By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist—
It’s easy to get into a funk these days.
The nation is at a crossroads in more ways than one. LGBTQ rights appear threatened. Concerns about terrorism persist. This is in addition to whatever personal or professional challenges an individual faces like, in my case, a 90-plus-year-old father who insists he’s able to drive.
The week this column was due I brought home a chocolate cream pie for dinner. It managed to last over three days and didn’t disappear in one sitting. This is significant progress for me.
Years ago I gave up cable to avoid spending too much time watching CNN, A&E, Sci Fi, and BBC America. Surprisingly, there is a lot you can still watch with an antenna and no cable.
Unfortunately, I recently discovered free, livestream cable news on YouTube. It’s exactly what this news junkie doesn’t need. Normally, I would have simmering angst due to the ongoing foibles in Washington. With practice, discipline, and a great deal of patience with myself, I’m using metaphysics to manage emotions and frustrations.
Metaphysics can be defined several ways, but for purposes of this column it means developing new habits and routines that dramatically alter mood, outlook, and perceptions. Find a reason to be grateful each day. Expose yourself to the positive energy of others. Like attracts like—surround yourself with non-toxic people.
It’s a way of thinking and approaching life going back thousands of years. In the last several decades it’s become part of “New Age” thinking.
Earl Nightingale authored “The Strangest Secret.” Some of the messages in this short, highly readable book are hokie. There’s also a great deal of wisdom and common sense in it as well. The book has been turned into several YouTube audios. It’s one of many books that looks at personal energy, attitudes, and whether we react or respond to events.
Making it a habit to wake each morning to identify what you’re grateful for and going to sleep by reflecting what you’re thankful for can be a life changing routine.
How could you not be grateful for the chutzpah of Nikos Giannopoulos?! As you may recall the gay Rhode Island teacher of the year wore a rainbow LGBTQ pin and whipped open a fan when a photo was taken with President Donald Trump and the First Lady.
According to Giannopoulos, “It was a great honor to be received in the Oval Office, and it really meant a lot to me that I was able to express myself authentically and represent my community.”
It’s easy to fall down into a comfortable chair at the end of a long day and watch the boob-tube. Slowly, I’m re-introducing myself to the joy of reading, something compromised long ago after three arduous, painfully boring years of law school.
Small incremental changes can make a big difference. It’s a bit like a diet. Crash diets never work. Modest changes add up whether modifying eating habits or walking an extra 10 minutes a day. I now leave my car at the end of the day and walk around the block at least once before going into my apartment building.
Perhaps things do happen for a reason. The national anxiety I’m sharing with many others may have brought me back to an interest I had many years ago, but pushed aside due to time demands. If you feel the wind gently guiding you in a certain direction, consider “going with the flow” and trust the cosmos to bring you where you need to be at your current crossroads.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make and try to follow a life plan. It does suggest you listen more intensely to find meaning in things that occur.
Add “The Strangest Secret” to your summertime reading list. The time spent is an investment in a better today and tomorrow for yourself and family.
*Paul is a corporate chaplain, lawyer in the Albany, NY area, and author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”