Soothe Sayer

I’m the last person who could even think to tell somebody what their future might hold as I often have a hard enough time trying to see myself through the next few days, let alone the next year or at all into the future, which for me is most uncertain.  ‘Take each day as it comes and let each day end and be done with it’ seems to be the best way to live, however this time of the year is often so difficult for so many, they want answers, they want to know if things will get easier, if things might get better…some want to think of the closing of a door as the end of a year and gather ideas for a fresh start or a new way of thinking, some want to contemplate things they could drastically change or simply improve, or determine clear ways in which they might better their present circumstances or perhaps more importantly, themselves.  I could easily insert the words I, mine, our, and my here, as we really are all in this together, and regardless of what narrative I use, this blog could just as easily be for you as it is for me.  There are some days and weeks that I feel so hopeless, like I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag, and those kinds of thoughts do me no good.  Those kinds of thoughts are many things and soothing isn’t one of them.

Honestly, who does not need some emotional soothing especially this time of year when it’s dark before dinner, and it’s bleak and gray in the morning, and it’s raw and cold in the evening, it’s really no wonder so many suffer from seasonal affective disorder or get those most dreaded winter blues. It’s almost too easy to find yourself falling into a month or more of melancholy.  BUT this is something I do know for certain; what we think about, or dwell on or perpetually ponder, becomes the main theme and thread of our thoughts, AND those voices become our narrator…and they repeat, over and over like late night reruns of Friends.  The more we think the heavy thoughts, the heavier our thoughts become and whether you believe me or not, heavy things are really hard to move.  That is not a soothing thought at all is it?  That is not salve for the bitter cracks and painful sores that some of us might be suffering right now in general, and this time of year in particular. The only panacea that seems to work consistently and effectively is controlling the words that you let live between your ears.  This advice for wellness might be the equivalent of spying your cardiologist having a cigarette behind the office dumpster, or finding out that your yoga instructor was home alone over the weekend eating a box of Twinkies with a McDonald’s milkshake and watching “You’ve Got Mail” for the fiftieth time and crying over where she might have gone so wrong…what I mean to say is that it’s all well and good to be told what we should do, how to live better, what kinds of things we can do to make ourselves feel good, but words can only go so far…words can soothe, but we have to put those soothing words into practice if we want to see the benefits.

There are many people I know, some better than others, who are in serious need of soothing right now…some are aching so badly and deeply over recent tragedy that it’s a wonder they don’t break into a thousand pieces from their overwhelming sadness and heartbreak.  A couple of people I know remain so terribly angry over things that happened in their pasts that they keep spinning in circles and just can’t seem to ever heal, and no amount of salve or Syrah can comfort them.  It’s almost too easy, when you are not the one suffering in sadness, to tell somebody else that ‘it will get better’…how do I know that it will get better for them?!  How dare I even try to say “I understand” and offer my sympathy when I myself actually have no idea how awful this person might be hurting?!  These thoughts got me thinking about what I could do, what I could say, what I could write that might offer some level of comfort, however miniscule, to those in need of soothing support right now.

I am writing as an offering, this I can give…comforting words that may or may not provide any recovery of any sort.  It’s easy some would argue, for me to spout cheerful thoughts and quotes about how no pain lasts forever, to make positive affirmations about healing, but really, who am I kidding?  You see there is nothing I can do to heal the heartbreak of a woman I know who recently lost her beautiful, vibrant daughter to cancer; her daughter, the same age as my own, leaving behind a husband, two babies, sisters, parents, friends…there was not one card at the store that even said a little bit of what I felt in my heart for this woman’s immeasurable sadness.  BUT what I can do is write my daughter text messages out of the blue and tell her I love her.  THAT I can do.  You see there is nothing I can do to heal the heartbreak of a woman I know who for months was by her mother’s side at hospitals and worked arm and arm with the nurses, advocated for the best possible care from the doctors and staff, so she would only to have to say goodbye this week, just like that.  BUT what I could do was have lunch with my mom the other day and when we got to her Jeep and my truck in the parking lot, I hugged her and told her I loved her.  THAT I could do.

We’ve all read those quotes about how everybody we meet is fighting their own battles, how what we see on the outside isn’t necessarily indicative of what’s going on inside, and that sometimes explains why people are nasty in line at the grocery store, or driving aggressively or honking you out of a parking spot…all those little things that make us think somebody a real jerk, might very well be aches and unhealed wounds, and the nasty way they behave is just the way they cope…counteract meanness with niceness every time you can, that’s my advice.  Emerson wrote, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”  One smile might be the only one some mean old curmudgeon gets that day.  One pleasant ‘good morning’ might be the only one some miserable gum cracking too perfumy lady in Shop Rite gets all week.  You just don’t know how far your little effort can go…You have no idea how much goodness you might have done somebody, just by taking a split second to show the smallest bit of attention or understanding.

I can’t soothe the sadness that people are feeling but I can make the world a better place by giving and spreading all the love and positive thoughts and kind behaviors that I can in each day I have.  AND guess what?  You can too.  We all can give comfort to those we know and those around us by simply being more loving, being more kind, being more tolerant, being more accepting, being more generous, being more cheerful…Soothing spreads farther and wider than we can imagine but it starts right here, now, in your heart. All of that energy goes out into the universe and when we feel that there is NOTHING we can do to make a friend feel better, the truth is that we absolutely CAN do a lot, because it all circles and swirls and twirls throughout each of our days on this earth.

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