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Nella Coiro

Ball of Confusion

“So, around and around and around we go, Where the world's headed, nobody knows.

In 1970, the song “Ball of Confusion” hit the top of the charts. The lyrics addressed the issues and stresses during that time, and sadly, many still apply today. If we don’t pay attention and become proactive, history will keep repeating itself. 

Even wars continue – one after the other. There were only 23 years between World War I and World War II. Five years after World War II ended, we became involved in the Korean War. Eleven years later, the Gulf of Tonkin incident brought us into the Vietnam War in 1964. In 1990, we became involved with the Kuwait Gulf war. Eleven years later, in 2001, we invaded Afghanistan, and then we invaded Iraq. Twenty years later, we’re still involved in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. 

Aside from our inability to avoid wars and maintain long-term peace, we have enormous turmoil here in our own country. To summarize: a pandemic that killed over half a million people in the USA, quarantines, businesses closing, hunger, homelessness, violence, unemployment, a drug addiction epidemic, social injustice, hate and intolerance, conspiracy theories, and a lack of mutual respect and caring. 

Despite the Covid-19 global epidemic, people are still refusing to wear masks, while others refuse to get the COVID vaccine, making it a political rather than a public health issue. And if that isn’t bad enough, how about January 6th, when radical American terrorists actually tried to overthrow our government, because they weren’t happy with the outcome of an election that was proven to be the most secure election in American history. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that day.

To make things worse, twenty-four hours of ongoing cable news has contributed to a negative environment with more stress. In fact, studies  have shown that our anxiety level and our blood pressure can elevate after watching just a few minutes of cable news. I’m not surprised, are you?

Besides this, I’m very annoyed that the cable news genre needs news analysts to interpret the news. Seriously? Have we become so stupid that we don’t have the ability to understand the news without interpreters? Do you find this insulting too? Can we just return to a time when we had 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news, and we didn’t need interpreters, because we’re not dummies?        

Are you overwhelmed yet? 

Since maintaining inner peace and serenity seems to be an elusive concept in the crazy, stress-saturated world in which we live, how do we find inner peace when we’re surrounded by an external “ball of confusion?” 

Dr. Viktor Frankl, author and Holocaust survivor, has asserted that when we are powerless to change the circumstances around us, then we need to change our attitude. I try very hard to follow this philosophy, and the tools that I use to change my attitude are meditation, prayer and focusing on what I have to be grateful for. (Trust me – Some days, I’m more successful than others.) This is the only way that I can maintain some level of inner peace in this tumultuous world.

If you know a little bit about my work, or you’ve read my books or blogs, then you probably already know that I write a lot about the importance of spirituality, and how it helps me to find my inner strength and resilience. Is it easy? No. Can it be done? Yes, if we take it in increments, one day at a time. Some days, it’s one moment at a time.

I’m what you might call a spirituality boundary crosser. This simply means that I have an inclusive interfaith approach concerning spirituality. I draw heavily upon the tenets in 12-step recovery groups, and see value and wisdom in all religions and spiritual traditions. 

I particularly like the 11th step of A. A., which reads: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“

Meditation involves focusing and clearing our racing thoughts. Traditional meditation includes a mantra, which is a word that we focus on in a rhythm-like loop. Many people use the word Om. However, there are other ways to meditate. If we play solitaire or other calming video games and apps like candy crush or popping bubbles, these will help us to focus our attention on the game, and simultaneously prevent us from obsessing on random or stressful thoughts.

Prayer helps me to reach out to the God of my understanding. I see praying as having a conversation with God. I tell God my concerns or fears, ask him for wisdom, guidance,  and strength, and thank him for the blessings that he has given me in my life. I pray for those that I care about. I also pray for those whom I might have negative feelings toward. This isn’t easy, but it’s healing and it helps to melt away disappointment and resentments.

To summarize, although we might not be able to change some of the insanity around us, we can take steps to calm the turmoil within.

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