With the continued escalation of world problems along with the persistent, never ending ideological debates, it feels nearly impossible to escape heightened stress levels in our daily lives. IT (aka STRESS) is lurking everywhere. Even our safe zones have now been infiltrated. IT fills our coffee houses, our roads, our Happy Hours with friends like a lethal gas. IT confronts us on our news feed and social media posts like a militia, unwilling to retreat. IT accosts our kids at school and our elderly parents who are glued to their televisions, watching their chosen cable news anchor as if he or she were the messiah of truth on the verge of foretelling the fate of humankind.
IT is the devil; the bringer of illness, both mental and physical. IT feeds upon our souls as if they were the main course of a holiday dinner and what we have left are the scraps of our lives which we ration so as to not fall completely into despair.
I am acutely aware of how often my daughters refer to their fragile mental health. I lose sleep over how suicide seems to be acknowledged by peers as a viable solution for teens in despair. I want to scream out for the “normalcy” of my youth, where IT did reside but lived just outside of town with no wifi and no friends. IT has always been an unwelcome guest but now we are faced with inviting IT in- we no longer have a choice because IT doesn’t leave. And since IT is here, we have to learn to live with IT.
Now more than ever, as individuals, as families, as friends, as co-workers and neighbors, etc.-we need to find what brings us peace. Peace, meaning a feeling of soulful quietness. An opportunity to renew and fill our leaking buckets of hope. The chance to recharge so that we may be the source of light for others whose batteries are depleted.
An individual’s experience of peace is as unique as a snowflake and not definable by time nor place. When “it” happens, there is transcendence through the physical being. This “it” is what we, as human beings, all seek.
For me, I seek refuge in wide open spaces and here I receive “it’s” bounty, taking solace in the sound of rustling leaves and whimsical sunsets. Feeling small in what is nothing less than spectacular. Being reminded that my quest is solely to complete this life gently, enacting kindness and being present for whatever “it” presents in the moment. Nature is a selfless healer, does not discriminate and wishes nothing but the best for all of us.
There are so many ways to find “it.” Artful expression, the company of others, going 80 MPH on an empty highway— whatever it may be, my hope is that you find “it”, allowing us all, together, the chance to find our way through.