Mainewhile: Adjust your mask, breathe deeply

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 2

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling a tad trampled lately.

I know that sounds overly dramatic, but that’s how it is. National politics, state politics. I’ve been stunned by the actions of our national leaders – and I use that term loosely – and horrified by statements made by people I had previously looked to for guidance.

Simultaneously, suicide has claimed the lives of two public figures who seemingly “had it all,” and I am very aware we have also lost many more who were equally special to those who loved them, if out of the national spotlight.

It’s been rough. My mood has been dark, and I’ve Googled more than one ridiculous escapist fantasy. I now receive odd pop-up ads for New Zealand on a regular basis.

Of course, I’m not actually going anywhere. This is equally my mess, I’m a voter, I live here, and it is not really my thing to run away when the going gets tough.

At the same time that escapism is clearly irresponsible, the overwhelming nature of the worry has paralyzed me. I am so crushed by my inability to stop the awful things from happening, I can barely move. That’s pretty irresponsible too, really.

Naturally, good liberal that I am, the famous Gandhi quote about “be the change” came to mind, but it has been so overused. It had lost its punch and become a poster. Then, randomly, because I am a quotation/citation stickler, I looked it up. I’d had a vague sense the poster version had it wrong. I was right. Here is the actual quote:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

Gobsmacked.

I read, and reread. I sat, and I pondered. Heady stuff, Gandhi. How to do this?

My mind leaped, oddly, to the airline directive to “apply your own air mask first.” I know, I know: far less poetic and less deep, and I apologize for the grinding of mental gears, but it is very clear on action. We need to make sure we are getting enough oxygen to survive before we can begin to help others. I certainly needed to breathe deeply. I’ve made a start.

I have a lot of “good” on hand. I am not unaware or neglectful of the many blessings in my world. What I have begun to do is to consciously take more notice of them, and to feed those areas more regularly.

Saturday, I grabbed the kid and the sweetie and went to a Sea Dogs game. It was perfect. I have zero sense of the politics of the guy in the stands who caught the high fly ball, and I don’t want to. The moment he raised his glove, victorious, the entire stadium cheered, and that’s enough. I’ve also been baking, reading non-serious mysteries, making good tea and playing in the garden.

I hope you all take a moment to sit, and breathe and make sure you have your own air mask securely affixed. There’s a long road, and a lot of work ahead.

Breathe deep.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at heather@heatherdmartin.com.

2