An elixir for brain fog

Ever lost something, you thought probably forever, and then randomly found it and looked around to find someone to high-five or fist-bump or yell wahooo at the top of your lungs??? I grabbed a cardigan from my closet the other day – one of those sorta warm but sorta chilly because of the wind days. I was walking up the stairs at the church, put my hand in the front pockets of the sweater for some reason and voila’! My retainers!!! Not even kidding. There I was, alone in the stairwell at Grace breaking into the Hallelujah Chorus and it was neither Christmas nor Easter. Singing in the stairwell makes everyone sound mighty and majestic. It’s so echo-ey. Plus I love trying to sing all the various parts of the Hallelujah chorus, mostly because I don’t know any of them completely, but I know all of them partly, so why not? Bottom line, I’m back to retaining with a renewed commitment to place them quite carefully in the same place after each use.

Ever locked your keys in your car? My guess is most everyone who has ever driven has done that. Buuuuut, the most gifted sometimes find a way to lock both the active set AND the spare in the truck at the same time. It’s how I started Monday this week. Talking on the phone, loading up the truck for work, trying to remember my water glass, making sure the cats were where they needed to be and Max got the essential “I gotta go to work but I always come back” conversation and tone. As soon as the click sounded and the door slammed the feeling in the pit of my stomach was immediate and intense. So in my rush, I would be waiting for the guy to come unlock my truck for me.

Ever wonder if your brain decided to go on vacation without you? That maybe you should check into those exercises on-line that are supposed to keep your mind sharper as you age? That maybe even if you were tested and never had the virus maybe you really did? That maybe zoom fatigue is a real thing even if you don’t want to believe it?

I do have my retainers back in my bedside table drawer, and I do now have my active keys and my spare key in vastly different vicinities, but my mind is still a little cloudy. Had I naïvely imagined that given the pandemic, gun violence and mass shootings were over? Families in Atlanta and Boulder know the reality is, not so much. Is it more intense because they happened in succeeding weeks? Probably. Does it make them any more or less painful than all the rest? No. Does it mean there is more unprocessed anger than ever before? Yes? No? Maybe? It is easier to be angry than to process pain. It is easier to be angry than to experience deep grief. It is easier to be angry and blame someone, than to be vulnerable and trust that someone will care if we tell them what it feels like to be ignored, overlooked, or invisible. And evidently AR-15s are available to everyone. Guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people, except maybe when they don’t have easy access to guns of that caliber, make, and model? Not that simple? Maybe not, or maybe.

Ever wrestle with yourself about how to make some sort of difference with the things you care about most in the world? Is it using our voices that will bring about positive change? Is it using our votes, our volunteer work, our energy and passion in the large arena or taking time to make one change for one person on one day? It’s likely all of the above and all of the more than that that we can brainstorm and create. Maybe doing one good thing to make one positive change for at least one person once a day is an elixir for brain fog and fatigue that is not about a physical diagnosis but about emotional and spiritual weariness.

Be gentle with ourselves in these brain-fogging times. Retainers reappear, locked vehicles get unlocked, and continuing to work toward a world without mass shootings must be our energy and passion and making that difference one person and one day at a time is the way of Jesus!

I came across this YouTube video of a part of a TED talk by an educator of high school students. His four expectations in his classroom are: read critically, write consciously, speak clearly, tell your truth. He doesn’t say to do all that only when you are clear you are completely right on everything you’re going to say. He says to commit to those things with as much knowledge and experience you have at the time and not to stay silent when you have the opportunity to speak. He then powerfully shares his own truth where that is concerned. It moved me in how much I could identify with some of his vulnerabilities – maybe you too.