Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
The other day when “the world was too much with me,” I spent an evening flipping through TV channels in search of something cheerful and non-stressful to watch. I wanted to numb my brain. The reality shows centered on woefully dysfunctional people. The ones who needed most desperately to win the prize inevitably didn’t. In the entertaining programs, murder was popular. Explosions. Betrayals. Evil incarnate. I couldn’t help thinking of a favorite TV commercial—the one in which a group of teenagers is being pursued by a chain saw murderer. One of the guys mocks the girl for suggesting they try to escape in a car that happens to be idling in the driveway. Instead, he insists they hide behind a wall of chain saws in the garage. They all agree and crouch behind the clanging chain saws as the mass murderer shakes his head in disbelief at their stupidity.
How often do I choose to hide behind the chain saws? As I tried to stay well informed, the world piled one too many negative messages into my mental IN box. Our democracy could become an oligarchy. We could have a civil war. We could be annihilated by a super volcano or a comet or the end of potable water. At first, I kept on struggling, not changing anything except to multiply my stress as I continued doing all the same things that got me into a pit in the first place. I had a whole list of obligations, none of which seemed to be doable with the skills I had on hand. Whatever I finished wasn’t right. I generally believe I have to handle my problems myself…the sooner the better, so I continued to bang my head against my tasks.
At last I stopped. STOPPED. I wasn’t going to complete anything. My novel wouldn’t be published in time for Christmas. My newspaper articles wouldn’t be done. My blog wouldn’t have anything even vaguely profound to say. SO WHAT! My husband asked if I wanted to take a ride into the mountains and I said yes. We took the dogs. We drove to an open area at the top of a pass and got out to walk. The wind was intense and cold. We didn’t care. We walked through snow for what might have been a couple of blocks. At first, my heart was still pinched shut. Nothing was getting through. But I could breathe. The icy air was clean.
We drove to a little resort restaurant for lunch where I indulged in the first fried food I’ve eaten in years—fish and chips (onion rings). It tasted forbidden. Perfect. Then we returned to the pass and walked again. This time I stood and breathed in the mountains and clean air and wide expanses and it whooshed into me. I needed my concentration to accomplish it. Nothing could be as big as what I was experiencing. I felt a knot of joy explode inside me.
We continued on to a high mountain lake where no one else had stopped. We parked looking over the sparkling water and let the silence refresh our minds. Finally, the list of impossible tasks shriveled in my mind. I would find help for my limitations. That was the answer. And I would procrastinate as people should now and then. Anyone who scoffs at the idea that Nature heals hasn’t tried it seriously or long enough. Nature does heal. The sea is fabulous, but mountains will do in a pinch.