I don’t think I know anyone who isn’t see-sawing between despair, rage, frustration, and helplessness these days. On all things political, environmental, and social, it really is a heaping pile of bad news.
How to manage heartache in crazy times? When even our carefully constructed social bubbles are collapsing in? When natural and political disasters compete for the headlines? I listen to music more than the news. I read headlines but only go deep on stories of unexpected awesomeness, such as engineers trying to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. I get up early in order to spend a little time outside. I spend extra time playing with my dogs, petting my cat, finding new recipes to cook for dinner, new cocktails to make.
I don’t ignore all the shit that is happening, not exactly, but I try to keep it in the peripheral. It is there, but it cannot become the main focal point for too long or I will be too sad or too angry to carry on.
I just hung the most beautiful photo of the moon over my dresser, bigger than the moon has ever appeared to me in the sky. I get lost in the clarity of the image and the details of the topography. I am one of those people that easily finds shapes in clouds and rock faces. Now that I have seen the face of a sea lion in the craters and mountains on the moon it is even harder to think of it as an impassive rock. The moon is the silent witness of earth as we spin around the sun together. It remains both reliable and surprising, reflecting light, changing shape, and wowing us with super moons and the occasional eclipse.
I think it’s important to find ways to lose ourselves, to step outside of current events and disappear into a giant landscape, to feel small and insignificant and amazed at the fact of being alive. I suppose there is something to say about bonding with a stranger in a coffee shop about how crappy things are, but I would rather tell my friends how awesome they are, so that I feel less lonely and reminded of bonds beyond despair.
We need to armor ourselves with small delights: savor a delicious piece of chocolate, wear a favorite shirt, put new windshield wipers on the car, watch the winter birds peck for seeds in the dormant grass. We are most powerful when we are joyful, so be extra nice to someone today and have some fun. And remember that it rarely helps to freak out.