This I Believe

Mimi - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on February 19, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness
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Is First Aid the Best Aid?

I rummage through the briefcase I use to carry my laptop. A first aid kit from Johnson & Johnson is stashed in a pocket. Not sure when I put it there, I thought it would fill a need. I am accident-prone. The bandage packets are dry and crinkly to the touch. I think that is aging. This morning, I noticed the same on my face.

I need a first aid kit. It comforts me to know if I get hurt I can take care of myself. I can put on antiseptic goop and bandaid until the professional help gets here. The bleeding can stop and the healing can begin without outside intervention. I can suck out the venom myself until the antidote arrives on the scene. That is what I call, self-help. It’s not complete, but a good start.

It makes me think of all those books on the shelf in the “psychological” section of the bookstore. Everyone has The Answer. That is true, we all know those answers. It’s the doing it that stalls the motion. Every self-help book says the same thing. Let me summarize: Love yourself, love everyone else and play fair. I learned this the hard way by reading many books. Why do bad things happen to good people? I read the entire book to find out that they “just do”. Thank you, Rabbi Kushner. There’s no difference between good and bad people when it comes to circumstances. Life rains on all.

I read my favorite book in college. It’s called, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients , by Sheldon Kopp. I was in the clutches of a guru-type. The book helped me with independent thinking and self-reliance. I was just starting on my own psychotherapy journey. Now I know there is no one, Answer. Truth is in the mind of the beholder.

If I think I have the answers there is a sense of control. Self-help books promise control. It is illusion. I have no control over the way others treat me. The only control I have is whether I stay, go, confront, ignore or any responses available to me. Which is the bandaid? Which is the stitch? When I rip that bandaid off, how much is it going to hurt? I suppose it depends on how much hair I covered, and how slow or fast I rip. Eventually, a wound needs to breathe.

The mind is not easy to heal. I can get a thought in my head, and continuously re-infect myself with negativity. My mind can be infected with a needle full of pessimism running through my veins. If I choose to use meditation, brain first aid, I can infect myself with more optimistic meanderings. Brainwashing can be good when I wash mine of the old unnecessary scabs. Underneath there is fresh, pink healthy skin waiting to be stretched.