Wow, what emotion is appropriate at this moment? Relief, joy (not quite), anger, gratefulness that it is probably over?
I’m not really sure yet, but recognizing the difference between peace and calm, I took the Budgie on a good run yesterday, even stopped and played at the park, her first time in over a month; poor muffin. She was quite tentative at first, but really got into it after a few minutes. It was sad to see that she was a bit jumpy and a couple of times, thinking she either heard a jet, a loud car engine, she ran to the “safety” of my arms repeating to herself while looking serious, “it’s otay, it’s otay.” Kinda cute and kinda sad.
It’s what I keep telling myself, but the truth is, it isn’t okay. I’m not okay, “we” are not okay, “they” are not okay; we are all collectively damaged and wounded, and it’s going to take a while, a long while for things to be “otay” again.
For me, running is both therapy and a reference point for much of life, so bear with me. I came across an article the other day about the dangers of “over-training,” which can actually be a problem for some of us. If you do not have enough rest in your training regime your cortisol levels will be too high and you’ll inhibit the production of melatonin, which actually causes a decrease in performance, weight loss, etc. More seriously, it causes undue stress on your heart and much of your body. It will affect your ability to sleep, rest and be at peace. Bottom line – while cortisol is necessary and good for survival, over the long-haul, it’s bad.
Now getting through these past 4 weeks isn’t exactly over-training, but the affect of stress on our bodies and minds is quite similar; in short, many of us have become cortisol junkies, unintentionally addicted to the stress that was necessary to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe.
Now, post-war, it won’t be hard to find a whole-host of things to be knotted-up about, we are Israeli afterall, with ongoing terror attacks, a feeling of a lack of definitive victory, political fallout, national grief, and growing international isolation, not to mention the high price of cottage cheese. However, what most of us need, is to take a really deep breath, a day off, a rest from the stress, from the running, from reading the news, from checking Twitter™, and just find our existence centered around something other than our situation; we need to go through withdrawal.
Lucky for us, we have this wonderful idea ingrained in our consciousness called the Shabbat. Religious or not, that’s exactly what we all need right now, a long, contemplative, collective Shabbat.
So, over the next while, if you find yourself feeling ill for no apparent reason, or anxious, restless, or angry at nothing and everything, it’s normal and you’ll eventually be “otay,” and the degree to which you actively deal with the trauma and carve out times of rest will directly affect your recovery time.
Now, despite our historical and national value of machismo, failing to deal with this stress and with the attendant feelings will have long-term impact on our physical and emotional health, not to mention our national health. (Ever wonder why the whole country seems to act like an angry PTSD patient?)
We are going to be okay; we might need to exercise a little patience and mercy for the people around us, but we will eventually find our balance, cause that’s what we do.
So, here’s to our health and recovery – here’s to finding Shabbat in the coming days, here’s to being “otay” again!