Life’s not simple

I am taking my mind back into the ‘real’ world after an extended break from listening to news.  I was a bit of a BBC Radio4 addict, especially their news shows, but at some point earlier this year it all started to feel too much, I decided half an hour a day of news was enough, ironically not even focussing on it, it’s in the background when I write this.   I opted out of being informed and thinking about it all.

My opting out was from radio news; I don’t read papers any more, I tell myself I have no time. That’s blatantly not true, I spend plenty of time on Facebook and Instagram that could be spent reading a paper, but I am having a continued battle with the wisdom of how I spend my time.  I don’t watch TV news, so I have no idea of how it works, but I suspect it would be similar to the radio.

I discovered one of the reasons that I am struggling with news this week.  It was during a church meeting when we were discussing the issue of explaining to parishioners the conflict resolution work by the church in Colombia.   Several people said that this would be too complicated to explain, we cannot condense the work and the issues into a short announcement in the bulletin, nor a one minute talk at the end of mass.

The penny dropped.  We are all trying to condense the problems and the solutions into a soundbite, into a short sentence, a tweet, a Facebook post, an Instagram pic.  I know, this is not new news folks, people have been saying it for years.  But it is making me feel personally anxious for the first time ever.   I don’t know what the answers are any more, because I can’t get the information.  I don’t spend time focussing on reading about an issue, anything longer than a TED talk – and I cannot even admit to how many TED talks are on my ‘oh that would be interesting, I will watch that later’ list.  – is too much for me now.  My brain has been trained to hear soundbites and muse on them. There is rarely a black and white, all or nothing solution to anything.

To go back to the conflict resolution – that sort of work takes time, it takes listening, it takes learning about people and their views and hearing why they hold those views.  My understanding of an issue and my ability to do something about it, can only happen if people give me the gift of information and time to hear it.  It’s not about who is the best orator or who has the best slogan – that is propaganda.

I suspect reading papers or periodicals would help.  Any suggestions?

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New blog routine

Up until now, all of these have been written first thing in the morning.  But it’s the busy season at the moment, with various commitments and a lot going on, and frankly sleep is slightly more beneficial than blogging.

But sleep is making me blog this evening instead.  Or rather lack of it.  I am a great sleeper, it’s definitely my top skill in life.  It’s also the canary in the mine of health and wellbeing.  If I stop sleeping, there is something wrong. And I stopped sleeping a couple of nights ago, not in a huge way, I just keep waking up.  I can drop off again, because I am determinedly not engaging in a thought process, but that ability will wear off as I get more tired, I know.  So instead of having the day start with getting thoughts in order, tonight I am going to end the day with this habit.

Now, to work out what is keeping me awake.  I think it is an accumulation of things and I don’t really want to give credence to my fears. I am feeling overwhelmed, by a quantity of issues, rather than one thing in particular. I suspect what I am not doing very well is writing down everything I need to get sorted and then working out where to start.   In a peculiar way, my fear is writing everything down, because then I may just realise that I can’t do anything.

The problem with feeling overwhelmed is that it becomes harder to find a way to get the job done.  I am starting the inevitable downward spiral into feeling that I can’t do anything, I am hopeless at everything, the best thing to do is run away.  This is my very typical dramatic catastrophising of everything into something way bigger than it should be.  Tonight’s catastrophe is that someone has criticised something I put in place and I feel bad about having to deal with a difficult situation and potentially hurting someone’s feelings.  I seem to think that running away will help.  I know it won’t, but right now, that flight instinct is huge.

To add some perspective, I have handled the situation well.  Two things went wrong tonight on my watch, one was solvable this evening and so it was resolved and hopefully all will be fine.  The other issue felt much bigger.  So, I did what I will hopefully come to accept was the right thing, I listened to the concerns and I promised to deal with them.  And I will deal with it at another time, when I am not feeling overwhelmed, not today.

And meanwhile, I need to remember everything good that happened this evening, because lots did. Perfection is not mine on this occasion, but I need to not forget the good stuff, there was much much more of that than the bad stuff.

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