What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


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Weathering the storm

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Katy Byrne

A lot of us are on edge, crabby and discombobulated. These are unsettling times. It rained all winter and (whether you’re right or left), we’re all tiptoeing through the tulips with Trump.

Just the other day, I was walking on a path full of bouncing spring flowers popping out. While grateful for tranquility, along came a big truck in a very wealthy neighborhood. The guy honked and yelled “f… you” and screeched around the corner. I stood there, dumbstruck; I opened my arms, in a “what’s up with that?” posture.

As I watched him speed by, I managed to stay calm. Thank God I had meditated for an hour. I pondered how cranky he was. I asked myself, “what if I had let him vent?” Maybe at first he would have yelled, “Walk on the sidewalks, lady.” Then might he have shed a tear, saying, “I’m so frustrated, I can’t cry so I scream instead?”

I guess this is a fantasy, but it could happen. I’m just saying, many of us are crotchety and irritable (or with irritable bowel syndrome?) in a world that’s full of bad news. We long for things we aren’t sure how to attain. We are angry. Yes, we are.

How to deal with our resentments? Work on staying calm and remember there is hope. Even if you feel cantankerous and judgmental, stay centered in the storm. Just turning on the news is far from a turn on. It’s abominable or maybe like a bomb waiting to happen.

We have to trust the power of the people and remain clear about our intent in difficult conversations. Either we start caring about all living beings or we have a revolution. I’m OK with either, but a little too tired to go to jail.

It’s not easy. I alternate between being a grumpy curmudgeon or silently witnessing the world around me and repeating, “ommm, ommm…” but then it becomes “omm my God”.

Let’s face it. There’s the right and the left and we all think we’re right. So, what to do? How to regulate our emotions?

Don’t criticize others unless they cause harm. National Geographic describes an experiment on anger in which subjects told that human beings with blue eyes were bad ended up believing it. Don’t believe the bad stuff.

Norman Mailer explained how we can get programmed towards anger and domination: “Fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live.”

But humans are also creatures of great vision. We know that peace is best. As Marianne Williamson says in “Healing the Soul of America,” “It is time to resurrect the ideas that truly make this nation great.” The sixties became a decade of death – M.L. King, President Kennedy, and others – “and the bullets that shot them psychically struck us all.” But now we can move away from that numbing.

It’s time for a positive change. It’s been shocking to hear about a budget for more defense, guns and walls when we can’t afford healthcare. It’s frightening to read about rising rents and threatened social security. And it’s stressful to argue with friends.

But, it’s enough already. We have to stand sturdy and centered with intention on safety and liberty for all. Learn from the ants: those tiny beings, “down there,” teach us cooperation. They “accomplish amazing feats as colonies and they do it without a boss.” (Deborah Gorden, Stanford Biology).

We can work together with vision and respect for life. “We the people,” are in deep trouble. But if ants can progress, so can we.


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