When the Pendulum Shifts and Thoughts on Toni Morrison.

Greetings again my beloved blogging community. Sometimes I wonder why blog sounds so much like “Bog.” It really can feel like a bog sometimes because navigation is not always that easy. I believe it is a good idea for every blog to have a navigational compass.

Earlier this week, my compass went a little askew due to a strong navigational pull to current events. The gravity of it all felt so immense. It still feels heavy, like a stone in an apron pocket. Fortunately, these last few days have been so busy  that occasionally I’ve forgotten that it’s there. Yet, I don’t want to forget at the same time.

I also did not mention that late last Spring, I went to pick my son up from school and there were news sources and police cars parked everywhere. Apparently a young man had climbed a fence at my son’s school and was approaching the school yard. Fortunately he was met by an officer, but the young man beat the officer in the face with a board barely rendering him conscious. Luckily, the officer was able to overpower the man, tase him, and back up was immediately notified.

I had another experience where my children were placed on lock down for a few hours in elementary school due to a bomb threat. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time. I only mention this now, because I’m just now acknowledging how experience can also influence perception. Which I wasn’t acknowledging before.

Once again, it is back to school time, and generally all the things on the “to do” list serve as a mindless distraction to prior events. It’s doubtful that I am the only parent with a story like this. I remember talking to a friend about what had happened at my son’s school and he said, “It sounds like just another day in West Valley.”  Of course “West Valley” could be interchangeable with many other geographical cities. The point is, I thought that somehow I was immune. I believe that is what has been most disheartening about these shootings. I believe many have been faced with the reality, that none of us are immune.

I might also mention, that I have been assaulted before, so many times, certain shock events will trigger a certain response within me. So really this past week has been a two fold process.

  1. Trying to process current events that have transpired in the news.
  2. Trying to come to terms with how I allow these events to impact my well-being and my interpretation of external forces.

It really comes down to the amount of water I can allow to “enter my vessel.”

yellow canoe on body of water
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

I ran across something that resonated with me. The source for this came from @RealDepressionProject.  The title for this was: How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode, and the first step was “acknowledging that a depressive cloud had taken over.” In this instance, I will replace depressive cloud with tragic news event.

Other steps were included for how such incidences can distort overall perception and how one immediately tends to apply the following tactics:

  1. Catastrophizing
  2. Filtering out anything positive
  3. Labeling, which could mean attributing identity to all things (yourself included) to only one action (or in this case, particular events).
  4. Overgeneralizing, and this can mean adopting a mind set that hinges on the notion that “things will always be this way.”

When these things occur, dark clouds begin hovering, allowing very little sunlight to seep through.

Two ways to help combat this are listed as gratitude and self-love. That seems strange, but concentrating on catastrophizing, filtering out positives, limited labeling, and overgeneralizing are not a form of self-love. A good positive affirmation statement to carry would be: “just because the sun does not seem to be shining through [in this moment] doesn’t mean it never will.”

Sometimes things happen that can alter our perception in a day, but nothing has to be fixed on that perception. There’s a difference between acknowledgement and fixation. Acknowledgement comes from a place of power. Fixation comes from a place of helplessness. It all comes back to not allowing too much negativity to enter your vessel so that one can proactively continue their journey. This includes not allowing oneself to capsize due to troubling circumstances (note to self).

This is not a matter of ignorance that entails ignoring what is out there. It is a matter of acknowledging what is out there, but only taking on what one can feasibly handle. Gratitude becomes essential when I refer to “what is out there” as completely negative. In a sense, it is not a matter of “ignoring what it out there” in times of trouble, as much as it is about opening my eyes to all variables. I ask myself, What has been right in front of me but has gone unacknowledged because too much of my attention has been diverted elsewhere?

So, my friends this is where I am at this week. I’ve exerted a great deal of my energies to the sludge out there, but today I am realizing that for the sake of self-care it is okay to put it into my peripherals and focus on where to find some gratitude for the sake of being pro-active and lightening this load. This includes seeking like-minded individuals who are also pro-actively seeking the positives to forge solutions. It is detrimental to keep feeding the wrong wolf so to speak.

In the midst of all this haze, I was able to find a beacon of hope in the Author Toni Morrison. She had such great words of wisdom for trying times. So this is one aspect of acknowledging gratitude that has given me some strength throughout the week. I leave you with some of her words that have plucked at my heart. I am so grateful for whatever forces have been at work that have allowed her message to resonate with me at this time.

Unless you have been living in a bubble, you have probably read her words because her most powerful perceptions have gone viral, but they are worth documenting, re-sharing, and mulling over for awhile. These are the ones that have been most impressionable upon me:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

And of course there is this one that comes to mind when countering oppression:

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

I was also reminded this week that my body is not what it used to be, but I realize that my body has a purpose, that can not be faltered by its diminishing qualities. My body’s purpose is to love. This also includes self-love. I may be experiencing symptoms in my body that can seem somewhat jarring, or my body may not meet the expectations of societal standards, but my capacity to love is not limited. As I age, entropy, or whatever you want to call it, I find this to be the most profound lesson for my continued existence.

I believe Toni Morrison emulated this well. What an elect lady. Much thanks to those who have been reading. Many are experiencing the repercussions of this pendulum shift and I empathize with all of you. Thank you for empathizing with me also and I am so grateful to have any semblance of a platform where words matter, even if it’s only this tiny little  blog.

Rachelle Whiting






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