The family aspect has to do with my father, who at the age of 10 (my older son’s current age) was rounded up along with all the Dutch Jews and millions of others and sent to be murdered or (if they were lucky) merely tortured for years in a German concentration camp… because the disgruntled masses of a seemingly civilized nation chose to support a leader who promised to restore their lost sense of greatness and power. I am not saying Trump is Hitler; I am just telling you what parallels come to my mind and fill me with horror.
As for the personal: as I have shared before in this blog, I have struggled for 6+ years with fibromyalgia, a syndrome whose symptoms include chronic fatigue, pain, and depression. Depression did not begin for me with the fibromyalgia, but it is exacerbated by it. So when recent societal events actually resembled a nightmarish problem with no apparent solution, I naturally zoomed right into a state of hopelessness.
But, also thanks to my personal and family history (as well as to external realities), I have not stayed in a pit of despair.
On the external reality front: we do still live in a democracy with a system of checks and balances. The Bill of Rights has not been repealed. There has not been a junta.
On the family history front: my father did survive, and the optimism and sense of gratitude with which he lives his life to this day cannot help but influence me (though not nearly as much as they awe me).
On the personal front: in order to cope with the aforementioned symptoms so I can enjoy my life and do right by my children, I have worked extremely hard to find and practice effective tools for easing physical and mental discomfort. I haven’t discovered any one-size-fits-all solution, or a single tool that always works. But I have definitely had a lot of success. More and more frequently overall, I am able to turn around a state of discomfort and experience ease and joy. And I find I can use this skill in dealing with everything that bothers me, not just symptoms of my illness.
With regard to current events, here’s what this means. Fear still comes up. But I know that actions prompted by fear (which I believe to include expressions of rage, the easy way out of fear) are not effective for me. So instead of immersing myself in the alarmist and contemptuous conversations all around me, I am listening for hope, for calm, and for love. And as soon as I listen for it, I hear it.
Sorry, dear reader, if that sounds hippy dippy and doesn’t offer much. It’s simply what helps me move towards a sense of well-being, without which (for me) not much else is possible: not activism, not even rational thought.
On a lighter note, here are photos of things I am proud to have created since last post. (Click on photo to buy in my shop, where available.)