Saturday, March 21, 2015

Heidi's guide to inner peace

Are you sometimes
       perturbed by politics?
       terrified about terrorists?
       concerned about climate change?
       overwrought with offspring?
       hyper about health?
       frightened about finances?
       annoyed by alliteration?

Back in 2001, my daughter Heidi read a book that explained how to deal with these (and all other) alarms. She then emailed me a short review of what she had learned.

The world hasn't gotten any easier to live in since then, so I pass her review on to you. Read it. It could change your life.
Just don't worry about anything. It's no big deal. Really. Not in the grand scheme of things.

But if you do worry about something, don't worry about the fact that you are worrying about something. Just let the feeling of worry wash over you, because it is natural to worry.

But if you do worry that you are worrying about worrying, please do not worry about it.

Developing inner peace and the ability not to worry is a process, and in a process sometimes you have to take a couple steps backward in order to take a couple steps forward. So obviously you will backslide and worry about worrying about worrying about worrying about worrying about worrying about worrying.

In other words, the way to inner peace is to accept that you really won't have any, and then all of this won't bother you at all, unless it does sometimes, because it's only natural.

So don't let it get to you. When it gets to you.
If you feel you need additional clarification, please check out this Bobby McFerrin video:

Monday, March 16, 2015

The patron saint of bloggers

[Rubens, St. Sebastian, c. 1614]
Various patron saints of bloggers have been proposed--for example, Ste Thérèse de Lisieux, St François de Sales, St Augustine of Hippo, and my second choice, St Expeditus--but none of these get at the heart of the blogger's experience.

I nominate St Sebastian. 

Anyone who's ever blogged knows about the slings and arrows of outrageous comments. Those arrows didn't kill Sebastian, however. He kept right on speaking his mind, and was eventually clubbed to death for his efforts.

I'm not complaining about any arrows whizzing in my direction. None are in the vicinity, since I haven't written anything about sex, religion, or politics (or the heady brew comprising all three) for months.

I've watched as arrows have temporarily downed friends, however.

I'm not talking about polite disagreement. Differing opinions, charitably expressed, are the lifeblood of civil discourse. Even opinions based on misinformation and lies can be part of civil discourse (who among us has never been misinformed or deceived?), if we--bloggers and blog-readers alike--are willing to change our opinions as the evidence requires.

I'm talking about rants, name-calling, snarkiness, and personal attacks. The pain they inflict is real, even if the shooters are obviously ignorant or unhinged (as nearly all of them are).

I'm grateful to the many bloggers and columnists who continue to write well-researched, thoughtful, non-hysterical opinion pieces. I'm especially grateful to those whose search for truth and wisdom occasionally leads them beyond party orthodoxy--whatever their party--thus laying themselves open to all those archers with personality disorders.

If you intrepid bloggers need a saint, Sebastian's your man. But perhaps you are a saint, willing to take the arrows as an unpleasant side effect of speaking truth. Thank you.

And may God protect you from the clubs.