Finding balance in a turbulent life

I’m carsick. Since childhood, when my parents, geologists, took me all around Ukraine in search of oil and gas. Stories of my life on this topic are enough for a separate book. And not only about my traffic adventures, because I was also getting sick on a cherry tree shaken by the wind, and under the parachute, and… Oh, I better stop. And only those who have suffered from it can understand this…

They say, Skovoroda was also getting sick while riding, that’s why he was travelling the worlds on foot. And some say his mother was also getting sick even in a cart. Probably, it is genetic – something inside when any swinging literally and figuratively knocks you out of balance, and you are good for nothing, nothing makes you happy, and you want to stop it all immediately, lie down on the ground, cuddle up to it, or to something very strong and stable, and freeze. Endure it. Wait it out. Balance. Restore your stability, ability and optimism.

Recent events in Ukraine also resemble swinging, in which your inner world loses its support – all the news that gives hope and then throw your emotional state into the abyss several times a day, and all this depletes greatly.

Some manage to just jump off the swing on the move and completely dissociate from the news. They just go to work, get paid, exchange recipes in social networks and avoid annoying topics in communication. In order not to be unbalanced. They pretend everything is alright. Some proceed to move forward, do something, fight, move, protect and raise Ukraine, no matter how posh it may sound. Some force themselves – and fade out because of that. Some do something important despite the storm around. Maybe they’re not seasick? Maybe the level of responsibility at a critical moment is at force? Actually, when I drive, I never get carsick. Perhaps focusing on the result blocks those parts of the brain that “allow themselves” to relax and torment me in a calm state.

We are all different. Some are stronger, some are not so hardy. But there are certain cunning ways to fight if not with swinging, then at least with our own reaction to it. For example, medicines, pickles or dried anchovies, sleep or concentration of gaze on something stable…

So, I thought, this experience can be transferred to our turbulent and emotionally tedious mundane life. We only need to find something that neutralizes the impact of swinging. Something important, verified by time, stable, perhaps even meditative, that will become an anchor and anti-stress, calm down and give strength and faith that everything passes, that we once endured even worse times, and that everything will be fine.

My advice (which you can add to your own ones) are:

Sing. Even if you are alone. And preferably in Ukrainian. Our song has passed through the centuries, it is very energetically powerful.

Read. Look for answers in books, in history and the present. Read about the strong in spirit.

Write. There’s so much going on around here. Who knows… what if?…

Paint! Throw emotions onto the canvas. You cannot? It’s never too late to start! And it is so nice to give your paintings as a gift!

Cook borshch. Ooh, borshch is super therapy proven by centuries. It is two in one – meditation and a sacred dish as a result.

Do dumplings. The effect is almost the same as from borshch.

Grow flowers, work in the garden, not even for the sake of the result, and even if you are a professor of philology – you literally get earthed in the process. And you’ll be happy if something grows up!

Take care of animals, your own ones or anyone else’s. Both you and they will get better.

Knit warm socks. You don’t need them? Knit a gift for your friends or soldiers on the front line, it will make both you and them feel warmer.

Help those who feel worse than you. This is oddly in favour of both sides. When I am worried about a baby who feels bad next to me in a car, I am too busy to get carsick, for real.

Do not complain, do not blame anything and anyone, do not panic. Look for balance in times of swinging and create that balance yourself. For you and for those around.

Both the storm and the road are not forever. By and large – this is an episode, the way from point A to point B. And if you cope with “seasickness”, then you’ll turn from “ballast” into an active member of your team, you will be able to benefit the common cause, and adequately perceive what is happening around and move forward.

Where to start? Sing Ukrainian songs while cooking borshch! Fortunately, these two stabilities can be easily combined!

Mila Ivantsova

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