Living Peacefully in the Handbasket

white rabbitNever, in the history of the world, has it been so easy to experience the world going all to . . . (in a handbasket?)

Not only are we force fed news from the whole world’s troubles. We are also fed dire predictions about the many many ways it is all going to turn out horribly badly. And, of course, as the rational people we are, we carefully consider all the information we have, and immediately panic. It only makes sense.

The thing is, it only makes sense if those predictions are correct. One scientist states confidently that we will have no more antibiotics in a few year’s time. And then another three or four publish exciting studies about the multiple new antibiotics they have found in caves or in the amazon, and another one discovers a way to stimulate the immune system so antibiotics are no longer needed. So, should we be reacting to the first scientist, or to the others?

So, here’s the thing. I think it’s time to stop focussing on what might go wrong. Enough things are already going wrong. I want to stop borrowing trouble.

Does that mean that I won’t try to make the future better? No, not at all. If you know me, you know that I’m pretty committed to everybody getting to a better future.

But here’s a little something I learned that has helped me in one area of life, that I want to try to apply in more ways. I used to get very stressed when I left my house late. And, all the way from my house to the place where I was going to be late, I checked the time every few minutes. Every time I checked it, I got more upset, so when I arrived at the place, I was not just late, but also angry at myself, frustrated by traffic and no fun to be around. So I changed my pattern.

Unfortunately, I still leave late. (Someday, I’ll change that, too. I AM getting better) But now, I stop checking the time unless I have a decision to make (which route to take, whether I need to change my plans or call ahead). I have decided that, once I set out on my journey, and I am, perhaps, on the train, my stressing about the time will not help anything. So I do not look at my watch or phone until I get there. I pass the travelling time as pleasantly as I can, and arrive late, but with a positive attitude. And sometimes I’m not even late after all.

Fine, It works for me, and reduces my stress in one little area. But how does it apply to the disasters approaching Earth? Well, look at it this way. We are getting started late in a few important areas. We seem to be pretty far behind on pollution control, and carbon emissions, and peacemaking, and equity between people, etc, etc. I am on a journey toward the future in all of those areas, and so are you. While we are on the way, we can keep on constantly checking (is it getting worse?) or we can make the best choices we can, and just keep walking the path. Maybe we will have to check back when we have choices to make, but much of the time, flooding ourselves with information and motivation just increases the stress level.

Are you already convinced that it matters to be kind to people?

Are you already committed to reducing the harm your consumption habits create?

Then maybe you don’t need more information for a while. Maybe you just need to walk the path as peacefully as possible, and let go of the aspects of the trip that you can’t control. It might not make a difference to when you get there, but it might really change the way you feel about it.

One thought on “Living Peacefully in the Handbasket

  1. “…arrive late, but with a positive attitude.” – brilliant. We can’t undo the poor choices we’ve made, but we can minimize their impact. Thank you for this insight, Colleen.

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