Are Your Wagons Circling Or Rolling On?

Covid vs Indian Raid

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

This whole covid thing has been a lot like the late 1800s and early 1900s Indian raids. .

Circle Your Wagons

It reminds me of the tv series Wagon Train with Major Seth Adams (played by Ward Bond). And frontier scout Flint McCullough (depicted by Robert Horton).

Both scanning the horizon, looking for trouble.

If they saw any sign of something that looked like an Indian …

If they saw dust clouds anywhere close, moving fast in their direction, it was reason to ride fast and furious. You felt your neck hairs rise. It was reason to pull your hat down tight on your head and hustle.

Keeping the Herd Together

And most especially, it was the job of the daring wagon leaders to protect the newbies who depended on them …no matter what they had to do.

Thus, at the head of the line, standing in their stirrups, those captains called out to their band, “Circle your wagons.”

Then, sure enough, that was enough to stir anxiety up in every camper, rousing them out of their sleepwalk. Even the stragglers who had been lagging at the end of the line, hastened to follow orders.

Thus, the gap between each wagon, tightened.

Instense Anxiety

For even lolly-gaggers were stirred up and anxious.

Everyone hustled and bustled their way to make camp. Quickly, their band transformed into a tight loop of fierce warriors who had pulled every gun, every rifle, every tool that could get their hands on to fight their battle.

Everyone was wide-awake and alert. Tense with anticipation.

Even granny had a scowl on her face and a weapon in her hand.

The Stir of Three Little Words

For those three little words were enough to arouse in them a negative emotional state and create what Professor Jason M. Satterfield, of the University of California, San Francisco called “cognitive tunnel vision.”

In his course guidebook Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain, Satterfield explains that anger and anxiety are aroused when exposed to psychological suffering. Satterfield says “Anger picks up steam over time ….[and] the longer you wait, the angrier you get, and the less likely you’re going to be able to control your angry reaction.”

Every wannabee wagon driver, then as well as today, experiences things that arouse their anxiety and anger. Most people in today’s society have some degree of understanding and awareness of their feelings and emotions more than our ancestors did.

Is it Worth it?

Thus, we have a chance to take Satterfield’s advice and “do an assessment of whether or not it’s worth the investment of energy and resources to get angry.” Simply because we realize “anger, whether it is in response to something small or large, takes a toll on our bodies, particularly on our relationships.”

Satterfield states we must “work to hopefully decrease hostile fantasies, or [especially]when an individual is triggered for anger and then starts to imagine all sorts of things he or she is going to say or do.”

Today we each can come to realize that our job is to “tighten the circle.” You must learn to take your mind off of things that make you angry by “taking your mind else where.”.

Cognitive Entanglement

Everyone in the wagon trail herd got ready for a fight and then stood around the camp, tense and tormented. Waiting anxiously for what was coming. Their minds whirling with worries that echoed repeatedly, pumping the flow of adrenalin in their minds.

Thus, “cognitive entanglement” and rumination took over and resulted in “psychological rigidity” or inability to see anything accept the problem. .

When afraid, every wannabee wagon driver, today needs to “change their intention …”

The Intent to Fight

Yesterday and today, we’re forced to face and focus attention on formidable frontier fears: hostile Indians in the past. And the virus today.

Today’s bands must be as tight as they were in the past.They must still be small knit groups. Fighting frantic fears and nervous frusrations. Focused on what’s just beyond the next gully.

Today we can’t see the enemy any more than our forefathers did.

Today, we are just as terrified … and our terror easily makes us sick. All because we ourselves have, unwittingly, let ourself be driven. Driven by our emotions. Driven by our pain.

So, we have settled into becoming a fear-driven society.

Waking Up

But now is the time to wake up.

It’s time now to lift ourselves out from under the cover of the canvas.

And that takes dedication and determination. It takes the effort of fortified freedom to stop hiding in the darkness and step out into the daylight.

A Conscious Decision

It takes a conscious decision to …

step out and away from the frantic fears and frustration, real or imagined, and change our position in life.

It takes an awakening to become a positive. For as Satterfield states, “when we’re in a positive emotional state, we’re more likely to reach out to others, meet new people, or deepen existing relationjships.”

Satterfield believes that “emotions are there to broaden our cognitive repertoire and to build important social relationships that will sustain us in the negative times of the future.”

Satterfield also explains, “When we’re in a positive mood state, that repertoire is broadened. We’re able to think more broadly and more creatively.”

Preparing for the Biggest Battle

So how do we prepare and cope in times when we are scared into circling the wagons and preparing for the biggest battle of your life?

Satterfield’s research revealed Judith Moskowitz and her “toolbox of different strategies to promote positive emotions,” Moskowitz “addresses gratitude and mindfullness, positive reappraisals of situations, focusing on personal strengths, setting attainable goals and noticing when you’ve reached them, and acts of kindness toward others.”

Such strategies move us forward decisively.

Moskowitz also tells us about what she calls “savoring.” She explains that we often repeat negative events, feelings and thoughts repeatedly in our mind when something bad happens.

Then we let negative thoughts, feelings, situations and circumstances drive us to constantly circle the wagons.

The Decision to Go Somewhere

When are we going to learn?

When are we going to become our true conscious selves?

When are we going to exchange unconscious living for a healthy, awake and vivid awareness?

In short, when are we going to drive out our fear and focus on building loving relationships?

Today is the Day

Now, today is the day.

Today is the day to control our anxiety instead of letting anxiety control us,

Today is the day to step closer to better relationships instead of closing off from each other,

Today is the day to let go of the angst that often has so quickly stopped us from risking the development of happy healthy fun relationships.

Instead of remaining stuck in the same circle, we need to go toward our dreams. We need to get out of the ruts and holes that we dig deeper and deeper by staying in the same circle.

Moskowitz explains we should start “savoring.”

In short, we should be “intentionally helping [ourselves and others] notice or selectively attend to positive events.”

”We should consciously remind ourselves and others of what is good in our lives.”

What Are You Choosing?

Often we have buried much of our better selves instead of really living. When what we should be doing is drilling deeply into our belief system.

Sattlefield states “we need to better understand our rules of life, or what are called our conditional if-then assumptions.”

If everything we do, feel, and have depends on our HABITS then we need to ensure that we are depending on Helpful Assumptions, Beliefs, and If-Then Statements.

Then as Satterfield explains further, “We’ll need to look at what [Aaron] Beck calls schemas or scripts that tell us what to expect, how to react, and how to live our lives.”

Satterfield added, “Ultimately, we’ll boil it down to our basic beliefs: our core beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about the world.”

Rolling Onward

In other words, don’t spend your life constantly calling out “circle your wagons.” You’ll never get anywhere that way,

Instead, be like cowhand Rowdy (Clint Eastwood) and call out to your herd,”Keep them wagons rolling, roll on.”

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