Time to move on to the next game…

November 9, 2020

Pastor freed used this quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, this morning, “Let the healing begin.” (Joe Cocker song)

The same sentiment has been used by President-elect Biden himself and many others since he election was called in Biden’s favor. Certainly, it is important that the healing process take place in America – in our politics, in our rhetoric and in our actions. However, right now, in the minds of far too many people, those words sound like the sanctimonious trash-talk of the victor and not the olive branch that they were probably meant them to be.

Before the healing can begin, the anger in the environment needs to die down. Most times the sentiment on the losing side of any contest/conflict is one of disappointment. The high hopes of persevering to a victory had been dashed; however, if it was perceived as a fair fight, the loser must accept that he was bested that day and move on.

For some this election feels more like a lost football game where the refs made a bad call, or at least the fans think it was a bad call. That feeling was heightened throughout the election campaign by unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud or irregularities. The post-election feeling is most like the reaction to that pass interference call that wasn’t made on the last play of the game, – the play that would have led to victory. A missed call like that most often leads to anger, even if the replay shows it to have been the right call. Usually, in the sports world. by Wednesday of the next week fans have put the last game behind them and focuses upon the next game.

A major difference in this situation, of course, is that we are all in this game. The decisions that were made over the last four years affected us all and the decisions that will be made in the coming four years will affect our lives. Some may say, “Well those last four years under Trump didn’t kill me, so I guess I can survive the next four under Biden”. However, those last four years also contained the COVID-19 virus and many feel that the lack of an adequate National-level response to the pandemic did lead to the deaths of an awful lot of people. The campaign promises of Biden foreshadow a greatly different response to the pandemic – one requiring more sacrifice and discipline than we have yet shown as a nation.

Step one in our collective recovery is probably to admit that many are angry about the election outcome and perhaps more than a little afraid for their future. There is plentiful advice available about dealing with anger, such as

Think before you speak. …

Once you’re calm, express your anger. …

Get some exercise. …

Take a timeout. …

Identify possible solutions. …

Stick with ‘I’ statements (and not “They” statements). …

Use humor to release tension.

All of those things require that one regain control over themselves enough to actually do any of those things. Maybe “Take a timeout” should be at the top of the list.

Once people have curbed their anger a bit, they can move onto dealing with their fears. The advice to identify possible solutions is a great starting point for that. By doing that, you are empowering yourself to become a part of the solution and not to play the role of the victim. Unlike the mythical football game that I used as an example earlier, this “game” called life is never over. That one bad call that you think the refs made is last week’s news and the game goes on.

However, there is a role for everyone in this game, even supporters of opposing viewpoints and solutions. One can get to work supporting candidates for the next election, which for much of the legislative side of government is only two years away. There will be parades to march in again (hopefully next year). There will be local and state-level positions of influence that need to be filled. Of course, there will be tweets and Facebook posts to be made, videos to be uploaded to YouTube and TikTok and  blog posts to be written. These are things that one can be doing, beyond just being angry.

The “healing” that needs to begin is not the abandonment of the opposing views, but rather the reduction of anger and disappointment and finding ways to move on with new actions that one hopes will influence everyone in that direction. It’s sort of like being a loyal football fan of the team that just suffered a big defeat. You move on. You get ready for the next tailgate session and the next game in resolute hope that better days are just ahead.

Perhaps the words from Martin Luther King Jr. that are on a sign in my yard expresses what must be done now – “We must move on with an arduous faith in the future.” Keep the faithit’s Wednesday in America – it’s time to move on. There is a bright future ahead and another game next weekend.


Use your mind’s eye to find your happy place…

October 10, 2014

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even touched.  They must be felt within the heart.”  (Helen Keller) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Isn’t the imagery that we have created around parts of our bodies and how we “use” them in our everyday lives interesting? We say that we see things “in our mind’s eye.” We may make decisions based upon a feeling in our gut or perhaps in our heart. We may love people with all our heart.  We feel things with our heart. We try to “get our head around” things. We can be “touched” by others without physical contact.  We may say that the death of a loved one can make the heart ache; and, thinking of difficult things is sometimes said to make your head hurt.

We tend to use those to describe feelings that are deep and most of the time very emotional and we need a place brain mapto locate them within our physical existence, so we choose body parts.  I suppose that we are lucky that someone in antiquity choose the heart as the symbol for love and not our brains; otherwise, we might be delivering box of candy shaped like the brain. Of course modern science has been able to locate and map out the portions of our brains that are really involved in all of the emotions that we have and so far none of the maps have pointed to the heart or revealed a real eye in the brain.

But, let’s let go of science and accept things as we feel them. Helen Keller couldn’t see or hear, but she somehow came to understand the concept of beauty and could see them in her mind’s eye and feel them in her heart.  Even if you have normal eyesight there are things that you cannot see that you may have some feel for in your mind’s eye. Hypnotists sometimes help people find their “happy place”, somewhere that either they have been to in the past or a totally imaginary place that they can conjure up in their mind. With your eyes closed you can “see it” and feel the happiness that being there brings. Do you have a happy place that you go to when you need to? Usually they are quiet, comfortable and safe feeling places; many times they may even be places from your childhood memories. They cannot be touched or seen but they are felt in your heart and thus seen in your mind’s eye.

If you have never really tried to conjure up your “happy place”, I encourage you to do so. Having a refuge like that, which you can visit whenever you need to, can be a life changer (sometimes a life saver). Some people get Butterfliesto their happy place through a form of meditation; others may use prayer to get there. How you get there is less important that the fact that you can get there and that being there makes you feel better, more at peace and more able to cope. It’s not really so much about escaping whatever caused you to need to go there; it’s more about regaining control over the emotions of the situation, calming down, and getting back within yourself. While you are there, if you look around; you will likely also find the strength and the courage to persevere, once you have to return to your conscious life.

There also tend to be a lot of faith and hope to be found in your happy place. That gets back to getting back in control of your emotions. You can once again have hope, maybe based upon faith or maybe just based upon taking a calmer look at the situation.  Even if the situation is beyond hope, there is still faith; for it is faith that allows you to step off into the abyss that you can see knowing that you will not fall due to the power that you cannot see. It is so much easier to take the step of faith if you are already in your happy place and at peace.  women dreaming

So, get off by yourself this weekend; maybe with a little soft music in the background and a nice glass of wine, perhaps sitting in front of a crackling fireplace, and find your personal happy place. Go there. See it in your mind. Remember it and how to get there; then use it whenever life starts to overwhelm you or when emotions overtake you. It’s a beautiful place that you will feel in your heart.

Have a great weekend! I’ll see you next week. I’m off to my happy place for the weekend.


Don’t you just hate that…

August 5, 2014

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” – Dalai Lama

What is unsaid in the Dalai Lama’s statement is that the hook of anger or hatred is normally baited by things that entice us to bite. The danger is increased in both by the speed with which they normally come on. Road rage is a good example of anger that can instantly take over a normally docile person. Hatred, on the other hand, may take time to develop; although some people are prone to saying, “I hate that” at the drop of a hat.

blowhardOne piece of sage advice that you hear a lot to deal with anger is to stop and count to ten when something has happened that would make you angry. What’s at work in that little piece of advice is creating the time for your brain to allow reason or logic to kick in before your react to the incident. It gives you time to think, “so what, if that guy cut in front of me?” Does it really matter enough for you to get angry? What purpose will it serve for you to yell at that person or flip a gesture at them? What if that just made them angry too and now the whole incident has suddenly escalated? There is no win-win scenario that can come out of allowing escalating anger to take you over.

While anger is transient – flaring up quickly and then gone in the next instant – hatred can build over time, festering in the back of your mind. It usually take a while for something to progress from “I don’t like that” to “I hate that”; but not always. People do snap to a judgment of hate sometimes on non-personal things, or at least they use the phrase – “I hate that.” Whenever I hear someone use that phrase about an object, I generally interject, “Hate is such a strong emotionhate computer to waste on and inanimate object.” Sometimes that helps them see the error of their statement in the situation at hand; sometimes not. After all, in that moment, they are filled with hate.

Hate is a very strong emotion and is usually directed at someone, sometimes because of some perceived wrong that they have done to us. Hate is an ugly emotion that probably causes much more harm to the person harboring it that to the target of the feeling. Both hate and anger have been shown to have negative health effects on the people carrying them around, usually to do with elevated blood pressure levels. Hate can be a powerful driver. Hate can also push out logic and reason from our minds and drive behavior that defies either. That is angry couplewhy so many hate crimes are so hard to believe or understand. A normal person can’t imagine what would drive someone to commit them. There seems to be absolutely no redeeming qualities about hate at all, so working to keep it out of your life is a good thing.

So, let us all take the Dalai Lama’s advice and avoid the hooks of hate or anger in our lives as much as possible. Take the time to stop and count to ten (to twenty, if you need to) and let your brain regain control over the emotions that have welled up and tried to take you over. Be in control and be calm; or as the British say KCCO. You will feel much better for it.