Monday, April 5, 2010

Stop and Smell the Blossoms!

By Tad DiBiase

In Washington, D.C. at this time of year the cherry blossoms burst into view and thousands of residents and tourists come out to walk and drive through the areas of D.C. and Maryland where the trees and their fabulous blooms are located.  Seeing these blossoms every year is one of the reasons I love living in this beautiful city.  The sight of the millions of pink and white flowers is awesome and the idea that they bloom each and every year without fail is soothing.

 Most of us in the "victim community" (sort of an awful name but what else can we call ourselves?), whether we are victims ourselves, law enforcement or folks who support victims, lead very stressful lives. The dark side of humanity is never very far from our thoughts whether it is because of what we have experienced in our own lives or what we've witnessed in the lives of others.  It's important, yet rare, that we learn to both manage and relieve the stress of what we do and what has happened to us in a constructive way.  

The cherry blossoms always assist me in this process.  Their beauty reminds me of the power and presence of God and his presence in and around each of us even in our darkest hours.  The recurrence of the blooms each year reminds me that life moves on, in cycles, and whatever stress or sadness that envelopes us will, in time, if not pass in full, diminish, just as the flowers on the trees will die and fall to the ground.  

Too often those of us who are victims or advocates for victims fall prey to negative ways to manage stress.  We eat too much, drink too much or self-medicate too much and we simply ignore our own needs on the theory that we're too busying helping others to tend to ourselves.  But what good comes of this if we end up failing ourselves and can no longer help others?  

For me, running has been an important stress reducer throughout my life.  Although I also use it to help me prepare for trials (many an opening and closing have been composed during runs), often I just run. I just run.   I don't usually run with others, just with my thoughts and my music.  The things that seemed so important and stressful before the run, seem less so after.   

We all need the types of releases and hopefully this time of year reminds us to stop and smell....the blossoms.
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