“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”.
– Franklin Roosevelt
The news is not what it used to be, remember the little things like war, disasters and overall bad news. Those were the good old days. Now we have a new tragic frenetic display of serious insanity being played out all over the world in such a way that if a news cycle is even a day late it’s so completely old news. It’s like our planet is on steroids or some weird amphetamine.
Catastrophe is the new normal. We feel like pulling our hair out or tearing something limb from limb but don’t know what or who. Riots, murder and mayhem used to be a big deal but now they are an afterthought of a much more tumultuous set of circumstances, Waking up to the idea that foreign powers are succeeding at controlling elections and even how government runs is frightening. This was unthinkable. Other than the cold war we always felt safe and we knew that our government was looking out for us. That has all changed.
So staying sane is a real problem. We want to run screaming into the night but we have jobs, obligations, children and bills to pay, so we can’t or we pay an even stiffer price. We are huddled masses of insecurity about what we thought was secure that is now careening out of control toward what appears to be a new kind of oblivion. When the inmates are running the asylum or what we used to think of government, what is there to do to keep our heads above water and not drown in a sea of our own discontent?
What is said in these days and what is done in these times will foretell our future as a nation or a world order of individuals and collectively as a society or culture. So dare we mention what it will take to get us through the daily onslaught of offensive, oblivious and dangerous behaviors? With people and countries coming out of woodwork and doing totally outrageous things to one another what are we to do?
Here are a few ideas.
1. Do something. Take time to do some small, medium or large thing but do something. We need to feel like we are taking some control of our lives which helps to feel like we have some power and are living up to our own expectations.
2. Remember that we have lived through worse and survived as a species. Developing hope is an important component for our personal sanity. Remember that there are always swings left and right throughout human history. In the end it’s a balance. This too shall pass and hopefully we will all still be here.
3. Current calamity may be for the best because it wakes people up and they come out of their apathetic doldrums to be engaged with other like-minded people to create positive change.
4. Take care of yourself. Do all the normal things, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, go to work but take some time to address your concerns and your health.
5. Don’t believe everything you hear. Make sure that it is corroborated over time and from different sources. Fake news is fake and we’ve seen how it creates more chaos. Rely on solid and established news sources not on some outlet that we have never heard of.
6. Talk about it with people you trust. Being able to commiserate and talk through your fears and concerns helps to not feel so alone and helpless. Listen to people we trust are being truthful.
Being sane is an activity which requires that we know something about who we are and what kind of a life we want to lead. These times help us to define our lives in new ways that can be transformational. There is a nobility in finding what is true and helpful for all people not just for the few. It informs us about what matters. To convert greed and lies into giving to others and essential altruism is making something sane from insane self-serving behavior.
For all things there are the opposites and a new way of living in the face of disharmony. To lift ourselves and others up and to oppose those that wish to tear us apart is the essence of what it means to be human. Finding harmony amid chaos leads the way to a better life. For so many of us not running amok is an achievement but for those who must run, do it with passion and in the spirit of what is truly great about humanity. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sanity. Hallelujah.
First appeared in Huffington Post UK