Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Freedom To Choose And The Five Things I'm Electing In Order To Stay Sane In These Insane Times

“….. the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,” 

...words of Viktor Frankl that have helped me transcend treacherous ordeals before, like losing my eyesight. 

When selecting a top of the line president from the bill of fare offered in “Election 2016” didn’t provide much of choice, what was the fall back alternative?

Certainly, we must, if we are to remain sane, make up our minds to work with what we’ve got in some reasonable way. Don’t you agree?

That's Plan B, as we have, collectively, elected a less than ideal preseident.

So, here’s what I’ve figured out….

I have been reaching for Frankl’s ideal to help me find my way through the duplicities of Donald Trump. I know I must, not only stay sane in this insane time that grows increasingly dark with each passing day, but, somehow, transcend the nightmare Trump is bringing to bear upon all good and honest people.

For months, I have risen above the stormy sea, then dipped back, again, into its torrential, soul-bashing waves. Thank goodness I’ve been strong enough to not sink. And, fortunate enough not to be sunk, as in not being an immigrant.  Thank goodness, my family's now got four generations to back up our right to be here!

I am certain you have been doing similarly. 

This is no longer a dress rehearsal, as we might have considered it to be, maybe around Halloween time last year, as we weighed in during the presidential campaign cycle, sorting out for ourselves for whom we should cast our one single vote.

Ha ha, if you think the grim reaper was only a costume! Fooled you, didn’t it, when that same darkness showed up in the formerly “White” House!

Look at this, will you? It’s been almost a year of our lives gone by, maybe more. Politics has become so personal that not a day goes by that I don't take, not only a peek at the weather forecast, but, minimally also, a survey of the news headlines. The weather report lets me know, ahead of time, if this will be an indoor or outdoor day. 

All well and good! 

However, it is the news that alerts me as to whether or not a metaphorical Hurricane Harvey is on my doorstep in the upheaval Donald Trump is creating that particular day. In those earlier campaign days, Hillary and Bernie, too, were not averse to keeping our lives stirred up. After all, this is what American politics is about – people bashing, crisis and chaos. Apparently to make a point, belonging to whomever’s agenda.

But how much bad weather can a person endure without getting far more than cabin fever, but an all-out sickness from undergoing the constant stress of such dire times?

Further, on my end, I, not only, abhor ceaseless bad weather, but I am not a political person, per se. I don’t find constant news and endless views entertaining, enlightening or intriguing. I do not aspire to build my life, paying attention to the daily news, the internet, talk radio, Twitter or Facebook, as a source of sustenance. 

I like the great outdoors, tending my deck top garden, watching the birds, especially the hummingbirds, and, in peace, the setting sun and the night sky.  And, most of all, being with people I care about and respect.

I find, even late night comedians, the Weekend Update of Saturday Night Live and Alec Baldwin, tedious, leaving me weary soul wanting, after a while. I seek something more that truly fills my heart and soul for a day I can enjoy.

It's been awful and still is!  And, no doubt, this will continue as the new normal, with no end in sight, right now.

But I do not intend to live this way!  I am intent on taking back the reins of my daily life, as best I can during these trying times!

Basic Step Number One For Me

Long ago, under the tutelage of my psychiatrist mentor, Marty Groder, I learned how to heal myself of my tendencies to be driven by a state of excitement (i.e. adrenalin addiction). I learned, too, that the inclination in this area was based on biology. And, that my free will gives me an out, as I come to understand and manage it, from that which I find unhealthy and that no longer satisfy me. 

So I am averse, now, to allowing Trump and Team to sabotage the tranquility I have worked so hard to establish in myself.

It has been a whole lot of work and relentless discipline to get where I am now, harkening back to my days, just after Watergate, when I left D.C. and its drama behind. So I am determined to sustain my tranquility, no matter what!  

Even with my intent, now, to return to that scene, the D.C. fast track, my plan is to reengage, somehow, sans the drama! 

Drama all around me, doesn't mean I have to be in it.

Here are the other four things I will now do in order to, personally, manage the great disturbance in the force, as I perceive it -- and -- keep moving forward in these crazy times.

Four More Things I Am Choosing To Help Me Stay Sane In These Insane Times

1. Having reviewed various perspectives on Donald Trump’s mental health – and – having found the diagnosis I can best live with, I pledge myself to now to proceed, as I would, ordinarily, as a therapist; our entire country on my couch, so to speak.

Additionally, I am figuring out how I might apply said experience and skills to my personal life. 

Thus I will give up trying to make sense of Trump’s insanity, accepting that I have a workable “clinical diagnosis,” as a working hypothesis, to help myself, and those closest to me, get on with the day, as best one can, with a mentally deranged person living in one’s midst!

Enough, I say, trying to making any further sense out of this man’s aberrant behavior!

Now, I will accept that it is what it is. And, go on to figuring out how to live with the insanity in our midst. I might even get bored enough with it all, to go fishing! 

2. Having had the miracle that Monday’s Eclipse brought me. That then brought New Horizons and I to StoryCorps; an idea that sprang up out of the blue/black of the skies, I now know how for me best to speak; the what, the when and the where.  

Thus I pledge myself to continue staying out of debates and other forms of controversial conversing – and – take up New Horizons next mission, storytelling in the service of: 1. Building bridges not walls; 2. Ensuring that I give and have ample, local community support to strengthen others and myself to make it through these turbulent times, as best we can.

Isn’t this what people should do in a hurricane? 

Figure out how best to lean in one's community (i.e. “think global/national and act local”)?

3. I also pledge that I will avail myself of the opportunities partnering with StoryCorps provides to, personally, speak my piece. 

How wonderful! 

And, with this opportunity, I, no longer will need to take center stage on my own. 

Instead I will be doing it, along with others in my community, sharing our stories of “tough people, getting through tough times,” for all of perpetuity. This I will do, in order to articulate my stance, my personal definition of self, while, at the same time, connecting with others in getting through this trying era.

Hopefully, this will be a way I will support and inspire others – and – more than anything – provide a legacy for my children and grandchildren and beyond, demonstrating, as best I can, what to do during challenging periods that, hopefully, will have their end, though we have no idea when. 

In other words, I pledge to be a role model and a leader of what to do when there is almost nothing to do. 

More than anything, I want the generations I leave behind to be able, if nothing else, to see in me, the Power of One in living action, now that I have figured out how best for me to speak my piece!

4. Finally, I will continue to update, as I go, my answers to the basic existential questions: 1. Who am I; 2.  Who you are; 3. What is everybody doing here; and 4. What am I supposed to do in this place, with circumstances such as they are -- and -- with people like you?

Hopefully, these steps and the answers to my several questions above, will help me take back the reins of my daily life and more fully detach from the chaos over which I have no control.

What are you up to on this challenge? I'd sure like to know and exchange stories with you.

So, let me hear from you by commenting here or by contacting me, directly at:

Have a happy day and let the news and views go!

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