I often heard my mother discuss the fact that she felt time was going more quickly as she aged. I often thought it couldn’t go quick enough. But then I was young and rarely reflected on the fact that we are not here on a permanent basis. Lately I find myself connecting to many of my mothers’ statements especially the ones around how life seems to whoosh by with each passing year. It seems that I just had Thanksgiving dinner and now it’s here again. How did that happen? And Christmas is just around the corner. Of course it’s not easy to forget either holiday since the media relentlessly feeds us their ads to buy, buy, buy starting in late August. Christmas decorations are already up and we haven’t even cleared the Thanksgiving dinner. Black Friday is closing in on us, but now there’s some stores that will be open at 9Pm Thanksgiving night in case you have an obsessive need to go to a store and leave your guests in the living room. Forget hanging out and reflecting on the day’s gathering. It’s much better to think about what you’ll be going to purchase while you’re chewing on a drumstick. We have turned life into a constant need to access the future without living in the present. This shift in how our culture lives their lives creates a great deal of stress My mother and her generation seemed to savor each holiday without feeling obligated to discuss the one coming. I have talked to many people about this phenomenon and it may be time to reflect on spending more time honoring the moments we’re in rather than anticipating or dreading the ones that are coming. This is not an easy practice in a society that has come to value “doing” rather than “being”. However, perhaps the gift you may want to access this season is reminding yourself throughout the day to just breathe. When you’re stressed out you breathe more rapidly. The simple act of inhaling and exhaling slowly and purposefully allows you to be aware of the present moment. Every moment that we honor with a deep breath allows us to feel more peaceful by helping to quell the inner critics that never stop reminding us of “what’s next”.Try it when you’re at the Thanksgiving dinner table and Aunt Hattie tells you the turkey is dry, or when you’re lying in bed worried about how you’re going to get all your shopping done, or in dozens of stressful situations that pass and soon become part of the tapestry of life. Just breathe!
There are times when I seriously think I would love to run away to a small village in a remote part of the world that had no big box stores, highways filled with cars, cell phone towers, or anything that made me feel connected to the outside world. My need to escape can come from a variety of situations. I find myself wanting to tell people to “just stop it”. Why are you still talking about what you have to do, and how exhausted you are, or what a mess the world is in. Then there’s the horrors of multiple shootings that seem to be happening with more frequency, incivility which is becoming rampant, and media which seems to focus on celebrating stupidity. Do I sound cranky? Well, I am! I feel that my optimistic nature is being eroded by a world that seems to want to focus on the dark side. I have felt lately that I may be in need of a mood makeover, however, I am thankful to still have the ability to reframe some of my feelings by interjecting thoughts that enable me to feel that human beings are essentially striving towards decency, kindness, and compassion. We often forget the aforementioned in lieu of a constant barrage of information that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I don’t know where that phrase originated but I can’t fathom how a billion or so people are going to fit into a basket that’s on fire. In fact if we look back in time it’s a miracle that the human race still exists. There have been many periods of mayhem throughout the centuries but the reports of rape and pillaging took years to get to different parts of the world. Today, everyone has a camera, and they all want their fifteen minutes of fame. If you’re mugged, you can rest assured that someone will be sending your picture to a TV station. Toddlers can take pictures now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an infant with a camera at the end of his bottle. Why not? He might get a shot of a bank robbery and get on the evening news. The parents could get a book deal and a reality show and voila his education is paid for. Well, I think it’s time to take my own advice; watch less news, read less news, sit in the garden more often, watch the cat staring into space, and spend less time with anyone that resembles an energy vampire.