As a therapist I am repeatedly asked the same question “How can I be happy when the world is in such turmoil?” …writes Lena Davis.
Well, just like you, I’m bombarded by news via the internet, TV and the press. Let me quote an editorial which reads “It is a gloomy moment in history. Not for many years – not in the lifetime of most who read this newspaper – has there been so much grave, deep apprehension”.
That editorial was written in 1857. In 1873 a newspaper wrote “All over the Country manufacturers are closing their works and discharging their operatives simply because they can neither sell the goods they make nor borrow money to carry them until the demand for them revives”.
Of course, over hundreds of years there are thousands of quotations but one of particular interest was a Leader Writer who wrote in 1893 “I have been through all the panics of the last thirty years but I have never seen one in which distress was so widespread and reached so many people”. And we got through them all! We also got through The Great Depression of 1929; countless plagues and epidemics; two World Wars; 9/11 and – as the song goes – We’re Still Here! By we I mean the human race.
Because, as religions from Buddhism to the Kabbalah teach us, nothing is permanent. – 2 – We live and we die. As life goes on we lose our youth, we lose our abilities, sometimes we lose our reason and eventually we lose the ones we love until we too die. But even though this is the case, there is no need to be sad now.
For when we go to the cinema and wait in anticipation for the film to begin, we do not wait in tears because we know it is going to end. When we recommend a book to a friend we do not say “you might as well not bother because the book does end”. No, we enjoy a good book or film from beginning to end.
And that book or film is a metaphor for the story of our lives. From the beginning of time, along with lots of nice things, there has been fighting, change, disruption, bullying and pure nastiness. The difference today is that, through the internet, the television and the newspapers we are bombarded by worrying images and opinions.
We feel powerless to do anything about it and do not know who to believe and who to trust when they promise to look after us. We feel almost constant dread and depression and the only help we hear is to take pills or to join one of the multitude of conflicting organisations and religions which feed off such turmoil. What can you do?
Well, for most of us we can focus on the here and now. Where are you when you read this? Be it at home or at work or school you can bring a bit of peace and quiet instead of adding to the turmoil. Go on the internet and be nice. You think this is all too simple? Well, isn’t this just what you want out of life – a nicer time? No, the world won’t change and human nature will still be bewildering but, just for you and yours, have a little bit of nice. Have a nice day!
Lena Davis is joint founder (together with Caroline Scattergood) of the Caring & Sharing Trust in Cogenhoe which provides support and information for people with learning disability. She is a Psychotherapist and Sociologist and has made many radio and TV appearances. She was Contributing Editor of the Health Matters section of the Journal of Complimentary Medicine and has written for The Independent, Counselling News and Nursing Times to name but a few.
Lena Davis Email: firstname.lastname@example.org