Anybody else feeling fed up, cranky, tired, ready for winter to be over, politics to be over, tax season to be over? I can’t recall a time in my adult life when we were all so unrelentingly upset. The election, the economy, the media… Keeping folks upset has apparently become a subgoal on too many agendas.
I saw one author on social media going into a righteous spiral because another author, who shared her views on certain issues, refused to go into a righteous spiral…
Except… one of the things they teach you in conflict 101 is that our first, most effective tool in a highly conflicted situation is a non-anxious presence. I don’t know why I noshed my way through a master’s degree in conflict management somewhere along the way–you’d think law school would have cured me of the need for education debt–but I did, and I have never regretted it.
My teachers and fellow students were people who’d dealt first-hand with unraveling Apartheid, settling civil wars, making peace in genocidal conflicts, re-integrating child soldiers, and finding constructive uses for gangs in Los Angeles. My little traumas in child welfare court were pee wee league compared to the troubled waters these people had sailed–and sailed with astonishing success.
One of the primary take-aways I got from the whole master’s program was the utter non-negotiability of self-nurture if you find yourself in a conflicted situation. Especially in these trying times, it’s a gift to the community when you keep flowers on the table, listen to your upbeat play list, re-read a comforting keeper, and go out of your way to greet your fellow dog-walkers. Look for the aspects of your immediate environment that help you feel positive and focus on them.
If there aren’t any, time to redecorate your environment.
I have moral convictions and firm opinions on many topics (surprise!), but when I’m standing up for those beliefs from a place of calm resolve, I’m more likely to get a fair hearing than if I fire off a rant from panic and shredded nerves. If I”m calm, confident, and respectful, everybody around me is likely to catch a case of calm, confident, and respectful from me. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.
If I’m shooting around the room backward, with flames pouring from every orifice…
So if your instinct is to unplug, to get out the crafts, to limit your social, keep the playlist handy, and take cookies to the old folks home, good on ya. Happy warriors win battles too, and happy, well rested warriors probably prevent wars, without anybody even realizing it.
My two. How are you keeping your balance in these interesting times? Or how are you regaining your balance if you’ve lost it? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of Ashton, Lord of Truth… because Matilda learned to stay calm when she’d rather have lost her buttons.