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Posts from the ‘Q&A’s about Staying Sane’ Category

Q&A: What happens when we get out of balance?

I realize I’m going through a somewhat pedantic time here, laying out this treatise on sanity and being unbalanced.  It’s a prelude and background reference work to more “conversations” where things will get emotional and interesting. So just bear with me while I get these ideas about sanity out of my system. Here we go.

Recap on sanity: the time when you can think straight – when the usual negative things don’t throw you and when you can make better relationships with peoplebalance, and plan your own fulfillment. You have mental energy when you feel sane, you feel safe and grounded and it’s just awesome.

Now: what happens when you get out of balance is you find yourself in “survival mode.” You’re usually shooting from the hip in survival mode, scrambling to feel better.

All you can do, when you are in survival mode, is make it through your day. This may include eating or shopping for comfort, screaming and yelling for relief from emotional pressures, crying or becoming isolated to soothe yourself, or thinking about what you have to look forward to. Unfortunately, this survival mode does not leave enough energy for thinking about how to create more fulfillment, sanity or happiness.

Again: everybody goes through periods of imbalance for whatever reason. You can’t go through life being perfectly balanced. Everybody suffers from periods of imbalance or from pockets of imbalance, where one or more situations or emotions create a survival-mode situation that is too overwhelming to think clearly through, and which causes agitation and feeling that you are in a war-zone, scared, unsafe or trapped.

Stay tuned: next –

Q&A: Why don’t we feel sane all the time?

The main reason we don’t always feel balanced and sane, is that IT IS NOT POSSIBLE to feel sane and balanced all the time. Or in the face of every experience.

Certain situations or people give us a problem. Even if we are extremely balanced with regard to everything else in our life, one or two things (and sometimes more) throw us for a loop.

We get thrown because things aren’t always black and white.  We may want to be kind, for example, but actually feel aggravated.  When our brain is in conflict, and it is hard to think straight, the intense emotion can throw us. Then, we lose our balance.

Some challenges throw us for a minute, and others for a day. And then, of course, there are the bigger challenges that create enormous conflict, and that can make it impossible for us unable to think straight and feel calm and balanced for long periods. Then, a gray pall is cast over our whole life, every day, every minute of every day.


Q&A: Why do we do stupid things?

“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” -Mark Twain

The reason we do stupid things is simple: we don’t know any better. This in itself is incredibly stupid, because often, we actually do know better, and yet, we still do stupid things. “Knowing” is a funny thing.

The number of stupid things that we do in a day, in fact, is astounding. We are constantly making bad choices and, most of the time, we are aware of it and taking note of how stupid we are. The way we take note of it can be very subtle, so that we barely even notice the chronic but persistent throb of self-criticism, self-doubt and second-guessing that comes with doing stupid things.

Why don’t we know any better how to be less stupid? We have so much knowledge about how to be smart — how not to eat too much, or not treat our bodies badly, save more money, be more patient, more neat and organized, less sloppy…it’s an interminable list.

What is it about “knowing” that makes so little impact on our ability to stop doing stupid things?

There is a ton of neuroscience and philosophy behind “knowing” that explains why it has so little impact on our being less stupid. But this way of knowing in itself doesn’t give you a real leg up on being less stupid. What does?

Experience. Experience teaches us how to know with our hearts. That is the kind of knowledge that can guide us.

Unfortunately, we can’t always know with our hearts. Which means we will have to keep doing stupid things, or feeling stupid. Perhaps, a way to be less stupid is to know that our relentless stupidity must not be allowed to corrode us. It is, after all, just a throb in our minds. Perhaps better left alone, waiting for the rare occasion when it can do us some good.

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