Disclaimer: the first part of this, uh, essay, is not exactly uplifting, but, hang tight. I will get there.
I got myself through the first several months of the pandemic’s effects on my life by searching every single day for uplifting things to focus on…just to balance out all that was going on in the world.
As a practice like that can, it worked beautifully. My spirits were up, and my slowly increasing terror was easily manageable.
But somewhere along the line, it caught up with me. As my James would say (in Mississippi-Speak), I was just “slap wore out”. Most of us were. Not just with “quarantine fatigue”, but from all the other chaos we were experiencing; a deadly virus, horrific wildfires, and racial strife.
And politics?? Don’t even get me started!
Yep, just slap wore out!
My exhaustion started showing up here in my blog. This is what I posted on September 18th:
I guess that should have been a warning…but I missed it. I had stopped practicing what I was preaching. I needed to re-establish an uplifting, daily ritual…and quick….but I didn’t, at least not right away.
With the new year about to start, I am inspired by the concept of “resolutions”, even though in the past I have been reluctant to support this ritual. I have mostly seen it fail.
There is no magic just because the calendar numbers are changing, and I am a bit concerned that some are investing unrealistic hope in the year 2021 being better than what we have all just been through. That may be dangerously disappointing.
Realistically, I don’t think there will be a return to our old “normal”…ever.
And I actually hope there isn’t because too many things in that old normal were off kilter anyway…not working, even damaging, and we should not go back to that level of apathy, complacency and blind acceptance ever again.
Our New Normal could include all the lessons we’ve learned (or should have) during our forced, altered behavior. (Remember those photos in the first few days of World Lock Down, of beautiful clear blue skies all over the world??)
But in the mean time, I’m going back to finding something beautiful, inspirational and miraculous every single day. I know that’s what my Dad did throughout his life, and he taught it to us. Toward the end, when he could not do much else, he’d sit on his front porch and watch for the wonderous among, and even camouflaged by, the mundane. He had a polaroid camera and would send me a photo now and then of a “miracle”. (A beautiful volunteer rose bush in his yard that he did not plant. An earthquake crack in the front sidewalk that had “healed” itself in another minor San Diego earthquake. And more.)
So I am determined to re-establish my own daily search for things to lift up my beleaguered spirits.
Here is one of my favorite resources! The Greater Good Magazine. A free newsletter out of Berkeley about the science of well-being. It’s worth contributing to. (You’ll have to copy and paste because I still can’t figure out how to make a link.)
One short video (30 seconds) in the latest issue ironically* brought me to tears of joy. I think it’s about the 10th one, titled Competing gubernatorial candidates try to bring voters together.
Anyway, Happy New Year. Like many other places in the world, we in the Seattle area usually bring in the New Year with a spectacular, crowd pleasing fireworks display from the Space Needle. It was wisely cancelled this year to avoid a virus super-spreader event, and was replaced by a truly amazing light show to watch from our homes! (Again you’ll have to copy and paste, but worth the 10 minutes, especially if you can see it on a bigger screen.)
Well, that’s it for today. I will keep my eyes (well, all my senses) open for more Spirit Lifters to share.
Please consider adding your own Spirit Lifters in the comments section.
I bet we could build quite a list!!
Thanks, and Happy New Year!
*irony best appreciated if you know about my ancestry…