“There’s a psychological term for that - it’s not ‘insanity’ - what was it?”
Sometimes naming things makes them real. I came across this article yesterday (you’ll find the link on my facebook page) which talked about ‘pre-traumatic stress disorder’ (would the acronym still be PTSD?) It is a phenomenon which climate scientists have been experiencing recently when contemplating the global implications of their findings. Things, indeed, are looking worse every day and the overwhelm, grief, anxiety these scientists are feeling apparently causes them to call in sick on the odd day.
It appears to me that now - more than ever - we need these bright, wonderful minds to be working hard on understanding the problem so that we can all develop solutions. We really need these guys to function!
Having said that, the emotional upheaval is perfectly understandable - and I think many of us are experiencing it on some level (maybe less intensely than these guys, but maybe not. Maybe we just haven’t been ‘diagnosed’ yet)
But I believe the same that goes for those scientists goes for the rest of us… we all need to be in our best state to contribute to this world whatever it is that we need to contribute. We each need to do our part in addressing this problem, however small this part may be.
So if you’re finding yourself plunging into the cold antarctic meltwaters of ‘pre-traumatic stress disorder’, e.g. feeling paralyzed by the prospect of an apocalypse lying ahead, consider these things:
1) Don’t make things worse than they are
I’m not a climate scientist, so I clearly don’t have the full understanding of all the data etc these guys are looking at. I do understand that things are not looking good.
In fact, they are probably looking awful.
However, it is also true that we’re talking about ‘the future’. However scientific, these are still projections of something that hasn’t happened yet (at least not to it’s full extent). If you like, you could call it science fiction. Or fortune telling. And “We’re all going to die” is likely a generalization.
What matters is that here and NOW (and if you practice mindfulness, you’ll know the importance of this) things are different. We’re not there yet. And while it is good to look at things as they are (I’m not talking candy-coated unicorns here) it is just as important to not make them worse.
We all have a liking for drama. It’s part of our culture. And why? - Because it allows us to feel. It gives us an excuse to connect with others.
Those are good things. But making things worse than they are has some potentially serious side effects. When taken excessively, can lead to lethargy, overwhelm and depression. So by all means - reach out to others. Feel. Love. Share. Connect. Open up. But aim to empower and inspire. Not to make things worse.
Focusing on the here and now goes a long way.
2) You’re in charge of the meaning you give things
Fact is, you may not be able to change what is happening in the world on a macro scale. (Unless you have that magic wand that fixes everything in an instance - in that case, please wave it now!). But you have total, 100% control over the meaning you give to these events.
Every threat holds an opportunity. Just the same way this could be the end of the world, it could also be the beginning of something new. And that new thing could be amazing - who knows??
But optimism aside... if you’re focusing on the now, you may be able to find in this what you are called to now. Because, on a personal level, this is a calling. A calling to focus on what is important to you. What you value. And to work out what you might need to change in order to feel like you are living your life to it’s fullest potential.
A calling to develop resilience - mental, emotional and spiritual.
So if you can quieten your mind’s drama, you may hear the whispers of your calling. These are big world events, but what matters is YOU. Who do YOU need to become to live in these circumstances??
It’s a calling to grow..
3) Create your own certainty
No doubt we live in uncertain times. We have NO idea what is going to happen next. None.
But guess what - it’s always been like that. The only difference is that most of us have believed a story that somehow gave us an illusion of certainty over the future. Somehow the future was going to be a bigger, better version of the past.
Fact is, that was always a story - even if it seemed to hold true for quite some time. But never did we really, REALLY know what was going to happen. And we all have always accepted this on a personal level - you didn’t know what would happen to shape your life. Births, deaths, illness, career changes… This is just the same, only bigger.
The way to create certainty in uncertain times is to know what YOU are doing. Take time to form a vision of your life, set goals, make plans. As far as you’re concerned, whatever you come up with there, is the future. You may need to change your strategies to get there depending on what happens around you. But your goals are clear. You know what you’re doing. So there - now you know what’s happening.
Travel well my friends.
PS: I’m making good progress on my little publication of how to get ‘Untrapped’ in 2017… Leave me your email if you’d like to find it in your inbox when it’s there!