This Is Spinal Tap is one of my all-time favorite movies. The 1984 mockumentary follows the heavy metal band, Spinal Tap, on tour. Lead guitarist, Nigel Tufnel, brilliantly played by actor Christopher Guest, is giving director, Marty di Bergi, a tour of the band’s equipment. Nigel shows off some of his guitars and then turns to the band’s amplifiers. Nigel proudly points out that the amps “go up to 11” on their dials. When the band really wants to take their sound over the edge, they crank the dials up to 11.
Marty (played by Rob Reiner) is a little puzzled by the elevens on the dials.
Marty: "Why don’t you just make 10 louder, and make 10 be the top number and make that a little louder?” Silence Nigel: "These go to eleven."
I feel sometimes like my dial has been cranked up to 11. I am wondering if you are having “11” moments, too. There is no doubt that we in a time of exceptionally high anxiety. The global pandemic, untimely and unexpected deaths, racially-based killings, the presidential election, the future of the United Methodist Church, the loss of normal activities and rhythms, an active hurricane season. . .
Some days the anxiety level feels tolerable. Other days my anxiety climbs and I feel close to the edge. Here are a few things that help me turn down the volume when my dial is cranking up to an 11:
- Name this season for what it is: really, really hard & scary.
- Be gentle with myself. Be gentle with others.
- Name individual losses. Name collective losses.
- Limit news intake. When consuming news, consult reliable sources.
- Limit social media engagement. I am not on facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler or TikTok.
- Try as best I can to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise, make authentic human connections, pray.
- Find appropriate humor wherever and whenever I can.
This list is not exhaustive nor is it prescriptive. There may be things that work for me that don’t work for you. There may be things that work for you that don’t work for me. We can give each other room to be human. We can give each other room to be unique.
Speaking of humor, I’ll catch y’all later. I am going to go rent and watch This Is Spinal Tap!