Sunday, November 12, 2006

How Do You Deal With The Changing Fortunes Of Life?

A few days ago, Mrs. George, a patient of mine, came for her annual gynecological examination. She was also visiting her dentist and eye doctor so her husband’s medical insurance could cover her visits as she did not know whether she would have medical insurance in six weeks.

Her husband is an obstetrician gynecologist who has just been told by his employer that he should start looking for a job as his position has been eliminated. Her husband’s organization was downsizing to save money. He was given six weeks to start looking for a job. He is well trained and hence may be able to find a job. However, he has kids in college and my patient is a homemaker. Needless to say, she was devastated and requested antidepressants to help her cope with her sudden loss.

Fortunes, like the weather, change all the time. It is the rule rather than the exception. Managing these life changes involve the ability to consider ourselves as part of nature. Nothing lasts forever. King Solomon also alluded to this when he said “for everything, there is a season.” Thus one way of beating anxiety related to change is to meditate on nature. In our quite moments we should think about how the nights change to days, the days change to nights, the minutes change to hours. The winter does not last forever; it always gives way to spring. It seems to me that change is inevitable.

It is by setting some time aside to contemplate on the wonders of nature with its constant changes that we appreciate that being part of nature, our circumstances will change too. The only unknown is when. If we keep this in mind, we can detach ourselves from our fortunes. This detachment will help us when our fortunes change. We will then have the confidence that the bitter winter will not last forever and look forward to the next season in our lives. This way, we become one with nature and beat anxiety.

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