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Life’s too much…and sometimes addiction to crisis and struggle in life is the culprit!


It seems everything has become a crisis: the next rain storm, a possible earthquake, an ongoing conflict (don’t we equate crisis with the Middle East?).  Wiktionary informs us that the word krisis in ancient Greek means: “a decision, choice, election, judgment, or dispute.”   Crisis then is not just a problem looming on the horizon.  It is an opportunity to make a choice in life.  Our response to daily crises determines the path we take in our lives.  In fact, without crises we would cease to exist in any meaningful way.

Yet if you’re like me you may feel that life’s crises are simply too much.  I often feel responsible to improve our world.  I struggle to reach my goals and to overcome adversity.  In fact I’m almost addicted to having some kind of crisis with which to struggle regularly.

This addiction to struggling with crisis impedes my feeling the quiet joy of the here and now.  It holds me back from experiencing the “glass half full.”  It’s a kind of hyper-vigilance whereby I need to marshal my resources and keep them on alert just in case something untoward looms ahead.

I’ve tried prayer and meditation, both of which work best for me when I can be outdoors (a true problem in New England, weather-wise…another crisis!).  Though I fall asleep easily, my dreams awaken me in the early morning.  They are often about being caught in a crisis I cannot get out of.

There’s a lot of resistance in me, a lack of acceptance of the natural suffering that comes with daily life.  Somewhere along the way I decided that I had suffered enough as a child and young adult.  I determined that I would exert my will to make my life as simple, uncomplicated and therefore pleasurable as possible.  Unexpected variables of any sort thus become threats to my peace of mind.  And so I find myself in crisis again and again, struggling to regain what I’ve lost.

So what helps?  Focusing on a task settles and soothes me such as cooking is a great meditative outlet.  The other day I made multiple portions of beef stew, chili, pulled pork, meatballs, sauce, and roast chicken.  My freezer is full and these homemade goodies will last me several weeks or longer!   Cooking makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something important to take care of myself and those I love.  What does it for you?

Cooking carries the key to dealing with addiction to crisis and with reopening my spirit.  It refocuses me on a cherished personal value and immerses me in sights, touches, and smells that satisfy my senses.  Life can be a series of these satisfying moments woven into a beautiful pattern.  I can even appreciate crises as part of this pattern, as invitations to find my spiritual center again and renew my efforts toward wholeness.

Knowing that I am addicted to crises in order to push me forward in life is both liberating and humbling.  But by admitting this truth I can normalize the experience and ratchet down the drama.  I can accept my reality more gracefully and thus enjoy the breaks in the clouds more thoroughly.

Nature1.jpgWhat about you?  Are you drawn to constant struggle and crisis almost as necessities in life, or can you gently set aside this perspective and replace it with one that enables greater joy in your heart?  The bursting forth of forsythia, magnolia, and spring bulbs is a great time to renew this perspective…check out the nearest plant in full bud and see your true self emerge.


Artwork is copyrighted by the artist Michael Parise