The effect of windows

I wonder what the world did before Facebook?  Seriously, how did we have a sense of what people are going through in their daily lives?  It strikes me that so many things must have been left unsaid, unknown, and ignored.

Just in the last couple of days I've read declarations of marriages that have ended, personal battles being fought with addictions, and case after case of people and families coming to terms with the aftermath of the Fort McMurray fire.  I know there is great therapeutic value to this social media sharing.  I also know that nothing replaces good old fashioned human to human connection.  I've seen that in the last couple of days, too.

We have so many windows through which to watch human beings.  Several generations ago, you'd glance over the fence to get your daily dose of what was happening with the Joneses.  Maybe you'd pick up a scrap of gossip in the checkout line or at the water cooler at work, but our windows were fewer and very different than what we have today.

One thing we need to be aware of is the potential of being overwhelmed by what we see through the windows of our lives.  Our friends, neighbours and family members are all going through their journeys.  When that journey becomes stormy or edgy, it can have an transference effect on us if we're not careful.

I've heard a number of people express that they are more tired since the fire, that energy is scant, and patience thin.  It is totally understandable that there are lingering effects from what we've been through: scary evacuation, weeks of displacement, re-entry and recovery.  But it is quite likely that we have also absorbed the accumulated stresses, worries, and emotions of the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people we are seeing through our windows.

Photo by Sean McLennan

Some ideas of how you might make some personal adjustments to help in your recovery:

1) BE AWARE OF YOUR BODY as you glance through the windows.  If you're feeling heavy, tired, agitated....step away for awhile.

2)  FOCUS ON SELF-CARE.  If you're tired; have a rest.  If you're stressed; decompress.  If you're feeling weighed down; find ways to lighten the load. Eat well, drink lots of fluids, and move your body.

3)  Find STRENGTH IN GRATITUDE.  Express it in some way every day.

4)  RESPECT what OTHERS are going through, what they're feeling, and how they are expressing themselves.  Do your best to let them walk their path without judgement or without taking on their pain, anger and frustration.  You will be doing them, and you, a disservice if you do.

5)  Take an INVENTORY of your PERSONAL TRIGGERS and how they affect you.  Awareness is the first step in managing outside influences on our state of being.

6)  Strive for DAILY RENEWAL  This was something that my friend Stephen Bryant from the Centre of Hope posted yesterday.  "Daily renewal" is a powerful idea that can serve all of us well during this time of recovering and rebuilding.

7)  If you're feeling stuck, find the strength to take SMALL STEPS FORWARD.  Many small steps, taken regularly, can move us great distances.


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