Triggering my pathology


I've been working and journalling my way (very slowly) through, 'Let Your Life Speak', by Parker Palmer, that explores vocation and calling.

It's one of those ironic books, that is so simple, and so short, yet takes so long to digest and process.

In one short section Palmer talks about things that 'trigger his pathology', cause him unrest, depression, a loss of vitality, and distress. It got me to reflect on my triggers, and I started journalling them.

Here are my key and recurring 'triggers':

1. Blogs: It's like being drawn to look at a road accident, I know I shouldn't look but then do, and wish I hadn't. The schadenfreude of reading some blogs that tear into church and other Christians, and the ensuing flurry and argument of comments.

I'm all for a good blog debate and discussion, but too many times, I look and read when I shouldn't be. That's less a criticism of the blogs, and more about what takes it's toll on my soul. I'm trying to engage less in that activity. It just does something unedifying to me, especially on my time off, and when I am at home.

2. Emails: With church, personal, emergent, PhD, and teaching email addresses and emails from people all over the world, I seem to have a reason to have my email open all day every day.

I have journalled about this one so often, that I need to have times (days off/evenings off), and places (my home), where I stay away from email.

But they start to mount up in my in box, and then I find that by dealing with them every day I can keep them at bay. And before I know it, they are invading any sense of space and time I have, that should be filled with other things, like space and time.

3. Text Messages:I hate text messages. You can't switch them off, they get to you where ever your phone is switched on, and they have no auto-reply when you are away.

And it takes me an age to reply to them, and when I get them I feel the need to reply, and not leave them, otherwise I'll be being rude. Again my pathology.

Conclusion And the common link is the technology and communication that they share. The things that enable me so much, to connect, communicate with so many people in so many areas, are also the things that cause the largest 'bleed' into the areas of my life where I need space, and time.

And it's not so much about skills for using these, I've implemented so many strategies that I think I am very efficient in using these media. It's more about boundaries, and my psychology, the imbalance in my spirit when I am busy that leads me to work when I should be resting, and praying.

So I hope that by putting them out here, in public, I will be reminded of them more forcefully, that I will take the action I need to, to get the space and re-creation I need.

What are your pathologies, and triggers, and how do you cope with them?