We had a really productive group today looking at various topics.
Group members have been showing enormous courage to push through challenges and achieve new things. This has been made possible by learning to be more self-aware. This began a discussion about how we can have control over our own emotions and responses. We recognised that we cannot control other people or situations and therefore cannot let these overwhelm our emotional state. We talked about learning to control our emotional responses to external things, thereby having an internal command centre. We will do more work on this in a couple of weeks.
We also had a discussion about why it’s good to talk with trusted people, we arrived at three reasons.
1. Talking breaks the isolation.
2. Talking breaks the power of negative thoughts.
3. Talking breaks confusion as it helps to order and structure our thoughts and hear another perspective.
A big part of the group’s message is using social media tools to reach out to support others. We are also aware that social media can be used detrimentally by some people. Today we looked at five things you can do to stay safe on-line:
1. You can block people whose posts upset or offend you.
2. You can report abuse or spam.
3. You can minimise how much personal information you share.
4. Check out the privacy settings in social media tools.
5. If you are unsure about how someone is contacting you, the information they are giving or asking for, ask a trusted friend for support.
Given that our meeting was on the day of the Scottish Referendum, we acknowledged that, regardless of political opinion, people can have feelings of anticipation and anxiety, excitement and fear which can occur due to change.
People deal with different circumstances in life. Having previously considered lessons from geese (on which the group’s ethos is based), we considered how eagles deal with the storms of life from an extract from Anne Graham Lotz, from her book called ‘Why?’
” What bad thing, what storm of suffering, has swept into your life, rendering you helpless? The storm of death? divorce? disease? debt?…
Has…a feud erupted in your family? a betrayal occurred in your marriage? a rebellion challenged your parenting? an untimely end come to your pregnancy? a severance taken you from your job? a military deployment deprived you of your loved one?
Besides feeling totally helpless, what has been your reaction to the storm? Are you defiantly standing in the mist of the swirling circumstances, yelling in your spirit, why did you let this bad thing happen? or maybe you are withdrawing into a shell of denial and depression, hoping the storm won’t get any worse.
Even smaller storms of stress can be overwhelming when clustered together, becoming one large, collective storm of suffering. Within a period of eighteen months, I went through just such a cluster of storms that left me emotionally gasping for breath. From Hurricane Fran which downed 102 trees in our garden, to the fire that consumed my husband’s dental surgery, to [my son’s] cancer and surgery, to my parents increasingly fragile health that has included multiple hospital stays, to a home remodelling project that involved a contractor who took our money but refused to do the work, I reeled from one emergency or crisis to another. On top of these stresses, we celebrated the joyful but exhausting weddings of all three of our children within eight months of each other! In the whirlwind, I found myself wanting to withdraw from the aching pain and burdensome demands and frenzied activities and unending responsibilities. I wanted to run and hide from friends and family who felt ignored or slighted, misunderstanding my busyness and preoccupation for indifference or arrogance. I crouched in my spirit from the verbal cheerleaders who exhorted me to be strong, or from the analytical critics who concluded it was my fault. I wanted to escape the hurt.
I understand that a turkey and an eagle react differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey reacts by running under the barn, hoping the storm won’t come near. On the other hand, an eagle leaves the security of its nest and spreads its wings to ride the air currents of the approaching storm, knowing they will carry it higher in the sky than it could soar on its own. Based on your reaction to the storms of life, which are you? A turkey or an eagle?
Its natural for me to be a turkey in my emotions, but I have chosen to be an eagle in my spirit.”