Posts Tagged ‘future’

Defeating Fear

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

by Susan Stanton
October 30, 2018

We are facing a crisis of fear in the world, playing out in many ways on many platforms. And trying to keep fear at bay in the current environment is challenging as we are subjected on a daily basis to horrific reports of violence, destruction and hatred along with an accompanying onslaught of images, sounds and threats—and outright encouragement– of anger and hostility. All this is in part designed to create and sustain fear in order to further the assorted goals of the fear mongers. Exaggeration and distraction are important tactics used by those who wish to advance their own agendas, and are employed manipulatively and without compunction. It is not unreasonable to worry that our most valuable resources and revered institutions are at risk as civil discourse struggles to survive. In short, fear has been weaponized.

Things can seem quite grim. But don’t be disheartened. We have a not-so-secret power of our own, and we need to access it and appreciate its influence and hold it and sustain it and share it.

The antidote to fear is love.

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As Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Fear cannot defeat fear. But love can defeat fear.

6 lessons in happiness from one of the happiest nations in the world

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Natalie Matushenko writes:

I share what I have learned about being happy over the past six years in the hope that it will help others reflect on the changes we can all make to be happier in our lives.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

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The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They’re Not What You Think

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Johann Hari, author most recently of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, writes:

The more I investigated depression and anxiety, the more I found that, far from being caused by a spontaneously malfunctioning brain, depression and anxiety are mostly being caused by events in our lives. If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you are lonely and feel that you can’t rely on the people around you to support you, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think life is all about buying things and climbing up the ladder, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think your future will be insecure, you are far more likely to become depressed. I started to find a whole blast of scientific evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused in our skulls, but by the way many of us are being made to live. There are real biological factors, like your genes, that can make you significantly more sensitive to these causes, but they are not the primary drivers.

And that led me to the scientific evidence that we have to try to solve our depression and anxiety crises in a very different way (alongside chemical anti-depressants, which should of course remain on the table).

To do that, we need to stop seeing depression and anxiety as an irrational pathology, or a weird misfiring of brain chemicals. They are terribly painful – but they make sense. Your pain is not an irrational spasm. It is a response to what is happening to you. To deal with depression, you need to deal with its underlying causes. On my long journey, I learned about seven different kinds of anti-depressants – ones that are about stripping out the causes, rather than blunting the symptoms. Releasing your shame is only the start.

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Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, flooding, and fire

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

No matter what the media or your friends and family are telling you, we are at the threshold of our own man-made “hell,” and the Devil Winds are here to remind us that no one is immune.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, flooding, and fire—we are spiritually, morally, and physically out of balance. The winds are a symptom, amplified by the warming trend, igniting a fire in our souls. It is time to tend to our communities, to come together to aid our fellow humankind, and to simplify our experience.

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The Fundamentalist Christian Chokehold On America

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

The fundamentalist chokehold on American politics seeks to destroy the religious and cultural plurality on which the country, and the Declaration of Independence, was based. These theological divisions – which pit believers against non-believers, and those who believe correctly against those who don’t – are a major contributor to America’s sharply divided politics. When someone believes he or she holds absolute truth, there can be no compromise, no middle ground, and no discussion.

Fundamentalism – Christian, Islam, or any other religious ideology – is the antithesis of progression. Fundamentalism’s dangerous anti-science stance threatens the world’s environment, reduces the efficacy of American education, and leaves citizens unprepared for life in a global economy. Fundamentalism is shrouded in ignorance, backed by authoritarianism, and places an enormous amount of trust in individual leaders. To free us of the religious chokehold, citizens must recognize, and actively vote against the powerful political machine of the Fundamentalist Christian right.

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New Year’s Thought

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

A big culprit in so many thorny issues facing us is religious dogma that keeps people from really seeing and from there getting ourselves and others in balance. As long as we remain dogmatic, locked in manacles of the mind, as the poet William Blake termed it, we make everything worse, not just for others but for ourselves.

I was thinking the other morning on my way home from yoga of the Two GREAT COMMANDMENTS, which, as Jesus said, are the summation of the Law and the Prophets: 1. Love God with your whole heart and soul and mind. And, 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. To love others rightly we must also love ourselves. Many people do not. To get right we must sort ourselves out with love and kindness, and wisdom.

That’s where good books, and good counsel, can really help.

I’ll end the year with this poem from my collection, The Necessity of Symbols,

20/20

Threading from spool to spool
to spool, frost spins
old stories out
over my windows.

Shrunken cherries left by blackbirds
who’ve read the signs and fled
lie discarded on the lawn.
Like motors, hearts turn—
and turn again—
but refuse, make noise—
absolutely refuse
to start.

Ice covers the city
like a freezer-burned pie.
The fruit trees—no matter their kind—
bear only ice.

Oh stabat mater—Jesus—
stoop—
take the cobwebs from the gashes.
Let wounds brighten.
Let us bear fruit
fit for golden bowls.
Thomas Ramey Watson

Tennessee Santa grants final wish to child who died in his arms

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The boy, who could barely open the PAW Patrol toy that was given to him, hugged the man and asked him several quick questions.

“They say I’m going to die. How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?” the boy asked.

Schmitt-Matzen then told the boy that when he got there to say he was Santa’s No. 1 elf and he’d be let in.

Near the end of the visit, the boy asked one last question: “Santa, can you help me?”

“I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him.”

Schmitt-Matzen said he ran past the family and the nurses’ station crying — questioning whether he was cut out to be Santa.

 

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What Research Says About Which Decisions We Regret The Most

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Research study after study shows that we do have short-lived regrets for the dumb things we did, but those regrets fade quickly, usually within two weeks. But the regrets for things we didn’t do, the missed opportunities? Those last for years.

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3 important lessons to help you find your calling

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

More and more people are unwilling to exchange their ideals for a paycheck. But how does this work practically? The place most of us begin is wrong. We search for epiphanies when, in fact, we should be learning to live with ambiguity. The clarity we seek is a myth.

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I’m sure there are people who know exactly what they were born to do, who have had a vision of their life since they were six years old. I’ve just never met them. Most who have a dream struggle to articulate it. They don’t know what it is or what it should look like. Often, all they know is this thing that they’re doing is wrong.

So where do you go from there, if all you’ve got is an itch, a vague premonition of an un-lived life?

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The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

The phenomenon of art born from adversity can be seen not only in the lives of famous creators, but also in the lab. In the past 20 years, psychologists have begun studying post-traumatic growth, which has now been observed in more than 300 scientific studies.

The term post-traumatic growth was coined in the 1990s by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun to describe instances of individuals who experienced profound transformation as they coped with various types of trauma and challenging life circumstances. Up to 70 percent of trauma survivors report some positive psychological growth, research has found.

Growth after trauma can take a number of different forms, including a greater appreciation for life, the identification of new possibilities for one’s life, more satisfying interpersonal relationships, a richer spiritual life and a connection to something greater than oneself, and a sense of personal strength.

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The physical rebuilding of a city that takes place after an earthquake can be likened to the cognitive processing and restructuring that an individual experiences in the wake of a trauma. Once the most foundational structures of the self have been shaken, we are in a position to pursue new—and perhaps creative—opportunities.

The “rebuilding” process looks something like this: After a traumatic event, such as a serious illness or loss of a loved one, individuals intensely process the event—they’re constantly thinking about what happened, and usually with strong emotional reactions.
It’s important to note that sadness, grief, anger, and anxiety, of course, are common responses to trauma, and growth generally occurs alongside these challenging emotions—not in place of them. The process of growth can be seen as a way to adapt to extremely adverse circumstances and to gain an understanding of both the trauma and its negative psychological impact.

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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