A woman was ranting out in the middle of my street this morning

You may be surprised to learn that it was not me.

I sure was.

I spotted her at the bottom of our hill, waving her arms and hollering, as soon as I began my jaunty descent. The descent, I might add, is always jaunty. Funny how the ascent never is. But I digress. Again.

Late for my appointment, per usual, I was half jogging, while straining to make out her complaints….all the while wondering. . . how is this NOT ME? I’ve been feeling consumed with some pretty angry thoughts lately. In fact, the volume on my own inner rants has increased to the point I’m wondering if there’s a rave happening in there.

Not that I’ve ever been to a rave. I can’t stand loud music anymore, and I’m in bed before they start. But I was young once, and I have the tinnitus to prove it.

The cacophony of my inner ranting is now so loud that I often wonder if anyone else can hear it. Is this person in the street a projection of my own inner turmoil?

When I got closer, I realized her tirade concerned a failed love affair. I breathed a sigh of deep relief. This wasn’t my rant party. Even when I’m fuming over a million injustices, my own romantic relationship is the bedrock that keeps me grounded. And for this, I do give thanks. Daily.

I’m fortunate, I know. My family is well. We enjoy a leak-free roof over our heads. We have more food to eat (and privilege) than we should.

And still, the rave in my mind rages on, incessant judgements of Other People, the ones hellbent on desecrating all that I hold dear. Total disregard for the environment and climate that sustains life as we know it. For the rights and wisdom of all people, including women, children, elders, persons of color. For the well-being of healthcare and essential workers.

In other words, I’m destroying my own inner peace every time I judge what The Other People are (or are not) doing.

WHY do I do this to myself?

I know I’m not alone in my emotional distress. We’ve all experienced some level of upheaval in the past couple of years. Many, many Americans say their mental and emotional well-being have suffered since the pandemic began. Far too many young people worry so much about climate change and their images on Instagram that they contemplate suicide.

It’s not an easy time to be alive. Not if you’re paying (too much) attention to the news. Or experiencing homelessness, joblessness, loneliness, ill health, loss of loved ones to Covid…

Much as I kid about my mental well-being, I do prioritize caring for it. Everyday  Most days  On good days, I walk myself around the neighborhood and sit in meditation long enough to reconnect with my own Inner Peace. Reconnect with the utter ecstasy of No Thought. When I’m lucky enough to shut the monsters down, that is. Some days are better than others.

A twenty minute walk or meditation doesn’t shut down the rants forever. But it does give me a a much-needed break. And that’s enough to keep me from ranting in the middle of my street. For today, anyway.

If you are thinking of hurting or killing yourself, you can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). Or see the National Alliance for Mental Illness for more resources.

If you’re feeling alone in facing mental health challenges, I also recommend the award-winning book, Depression Hates a Moving Target.* Author Nita Sweeney shares in candid detail her own struggles dealing with crippling depression. It’s relatable and hopeful.

*Not an affiliate link. I get no compensation for this recommendation.

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  © Cheryl Leutjen