision helps you, so the principle does apply somewhat even to this example.)  Only when we de-stress a bit can we actually figure out that there are hopeful things going on all around us, big and small . . . and that life isn’t as bad as it first appears.

My late husband Michael often used this axiom — just get through the day, or as he put it, “sufficient unto the day are the needs thereof.”  (I know he’s quoting someone but I haven’t been able to figure out who said this first.)   It helps to remember that not everything in the world is awful, hopeless, bleak beyond belief or worthless, even though stupid things do keep happening (today, in Madison, some probably well-meaning doctor handed out fake “I am really ill” slips to anyone who asked, including a Fox News producer) that make my teeth grind.

Now, I’m going back and watching some more of “The Maury Show,” which is yet another way to de-stress that I find extremely helpful.  I hope you find your way to relax, get away from it all — at least mentally if you can’t physically — and remember to enjoy whatever you can of your life.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm