Lowering the Curtain on Drama
Just yesterday I was speaking with someone who feels unhappy with his life. He reports a kind of paralysis starting to surround him. His relationship with his wife and friends is being negatively affected because he is so caught in his own melancholy malaise. He said that as much as he tries not to, he finds himself cantankerous and hard to get along with. He ends up blaming his wife for his unhappiness, though he knows that the issue is really not about her at all. It's about him. Her response is sorrow at his unhappiness, but she is also weary of his sour attitude and has come to the point of saying that it's up to him to do something about it. “Everything in my life feels like a big drama,” he said.
There’s more than enough drama around for all of us these days. It's increasingly easy to become enmeshed in the commotion and find ourselves spinning out of control. I recently experienced this myself. It seemed that every day had some drama that was seducing me and pulling me into its churning center. My emotions flew in all directions, swept up in the tumult around me. I felt unable to inhabit my own self, and avoid being sucked into the vortex. Here are a few things that helped me re-claim my sense of stability and peace:
Get away. I took a break from the environment where the drama continued to occur. When I was out of the mix, I had the distance I needed to regain a sense of balance.
Be still. I took time each day to sit in quiet and pay attention to my breath and the movement of God within me. Physically, I would put my fingers on my neck and feel the steady rhythm of my pulse, and let myself descend into the stillness of that rhythm.
Practice gratitude. I made a list of 100 things for which I am grateful. I found that it's hard to be in a place of gratitude and be entrenched in negative drama at the same time.
Remember it's your life. The most precious gift I have is the life that has been given to me. I made the choice to honor that life by not wasting my energy on what was stealing it away without giving me anything in return.
Look for joy. Even when depression and drama lurk nearby, joy is always quietly waiting to be noticed. To become more aware of this, I did such things as spending time with joyful people, experiencing the beauty of nature, doing something unexpected, smiling at everyone I met, enjoying jokes and laughter, and listening for happy remarks from others. When I looked for joy, I found it.
I can actually think of many other things that have been a recent help to me. But what seems most important to say is that it wasn't until I reached the point of simply being unwilling to live with the drama anymore that I could get motivated enough to try any of the above strategies. I had to be sick and tired of the drama in order to break free of it.