September 7

We Can’t Afford to Wait for Crises

September 7, 2015

Stress Management

Every day someone—usually several people—calls me in some degree of crisis. Sometimes I ask them who have they been connecting with, where have they been getting loved, and what they’ve been doing to maintain the love and happiness in their lives.

The answers to those questions are usually nobody, nowhere, and nothing. They’ve done nothing to maintain the love in their lives, nothing to make happiness a habit or pattern, and then they’re surprised when everything falls apart, and they’re miserable.

This need for constant emotional nourishment and maintenance is similar to our need for physical maintenance, as I have discovered myself on many occasions.

When I was younger, my body seemed invincible. I could do hard physical labor, for example—digging ditches, shoveling gravel, moving rocks, lifting logs—all day in harsh Georgia summers, where the temperature was often as high as 100 degrees, with 80% humidity.

But the older I get, the less I can tolerate that kind of exertion. I get dehydrated more easily, accompanied by electrolyte imbalance. I have to pay attention to my limitations, or I pay the price.

Two days ago I was cutting up logs and burning dead bamboo, and I got so occupied with what I was doing that I neglected the consumption of water and electrolytes that I knew I needed. Results? Cramping in my hands, feet, legs, and arms. I had significant pain while sitting, standing, lying, and walking. It became disabling. After going into the house, I drank water and took electrolyte replacement capsules as fast as I could swallow them. But I was behind the curve, and it took hours for the water and electrolytes to be absorbed and take effect. By the end of the day I was exhausted.

Yesterday—one day later—I did much the same work outside, but this time I drank twelve ounces of water and took a handful of electrolytes every fifteen to twenty minutes. When I came in the house, I felt great. No lightheadedness, no cramps, nothing, all because this time I had properly maintained my health. I got what I needed as I worked, instead of waiting until I suffered a crisis that would have taken a lot more time and effort to resolve.

The unusually painful situations in our lives—the crises—are rarely sudden or surprising. They’re a natural result of our not doing what keeps us emotionally healthy, just as my physical crisis was a result of my not taking care of myself two days ago. We have to get the unconditional love we need—and trust it—every day. This regular attention prevents almost all the personal crises in our lives, and it greatly lessens the pain of the ones that are unavoidable.

PCSD

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