Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

 

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It used to Be Easier

Memories are funny things. “Reflection, often repeated, becomes reality” my own personal quote.

I remember events in some ‘perfected’ way. As though these events did not include challenges:

I long for the days when my children were preschool age and life was simple.

I long for the days when I could do gardening and my joints didn’t hurt.

I long for the days when I wore size 6 and I had energy to spare.

Really?

If I think beyond those fleeting wishes, I recall:

Long days of exhaustion trying to keep up with two active preschoolers. While I adored my children, I was eager for just one long hot bubbly private bath! Life was not simple-I had to learn about neurology and what surgeries meant and how to navigate the complicated medical systems.

I cannot exactly remember ever working in the garden and my joints not hurting.

Imagine the delicious foods, and dinner with friends, I would have missed if I stayed a size 6. And the energy to spare, was a myth then, and remains a myth today.

Truth is, each day has it’s own pleasures and it’s own pain. Pain lets us grow, Pleasures help us endure the growth.

“We all pine for a time in life when things were simpler. Even when they weren’t necessarily simpler, hindsight makes them look a lot simpler.”  Ben Gibbard

Perhaps that is the beauty of memories. We can choose, selectively, what we record for daily reflection.

Kindness

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” Plato

One day I while I was sitting in church, I was thinking about some of the struggles I was facing at that time. My mother was struggling with dementia, and we were in grief as we watched her disappear before us. I glanced around the congregation and thought about all the struggles people around me must be facing too.

They enter the church and smile, just like I did. They laugh at the light hearted comments, just like I did. But inside my heart was breaking. I wondered how many others had broken hearts too.

I work at a hospital. I have had many days and nights in a hospital ‘on the other side of the sheets’ sort to speak. I know what it is like to have your schedule disrupted, to have pain, to be frightened of the possible outcome, to be confused and to want comfort-not just for your physical pain, but your emotional and spiritual peace. Not a day goes by that I don’t pass people who are coming and going through those hospital halls that I don’t think about what they may be facing. I try and offer comfort where I can…an explanation/directions/smile..anything I might be able to do to wrap some comfort around their heart.

I’ve learned I am not unique to struggles. Everyone has them. They vary in their intensity, and there may be moments of reprieve, but another struggle will come.

So, I want to be kind to people. Kindness leads to thinking outside of myself. If all I can be concerned about is my personal struggle -and how people can help me; I am blinded to the needs around me and how I might help others.

I recently discovered a web site that is private and does not accept any grants or donations, they only accept stories of kindness and post those to inspire others with ideas of things they could do to promote kindness. http://www.randomactsofkindness.org

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” Mother Teresa