I wrote yesterday about the need to pay attention to my words – things that I pattern without really noticing. Repeated patterns create neural pathways and eventually those patterns become the easiest direction for thoughts. Those thoughts then lead to actions. Well – you get the idea.
Today, I began to think about my internal thoughts again. I have been working vigilantly on making my thoughts more positive, more uplifting. When I catch myself spiraling down the rabbit hole of negativity in my internal dialogue, I try to stop and assess.
While taking a break to have lunch, I found my mind wandering and was surprised at the stressful, negative places it wanted to visit. At first, I had a judgemental series of thoughts about myself – beating myself up for allowing it. Then I took a breath and realized that I’m human so I will have those moments. Frankly, I have to constantly remind myself that trying to avoid something or trying to pretend it’s not there only makes it more powerful.
So I decided to just let my negative thoughts play out to see where they went. Today, it was all about masks. I have pulled away from social media considerably, but even the tiny little time I permit myself to check things has begun to create stress. I see post after post and article after article about people who are violently protesting the idea of wearing masks.
I am having a hard time not becoming bitter and cynical about the citizens of the United States. I realize that the media tends to focus on the negative and does not often promote positive things. After all, drama sells ads, right? So maybe I am overreacting.
On the other hand, the sheer pervasiveness of these reports indicates that it is not a small isolated thing. I find myself feeling sad and angry about these “anti-maskers.” How can people be so selfish? Well, that is a rhetorical question but frankly as I type it I find myself feeling even sadder because I am not surprised.
Ever since November of 2016 things have gotten worse and worse and worse in this country. One of the things that has worsened is this epic sense of entitlement coming from a certain portion of the populace – this idea that they are somehow special and should not have to adhere to even the most fundamental rules of kindness, compassion or decency. Couple that with a healthy dose of ignorance and narcissism and you end up with exactly what we have today – a bunch of entitled yahoos who think everything is “all about them” and don’t care a bit about anyone else on the planet.
As long as they can go get their nails done and get drunk with their friends at the local bar without wearing a mask, well then that’s all that is important, right? I mean, who cares about causing the pain and death of other people. As long as you can have your beer with your friends, well that’s worth killing a few people, isn’t it?
Clearly, I am struggling with my anger here.
I don’t know what the solution is. For me, I have to take time this afternoon to meditate and re-center myself. I recall my new core desired feelings: equanimity, kindness, wonder, and adventure. If I am true to my own process, I have to find a way to journey into my center and release my anger, pain, frustration, and disappointment.
I can only control how I feel – nothing else. Hopefully, during this 112th day of the seemingly-endless quarantine I can find some pathway into more inner peace again. As I take a breath and try to calm my mind, I can clearly hear the voice of my Southern belle mother looking at the anti-maskers and saying:
Well, bless their hearts.
If you are Southern, you get it.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.