Over the last months, I have heard so many people mention that they are feeling stressed. Why wouldn’t you be stressed right now? In the midst of a pandemic, we are seeing civil unrest, economic concerns, and so much more.
What can you do about it that doesn’t cost additional money or put you in greater health risk? Go outside, even if just opening your door and breathing deeply. Give thanks for what is good and brings joy or peace in your life. Send a note of love or support to someone, a text will do.
Life is uncertain, no matter whether or not we are in a pandemic. Change and uncertainty are hard, period. Finding those moments of peace that open your heart and soul will help keep you whole, and will let your light shine for yourself and others.
Breathe. Give thanks. Love. Go outside. Do all of them over and over again as many times as you need!
Everyone seems to be stressed right now. Everyone. Children seem stressed by both the limitations in a COVID-19 world, as well as internalizing the stress of the adults in their lives. Adults are stressed trying to keep everyone safe, fed and housed. Masks are tiring and can cause stress as well.
With all of that, many (or all) of us have our emotions closer to the surface than normal. You can hear people snapping at others, whether at the grocery store or over parking spaces. And mask requirements? Everyone has as strong feeling one way or another. Toilet paper? Somehow, still, there seem to be shortages, leading to nasty encounters as people try to grab packages in stores.
So, we are stressed. Much is still uncertain. But one thing is for sure. In this time of stress, we all need to reach deep inside for our patience, gratitude, and for decency in how we treat self and others. Kindness is the key to all of this.
How can we help others? It doesn’t have to be big things or gifts. Text messages saying you care can go a long way to lift spirits. Thanking people when you call a company asking for information. Returning emails promptly and with gentle wording. Saying hello to others when you are masked as they can’t see your smile. Small actions can make a huge difference.
Kindness and relentless love, they are the keys to all of us getting through this stressful time with a sense of community instead in a fractured, angry manner.
Sending love to you all!
In the last week, I have been moved to tears by both a theatrical performance (televised) and a television series (Netflix). That is the power of the written word brought to life in presentation art.
First, the television series. Season 3 of Ozark, specifically the story line about Ben Davis. Now, if you haven’t watched the series, you are probably wondering why it touched me. The answer is simple, it is the most realistic and painfully honest depiction of bi-polar disorder I have ever seen on the screen. As many of you know, my father suffers from bi-polar disorder, as did Sam. When it is well-treated and controlled, the person (and those who love them) have a relatively normal life. And when it isn’t, life is chaotic, funny, painful, sad, frustrating — and all of those feelings can happen in a ten minute space of time. It is a roller coaster you can’t truly understand unless you have lived it, but the actor’s depiction of it is the best I’ve ever seen. And the response of his sister? So painfully honest and realistic… The hope. The anger. The sadness. The guilt. The willingness to try one more thing. It is a brilliant depiction, and it is a gift to the world because it gives a brief glimpse through that window of experience.
The second was watching Hamilton. Thankfully, as I hadn’t seen it prior to last night, nor did I know much about the story line, a member of the group Compassionate Friends posted online prior to the television event that the depiction of the grief of losing a child was so well done that it could be triggering. I am so thankful to that person for sharing that information, as it meant that I had a pocket full of tissues with me. The lyrics about losing a child and life after was spot on, and painful to watch. Yes, I cried. But as I looked around the people watching it outside with us, most of whom hadn’t buried a child, I saw many tears snaking down their cheeks. No, if you haven’t experienced this loss, you can never really understand it, but that theatrical representation is just plain brilliant, and again, gives a glimpse through that window.
How fortunate we are to be able to see such incredible performances, based on such strong writing, so that we can see into the lives and emotions of others.
When I was teaching, I had a colleague who often referred to whiners as growing a garden of grievances. Lately, I admit it, I have been sowing, weeding, watering, and fertilizing a garden of gorgeous grievances. Gorgeous. Luscious. Aggressive and pervasive grievances. Why? Because, well, no other way to say it, the last couple weeks have tried my patience, and it has made me cranky.
That is not the way I want to look at life. But it has been difficult to not look at things that way. Yes, I’ve followed my practice of daily gratitude, but frankly, sometimes it has been through gritted teeth.
Today I took a deep breath. Did I really want to continue to cultivate my garden of grievances or one of gratitude? Ultimately, yes, after some tears, I came to gratitude. And then I took this picture.
This is one of the garden boxes the men in my life made for me this spring, and it is gorgeous. I choose to grow a garden this way — appreciating love, laughter, support, kindness, and empathy.
Which kind of garden are you growing? Which kind do you want to grow?