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Facing Hard Times, One Step-At-A-Time

As I sit here writing this message to you, what I hope more than anything is that you are well, that your loved ones are well, that all the people around you are well.

2020 has become a new kind of surreal reality.  One that most of us may never have imagined.  In trying to understand how to navigate this new world best, we have had to open ourselves to a flood of information that can shock the nervous and paralyze us at the same time. As a result, it’s hard to know what to do.

A guiding practice for me throughout my life, which is helpful right now, is to “do just one thing.” Take one step forward.  It can be any step, but the step itself keeps us from shutting down and falling into helplessness.

We may not control the external events, but we can “do just one thing,” and when that’s done, we do the next thing.

Some of my “just one things” of the past year have included:

  • Signing up for Instacart and having my groceries delivered.  This eased the anxiety of crowds and the stress of people becoming impatient.  My groceries came right to my doorstep – how lovely is that.
  • When out shopping, showing kindness and concern to the cashiers makes it possible for us to receive the goods we need.
  • Without going overboard, my husband made a pharmacy trip to make sure we had our cold/flu remedies on hand.  While we would normally get these as needed, I thought they might deplete given the way people are hoarding, so we bought one bottle each of pain reliever, cold/flu medicine, and cough syrup.
  • I cleaned my art room and my desk.  Cleaning is a go-to for me when I want to get out of my head and be productive.  And, my desk and art room sorely needed loving attention. 
  • I got a pretty nasty sinus infection.  Rather than “powering through,” I stretched out my appointments and rescheduled some.  I went deep into my self-care habits of eating healthy (this year has been a bit carb-loaded for me!), resting, aligning with my energy, and made my from-scratch chicken soup.
  • Pause and breathe.  Alternate nostril breathing helps calm the nervous system.
  • I’m learning how to live stream yoga and exercise classes on the television.  My husband also moved my exercise bike up from the basement.  It’s now staring me in the face each time I go into the kitchen begging for a ride. 
  • I started watching my baby granddaughter once a week while her parents work, and it’s like a shot in the arm of joy and smiles.
  • My business has been online for several years.  I know many of you may be making this transition now.  Here’s a great checklist to download and prepare yourself.
  • Checking in and saying, “I love you.”
  • Zoom fatigue has become a real thing. So I’ve started wearing blue-light-blocking glasses to help with the eye strain.  I also take breaks every two hours and step away from the computer.
  • Praying for the planet and all its inhabitants.

Today, my next “one thing” will allow the joy of the season to come into our lives as we prepare for the upcoming holidays.

The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

What are the simple steps you have taken during these past months to keep your sanity and civility?  Add in the comments below.


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