Friday, November 26, 2010

Some post-holiday advice

from Wikipedia on mood - 
According to psychologist Robert Thayer, mood is a product of two dimensions: energy and tension.[2] A person can be energetic or tired while also being tense or calm. According to Thayer, people feel best when they are in a calm-energy mood. They feel worse when in a tense-tired state. People often use food to regulate mood. Thayer identifies a fundamental food-mood connection[3] , and advises against the reliance on food as a mood regulator. The low energy arousal coupled with tension, as experienced in a bad mood, can be counteracted by walking. Thayer suggests walking as a means to enhanced happiness.
Not much to say here (people are not creative when in what psychologists call a "deactivating" mood, a term that makes me mutter bad words).  Maybe it's my mood, but I hate Thanksgiving.  It was the worst day of all in my dysfunctional family.  Most of them are dead now, even Nikki, my daughter's exchange student who died of a roadside bomb in Iraq - he wasn't even a US citizen yet.  I have pictures of that Thanksgiving.

So we could have gone to the church potluck, despite this attitude, but something like that is a germ-laden environment for me, and I am at my most vulnerable just now.  Hopefully (which, BTW, is a perfectly good word, whatever your English teacher told you), my immunosuppression can be lowered in six more weeks, and I don't have to be so afraid that some cook didn't wash their hands.

There was more to my mood than the dread cycling brought on by the steroids, which I understand won't be out of my system for another six weeks, if then.  Steroids are okay when you're on them - suppress pain, make you cheerful and energetic.  Getting off them, however . . . Back to the subject - I've been reading the best biography I've ever read, Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Paul Farmer and the organization he founded, Partners in Health. They work primarily in Haiti where, as of today, 1300 people have died of cholera.  No, the number is 1,523, according to the Miami Herald, where people are rightly worried that someone will carry this in to Miami.  Cholera is, however, an easily treated bacterial infection, if caught in time, if medicated, if you have medication.  It is passed through open sewers and contaminated water supplies.

Putting this book down, I did not feel it was funny, the cartoons and jokes about people stuffing themselves until they're half-sick at this annual parody of a harvest feast.  The merest attempt is made to express gratitude, get that over with. Then off to the store for a door-buster special on something you don't need that will not bring happiness.  It all struck me as a feast of greed and gluttony. 

If you're stuck for something to be grateful for - in view of the fact that you had to travel in horrible traffic in horrible weather, and spend time with your family, and now there's all that leftover turkey to do something creative with - you can be grateful that you can turn a tap and have safe drinking water.  You have a flush toilet and Clorox wipes to keep it clean.  No one you know has ever died of cholera.  Happy Thanksgiving.

If, on the other hand, you have that state of disillusion and disappointment too often brought on by these unholy days, the advice above is pretty good, I think.  Food won't cure you, walking won't hurt.


  1. Bravo! Exactly. And now on to the celebration of the holy socialist activist, with an orgy of greed.

  2. Melanie, Austin (TX) Zen Center practionerNovember 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I love that you send forth a blog entry even when it means sharing some things that might not be categorized as uplifting. In my mind, by mirroring what many experience, however blue or sad or tragic at a time when we're expected to feel grateful, you have actually *been* uplifting. Thank you.