Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recalibrating: Reading, Riding and Relaxation

I pulled the hands away from my throat. I moved my hands down and placed one hand inside my pocket. I pulled out my asthma inhaler and took a quick puff. I moved deliberately to avoid disrupting the people behind me who were focused on the players upon the stage. My enjoyment of the play was interrupted by the old lady sitting next to me layered in fur, polyester and perfume. Initially I presumed she was just vain. Soon afterward I would realize that she was suffering from depression.

Science proves that our physiology and our mental state are inextricably intermeshed.
Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume. Physicians such as Dr. John Sarno are convinced that significant back pain significantly correlates to deep repressed anger.

I observed my boss’ look of amused concern as he stood next to me and I asked my vendor if he knew “where in the hell my delivery was.” The angry reaction was out of character for me. I knew it and, apparently, my boss knew it. The anger had been percolating all week. I took it out on vendors, myself and other innocent folks that I had short-changed as I dealt with them from a base of anger. There is one other person who always gets the fully brunt of these emotional outbursts. That’s one of the dangers of being a Heavenly Father-your imperfect kids throw temper tantrums.

I stomped around life for some days lacking energy and zeal. Disconnected from God I focused one-hundred percent on myself, as opposed to good days when I focus on myself ninety-nine percent of the time.

This particular flare-up came up against a 58 mile charity ride on Saturday which motivated me to take Sunday off work as well. The ride went well though I still felt ambivalent without focus. Sunday morning I planned on church but ended up bowing to my pillow. I rolled over and looked at the alarm clock. Had I really slept twelve hours?

Taut and tired I was in need of rest. The pressures of the previous week; driving 6 hours to visit dad in the hospital, the dryer blowing up and stagnation at work had affected me. Vigilance failed and I’d let wariness seep into my bones and soak into my spirit. I needed to recalibrate.

When the ship I’m in consistently crashes against the reef I know that my anchor isn’t grabbing ground at (at least) three main points.

1) Reading. If I’m not spending time in the bible my focus will be off. Surprise, surprise; carving out the time to read allows a solid chunk of time for decompression.

2) Exercise. Adrenaline pours through my veins accompanied by caffeine. A dangerous mix when combined with stress, anger, depression and self-pity. Exercise casts those demon energies out of my system.

3) Rest. Deprive me of rest and I become a roaring monster. Running on five to six hours of sleep makes me a coward. I bend to every evil and succumb to every sensation that strolls into the unguarded castle of mind and emotion.

Like the scent of perfume from a fur encased lady the stressors of life will choke out peace. It is up to me to live on the qui vive against these marauders. I shouldn’t have to crash-and-burn only to be saved by the flashing red lights of my own emotions.

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