Augmenting upsetting news with information that brings a smile to one’s face is not enough to erase the damage done to one’s psyche by the former. The only way to eliminate the injury done—and the psychological scars left—by exposure to news of war, murder, accidents, illness, and similar painful information is to prevent the exposure from ever happening. Ignorance is, indeed, bliss. A complete blockade of the kind of knowledge that savages one’s serenity may be the only means of experiencing peace of mind. Yet in an environment in which exposure to a constant flow of new data is natural and expected, shutting down that flow may trigger the imagination to fill the void with worry…a flood of disquieting “what if” scenarios. Perhaps the solution is to simultaneously stem the stream of news and train the mind to replace worry with mindful awareness of the present moment—a moment in which disturbing external stimuli are absent. As I consider these thoughts, I imagine a days-long “retreat” that involves leaving email, texts, radio, television, telephone, online access, etc. behind; in their place, frequent periods of guided meditation led by an experienced practitioner would train the mind to abandon its tendency to replace emptiness with worry. Anesthesia might accomplish the same thing, of course, but unconsciousness lacks the bliss of one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.
Unpleasant external information, unfortunately, is not the only source of anxiety. One’s own worries and concerns—the emotional equivalents to powerful punches to the gut—sometimes are far more damaging than are packets of impersonal reports delivered by news anchors. The world and all its potential for drowning one in grief sometimes is just too overwhelming to cope with; rational efforts to overcome its repeated gut punches can be pointless exercises in ineffectiveness.
Fall weather is upon us. Short sleeved shirts and short pants have suddenly become inadequate. Temperatures are too cool to rely solely on long sleeved shirts, but too warm for heavy jackets. The “right” sweaters are appropriate for the chill of early mornings, but a bit too much for slightly warmer temperatures later in the day. Layers…that’s the ticket. Easily shed (and replaced) layers are ideal for the season. Maybe. As if I had the answers.
The very idea of showering and shaving this morning seems so damn taxing. I want to have showered and shaved, but I do not feel like dealing with the process of having done those things. The idea of more sleep…hours more…appeals to me, but I know waking after more sleep would leave me aching—cursing myself for having spent so much time in bed. Life is hard. But not as hard as doing without it, I suppose. Deal with it. Just deal with it.
Two shots of espresso have not cured my headache. Nor did two acetaminophen tablets a few hours earlier accomplish that objective. And two squirts of nasal decongestant failed, as well. It is said that time heals all wounds. If my headache is a wound, then time should do the trick.