The Art of Mental Fumigation

Protesters in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, fall 2019

Dear Reader,

Why is it that one good night’s sleep will not make up for six bad ones? Or, why taking up aerobics won’t undo the damage of years spent chain smoking? For some reason, life doesn’t really offer too many quick fixes.

I’ve been having some trouble with my iPhone lately. Sometimes the screen will totally freeze. Even if I am getting a phone call, I am unable to swipe and answer. I looked up solutions online and learned how to “force restart” my phone (solution here for those of you in need). After hitting a sequence of buttons, the screen went black until the iconic apple appeared in white in the center of the dark screen. The phone was (seemingly) fixed. All functionality was restored and the whole process took under 30 seconds! Amazing, but unfortunately there are no lessons here that can be transferred to the human experience. Pity!!

We aren’t iPhones, but we could all use a break sometimes or even a “force restart.”

Your mind is like a house. If you leave your front door open to pests, in time you could have an infestation on your hands. If that happens, then you may have to fumigate. Fumigating a house involves the following steps: 1. the area must be evacuated and covered with a protective seal like a tent, 2. the fumigant gas is released into the house, 3. everything is left to sit while the gas takes its effect, and 4. the space is ventilated and deemed habitable again.

If you continue to allow stress to pollute your mind, then it may be time to fumigate. Step 1. remove yourself from the stressful environment and create a comfortable space for yourself (tent optional), 2. fill your comfortable space with things and people that bring you joy, 3. bask in this environment and allow yourself to live in the present, and 4. slowly, when you are ready, find it within yourself to return to your life, but this time, with a healthy outlook and a willingness to confront stressors.

All of this is, of course, easier said than done. But, perhaps, if you are able, you would consider a staycation, or just relieving yourself of all commitments over a long weekend. If you are feeling stressed out, Dear Reader, you might need more than just a break, it may be time to fumigate.

Love,

Raven

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