Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mindfulness, the Game

A new game show on TV called Mindfulness  has contestants take on challenges for money. For example, “Bill,” who is right handed, gets $10 ever time he uses his left hand to do tasks while he lives in a house full of surveillance cameras. He also agrees to forfeit $25 every time he uses his right hand. The challenge is to remember this as he meets surprise and scripted challenges over the duration of his stay. He gets to keep his financial balance if there is one at the end of the game.
Actually, that whole story about Mindfulness  is a lie but it’s the best analogy I can come up with to explain how I experience anxiety. I have to question every emotion I feel. I have to determine which feelings are real and rational and which are coming from the broken part of my brain. When I don’t, I lose. But not $25; I lose my speech or I have a “seizure.” I lose when my rational brain cannot trump the “thoughts” generated my (broken) amygdala. 
That’s why I feel I had to bail on Annabel’s wedding in Vancouver on April 27th/28th. I talked things through with Dr. Shoja first/ I told her I felt terrible about bailing and worse about being a person afraid to leave home, and she said fear of being overwhelmed by symptoms and embarrassed about experiencing them in public is what I’m afraid of—I’m not afraid to leave home.
I’m a perpetual winner here at home. But in crowds, around noise and/or frenetic activity and around aggression, my amygdala always wins. That’s why, likely for the rest of my life, I’ll avoid large gatherings.
The news in France is interesting: The restoration of Notre Dame and its financing is igniting fires of rage in a country already angry over immigration, Macron and a stalled economy.
As the mega rich line up to donate money for the repair of the cathedral, people have started questioning why the Catholic Church has not yet offered any money—and they don’t want the government to spend a sou on its repair. Why? Because the government owns the building and they lease it to the Catholic Church for free!  
Parisian journalists have reminded people that the lease agreement requires the church to maintain the structure and that’s something they haven’t done. 
A motivating factor for writing The Hunchback of Notre Damewas Victor Hugo’s desire to draw public attention to the deteriorating state of its structure. He was successful; the French government undertook cosmetic renovations. They had damaged joints sealed with cement, but cement is porous and it allowed water to bleed into the cathedral’s limestone and mortar and that threatened the buildings structural integrity. Last year, there were media reports that some of the flying buttresses had slightly shifted over time.
In 2017, Time Magazine published an article about how desperately the cathedral needed renovations. The article revealed that the Catholic Church and government of France could not agree on who was financially responsible.
These concerns of responsibility and dereliction of duty are likely going to complicate insurance payouts and complicate the restoration process.
Yesterday was beautiful and today is lovely and warm again. I walked Her Highness alone this morning in real rain, but the smells and the warm air made it far, far more enjoyable than I imagined it would be. 
I’ve no idea how the day will unfold, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it. I don’t mind these wet warm dark days at all.

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