‘Calm, Connected and on Course’

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Did you know that our brains don’t process information and learn well when we are highly anxious?  When I get highly anxious my ability to think becomes sluggish and almost impossible.  Todd Bolsinger in his book Canoeing the Mountains writes “…leaders must develop emotional maturity and the ability to persist in complex emotional systems without either distancing or taking resistance personally.  Or as the good folks at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center like to say, leaders must be able to “stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.” (P.22)

A portion of my DNA is from Ireland.  My maternal ancestors came to this country during the Irish Potato famine.  Perhaps this is why I love McDonald’s French fried potatoes so much.  It is myth that the Irish have an ‘Irish temper’ but on occasion I feel my blood boiling about this or that and wonder “Is this my Irish blood about to boil over?”  Whether it is my Irish or English blood, when it does ‘boil over’, my brain seems to shut down and emotion takes over.  And that is never a good thing.  “…stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.”

“When people are anxious for an extended period of time, they may not be sleeping well, eating right, or enjoying the activities that help them stay calm and happy.  As a result, they may be particularly sensitive to small problems that normally wouldn’t make them angry.” (Everyday Health, Eric Metcalf, MPH)  “…stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.” 

Jesse Biddle is a relief pitcher for our First Place Atlanta Braves.  While struggling as a young pitcher in the minor leagues, Roy Halladay (8 time Major league baseball all-star and 2 time Cy Young winner) gave him some important advice.  “Keep moving forward.  Put your right foot in front of your left foot and then put your right foot in front of left foot…keep moving forward.”  Biddle says this was the best pitching advice he’s ever received.  It helps him to reduce anxiety, fear and frustration.  “…stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.”

In our family we try our very best to heed the advice of Dory in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’“When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?  Just keep swimming.”  “…stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.”

And last, but certainly not least, it was Jesus who said “My peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NRSV)  “…stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course.”

 Always Thinking…


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