Skip to main content

Shipwrecked: 1) Assess Resources

This week, I'm writing about using the metaphor of being shipwrecked on a deserted island to find ways to make our currently reality a little more livable, maybe even a little more enjoyable.

Remember what Chuck Noland (played by Tom Hanks) did as one of his first steps in Castaway? He opened up the Fed Ex boxes that had washed ashore with him. He figured out how to make a rope using videotape, used ice skates to make an axe.

So, first step for us: Assess resources. Pretty nice deserted island for many of us, with homes, food, and electricity! We can even see people on their own deserted islands, though it's not safe to go through the piranha-filled waters to get to them. Look around your apartment or house. This is now your island. What do you have that will work well here? An exercise bike? An old breadmaker? The right space between two trees for a hammock for when you get cabin fever?

Do you have an old patio set you can spruce up so that you can enjoy time outside? Maybe you can plan some picnic meals around it?

You are looking around your home and assessing resources with a picture in your mind of the life you want to live over the next year. What will you do when it gets uncomfortably hot outside? What will you do when it gets cold again?

One of the items Chuck finds in a Fed Ex box is a volleyball. It becomes his companion. I am hopeful that you can do better than a volleyball (though humans do have a tendency to argue, have their own thoughts, etc.) What are your resources? Can you have a weekly or monthly online gathering with your scattered family members? If you're not in a religious community already, now's a great time for that. Churches, synagogues, temples, etc. are doing great work offering daily options for connecting with others. (In fact, consider this to be a personal invitation to join us online Sundays at Live Oak UU Church.)

Tom Hanks left one Fed Ex box sealed up. Whatever physical items it contained, it also contained his hope that one day, he would deliver that package.

One of your resources should be hope. The "rescue plane" will come, eventually. Life will never be the way it used to be, but we will be able to be physically together again. Extended families will once again gather for family reunions and holidays. Keep hope as one of your resources, and be sure to refill it when it's getting low.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Don't Trust Your Instincts, or, "Well-Meaning People Can Exacerbate Big Problems"

My evangelical friends talk about being "convicted." That moment when you hear or read a message and like an arrow, it dives into your heart, and you know that you have been guilty, and you have some growing to do. At the very beginning of my learning about Bowen systems theory, the professor was laying out the basic idea: that we all feel anxiety, and when we do, we act (often in unhealthy ways) in order to lessen our anxiety. And in an unhealthy system with emotionally immature people -- a family, a business, a church -- one person's anxiety can trigger the anxiety of others. Here's a great primer on that. Really great. Like, watch it 20 times in a row. Or every morning as you drink your coffee. (I'm not kidding. I think your life would be better. Consider it a spiritual practice.) So back to my conviction moment. The professor went on to talk about how when we see someone who is "vibrating" with anxiety, our instinct is often to rush over,

The Most Controversial Thing I'll Write All Year

Back when you were a kid, you learned a lesson. It was wrong. And it's time for you to unlearn it. You learned that you were responsible for other people's feelings. Not that you should care about other people's feelings. (You should.) Not just that you should be sensitive to other people's feelings. (You should.) But you were taught that you were actually responsible for other people's feelings. It happens in almost all homes, even the loving ones. In abusive homes, it's more blatant. If Dad is unhappy, you get hit. So you learn that it is actually your responsibility to keep him happy, or there would be consequences. But even in non-abusive homes, it happened. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You are not responsible for other people's feelings. That's their job. And in fact, you are crossing their boundary if you try to control their feelings. They get to decide how they feel about something, not you. They may decide that you

Me and My Collar

You may run into me on a Friday, in my neighborhood, so it's time I let you know what you might see. When I was doing my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), my supervisor suggested that any of us who came from traditions where a clerical collar was an option, take one "collar week," to see how we were treated, as opposed to wearing regular professional clothes. After a couple of days, I joked to the Catholic priest, "How do you manage the power?" In regular clothes, I would walk into a patient's room, and it would take about 5 or so minutes of introductions and pleasantries before we could really get down to talking about their feelings, their fears, the deep stuff. With most people, as soon as that clerical collar walked in the room, with me attached, they began pouring out all the heavy stuff they were carrying. I was riding the bus back and forth every day, and though not quite so dramatic, the collar effect was alive there, to