Hi. Are you okay?
The world is changing so quickly, and yet time has slowed right down.
A day seems like a week and a week, a month.
All we have is this moment, now brought sharply into focus.
Which, of course, is all we have ever really had.
Over in the park, the trio of thorny hawthorn trees, that I call the Three Sisters, are starting to blush springtime red. The crabapple tree outside my window holds its breath and buds appear. There is a richness to the prairie browns and yellows, despite the snow and below zero temperatures.
Things are happening, the earth is slowly warming and life is moving forward.
There is a rhythm bigger than we are. I know the snow will melt, spring will come, and the whisper of sweet apple blossoms will fill the air.
These days I don’t allow myself much time away from the moment, but I can still imagine a July night in my backyard. Maybe a full moon, a few friends. Maybe for my birthday. Getting older doesn’t worry me right now. Interesting.
It’s March and cold outside, but I can feel the warmth of sunshine on my face.
This is faith.
Florence Shinn writes “Fear and worry are inverted faith.”
Fear and worry not only invert our faith, they compromise our immune systems.
But how not to worry when the world we have taken for granted seems to be falling away?
How to live amidst such uncertainty?
For me, it’s the small moments in each day where I take a breath and say thank you.
The time you are taking to read this.
You are amazing. Your light is so important right now.
In that spirit let me share some micro-gratitudes.
In this moment: the sound of classical music, while downstairs, my daughter watches re runs of The Office.
She flew home from University almost a week ago, the same day my husband and I cut a long-planned trip dramatically short. We are all together. Gratitude.
I hope you are with the ones you treasure, whether in person or connected online. Gratitude that technology can be used to amplify love.
I am grateful my Mom died in September and that she was able to transition in a way that now feels complete. And empty. I miss her! Yet, I feel her presence and find myself asking “What would Mom do?”
She would be calm and remind me to keep the faith. “Trust that is it all going to work out, that it’s already working out.”
She made me so crazy.
I used to see her faith as naïve. I was ‘impatient action’ to her ‘contemplative stillness’.
At that time, I thought my “let’s do it now” approach to life was helpful; I thought I was right. She patiently demonstrated another way of dealing with challenges, moving through the world with ease. Behaving “as if” her prayers were already answered.
Now I miss her competence, wisdom, sweetness and strength.
She taught us to wash our hands and to say please and thank you.
She believed what was meant for you won’t miss you.
What we are living through right now is unfamiliar and frightening. The news is all capital letters and hysterical headlines. It’s hard to find a breath, it’s hard to sleep at night. Everything feels uncertain.
Anxiety and worry erode immune systems. And we need strong immune systems.
So here are some things I imagine my Mom saying to me, and I share them in case they may resonate with you.
If you are sensitive, be aware of how much news you take in. If it’s important you will hear about it. Maybe today you don’t need to know what’s going on around the entire world, perhaps just in your own city or town is enough. Perhaps no news is good news. At least for a moment.
Spend 20 minutes outside a day, whatever the temperature. Get that good air into your lungs.
Notice things: the buds on the trees, the impossible blue of the sky, bright sunshine on the snow. If you are not in quarantine, go for a walk. Look up and notice the birds. This has been powerful medicine for my radiant friend Liz.
Put on music you love. For me, these days are all classical strings or Hildegard Von Bingen. William Prince. Play the ukulele you bought. Sing. Bailar.
Watch a comedy, or a film noir. In honour of my Mom, my daughter and I are doing a week of Classic Movies, with stovetop popcorn. “Double Indemnity” what a story! “Sunset Boulevard” what a woman! And “Singing in the Rain” what an antidote to the blues.
Fill a glass and give thanks for clean drinking water and energy to power our furnaces.
Gratitude for the people who are called to work the front lines of health care. Thank you. Such deep gratitude for the angels in our lives.
My friend Lisa, inspired by what she has seen happening in Italy, has started lighting a candle in her front window every night, for as long as she feels she needs to. A light in the dark. Let’s all illuminate the darkness.
Connect with family and friends, say “I love you.”
And most of all, be kind to yourself. Really. Truly. Kind. Take a bath, have a cry followed by a glass of wine, read a book. Write yourself a love letter. Why not? You are doing a great job, you’re doing all you can. As my beloved says,“All you can do is all you can do.”
Accept this. Hug your beautiful, strong, resilient body, a body that’s making antibodies as you read this.
The world is rebooting. As we reset, let’s be mindful of all we have in this moment. Gratitude. A little grace. And faith in something bigger.
My Mom called this God, I call it Divine Intelligence. Sarah calls it Quantum Physics. Call it what you will, but call.
This too shall pass. Live in kindness as the antidote to fear.
That’s what my Mom would do.