The Art of "Putting Down the War" | Eastern North Carolina Now

    We America First, MAGA patriots who are trying our level best to restore our representative republic and our people's freedoms to America are very challenged these days.  You know the drill.  We're coping with inflation, invasion, indoctrination, and all kinds of other leftist lunacy.  I don't know about you, but the result is that I get angry and frustrated sometimes -- especially when I'm tired.  Intellectually, I know that a "happy warrior" is more effective than an angry, frustrated one, but there are times when that is the state I'm in, and I keep fretting and stewing over whatever got my dander up.  That's when my husband, Hal, will say to me, "For heaven's sake, Raynor, PUT THE WAR DOWN!"

    It's hard to take, but it is good advice.  When you've "hit the wall," it is definitely time to take a break from what you're thinking about and what you're doing.  You need to refresh yourself before you can take a fresh look at the problem you're trying to solve or help solve.

    General George S. Patton of WWII fame knew this well.  He also practiced it well.  He made certain he could read in the evening after battles by taking books with him as he led the U.S. 7th Army in its invasion of Sicily, and led the U.S. 3rd Army across northern France, played an important part in defeating the German counterattack during the Battle of the Bulge, crossed the Rhine river into Germany, and played a key role in liberating the German people and the world from Hitler's Nazi regime.  What did he read?  Well, his "library" included the Bible, the works of Rudyard Kipling, Caesar's commentaries, and a prayer book.  I expect reading from these books (and probably others) separated his mind from the challenges he'd been dealing with and allowed him to relax enough to fall asleep.  Sleep is necessary for renewal, refreshment, and the ability to deal with the next set of challenges as an alert, "happy warrior," and Patton demonstrated time after time that he had that "nailed."

    Speaking of reading, one of my favorite authors, Stephen Covey has written a book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has a chapter on "putting down the war."  Only he doesn't call it that.  He calls it "Sharpen the Saw," and it makes sense when you realize that YOU are the saw, and "sharpening" means taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  His point is that you can acquire and practice the other 6 habits, but if you don't take care of yourself, you won't have the gusto to do all the rest well and effectively.

    At this point, I expect we can see that it is necessary to "put down the war" at some point each day, and perhaps it would be useful to take a brief vacation from it for short periods of time during the day, but how?  As you can tell from my confession about the (recurring) admonition from my husband to "put down the war," I'm no expert, but I am developing a small stable of ideas that (usually) work for me.  We each need to develop our own, but I'll share mine on the theory that it'll help get your mental juices flowing on the subject.

    Get up from the computer and go outside.  Really look around.  Feel what the day feels like.  Listen to the sounds.  We live at the edge of the Croatan and have trees on three sides, so we hear a lot of song birds, and I love the sounds they make.  If you're not yet ready to get back to work, do some small job.  We have a lot of flowers in clay pots and window boxes, and one of my favorite small jobs is to water them.  When your mini-vacation has done its job, go back in to the computer and have at it.

    I have 3 favorites for "putting down the war" for longer periods of time.  Hal and I are "hobby gardeners," and I love to "dig in the dirt."  There's no more pleasant mild activity than pulling weeds or deadheading flowers while listening to classical music (Hal prefers "country").  While pottering along in the garden, I often get the feeling that "God's in his heaven, and all's right with the world."  Of course, that only lasts until I read or see the next news report, but it's wonderful while it lasts.

Gardens are a great place in which to "put the war down."  Water, have a
meal, pull weeds, deadhead spent blossoms, listen to birds.

Read a book, pick some herbs, listen to music.

    My second favorite is bike riding.  We used to go for 50 to 60 mile bike hikes.  Sometimes we'd spend the night in a hotel or motel and ride back the next day, and I loved it, but those days are in the rear-view mirror.  We're in our 80s now, and both balance and mobility are issues, so we stopped riding about a year ago, but it bugged both of us.  We recently found a solution.  We bought adult tricycles and have begun riding them around our neighborhood.  The first ride was tentative.  The next more assertive.  Now, we're getting the hang of it.  (You don't lean into the turns; you sit up straight.)

    Reading is my third favorite "mind vacation."  Not "study" type reading.  I do that, too, but that's "work."  I can get lost in a mystery.  Agatha Christie always fascinates, and I also enjoy books on garden design, interior design, and cookbooks -- especially the illustrated kind.  I even occasionally prepare some exotic dish (like coq au vin, p. 199, From Julia Child's Kitchen).

    I've shared my favorite strategies for "putting down the war."  Have you developed yours?  If not, should you get to work on it?  Do you have someone to remind you to "put down the war" when you need to, but haven't figured it out?  It's important that we keep our balance, our sense of perspective, and it's useful to have strategies to accomplish that, or as Stephen Covey would say, "to sharpen the saw."  Plus, it's FUN!

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