Being human is tough. We come with lots of parts – some we can see, prod, and poke – others are not so physical – the emotional and psychological parts of our makeup. And to be sure, they’re intertwined more often than not to such an extent that we’re knocked off our feet by something that never physically touches us.
For the physical challenges, we go into training. Never a bad idea in any case: healthy minds in healthy bodies. We walk a little further or increase our pace. Add more weight to the bar. And we keep at it, setting goals and talking it up with friends and family. Often we put out carrots: Going to walk part of the Appalachian Trail after I build up to walking 10 miles a day with a full pack on my back. And we go at it week after week. It’s not easy. We need motivation and/or a coach, but we do it.
But life comes and gives us a kick in the butt (just being polite here). And we go down for the count thinking there was no training for this and I should have known better than to step into the ring with a 1000-pound gorilla. Yeh, but…
Crap happens all the time. And I do think there is some training and practice that can help when one feels overwhelmed. Think of others, work for others, and practice loving kindness when you can.
I know I get trapped in that “Woe is me” rut. Nothing going right, knocking over a full glass of beer. Not being able to sleep. Flat tire, inflationary prices for everything. Know then I need to take a few moments for others. Examine what I haven’t been doing to help.
It’s easy. Lately, I’ve felt overwhelmed with too much to do – holidays coming up, Thanksgiving trip to see family, winterizing house and garden, only 24 hours in the day. And when I take a walk around the neighborhood, I just curse at the pieces of litter and forget how often I’ve written to just pick up a piece or two and dispose of it properly. Haven’t been doing that – too trapped in that “Oh woe is me” to pick up even one piece, letting that become a pimple on my problems.
So, as I write this I’m telling myself it’s time to pump a little iron. Break out of my shell (s) and think of others. Do that occasional act of kindness. Yes, it’s tough but that’s why we’re in training. We can do it!
Heaven forbid, if it gets too much, then let’s remember we can reach out and get help. A coach is a good thing and we all need one from time to time.
Think of it this way. If we go into some serious training with our kindness now we can be really buff by the time Christmas comes a month from now. And I just realized, we’re all on the same team and we’re going to win the World’s Cup – so where can I get a beer? Now that may be a problem (If you’re following events in Qatar that last sentence could be funny – or definitely not PC. – penalty kick?)
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season with sparkling acts of kindness falling all around us like so many snowflakes.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at email@example.com.