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Resilience Dispatch – June 1st – Day 54

We can do hard thingsStay steady, my friends. Our world can get scary sometimes. Periodically, things fall apart, in our lives and in our communities. Pandemics happen, as do social injustices. But we humans are resilient creatures. We can do hard things. We will work to right the wrongs. We will get creative and rebuild.

In the meantime, we must witness the brokenness and offer whatever healing we have to give. A prayer for peace. A kind word. An act of compassion. A belief that things can change for the better.

We can do this. We must do this.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 29th – Day 53

Live in the front rowAlthough I am not much of a thrill-seeker these days, the ladies in the front definitely look like they are having more fun than the ones in the third seat. It makes me wonder if we might want to change our attitude about the roller coaster we’ve found ourselves on for the last three months, and embrace it as an adventure. It sure would make the ride more interesting, and perhaps more tolerable.

Somehow related, is a quote I ran across recently. “What we need right now is more women who are full of themselves,” writes Glennon Doyle in her book Untamed.

Full of themselves in a good way, meaning genuine, whole-hearted, and unafraid. The women in the front appear to be positively full of themselves, don’t they? I want what they’re having.

Where do you sit on this current rollercoaster we are all riding? Are you on the front row having the time of your life? Or the third row feeling kind of subdued? Or perhaps you are somewhere in between. Or maybe you refuse to even get on the ride! If so, that’s fine, too.

Either way, stay buckled up and stay safe.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 27th – Day 52

White-Squirrel-Video Life goes on. Even though the human species is vexed with a renegade virus right now, the rest of the natural world carries on as usual.

Here in my neck of the woods, we are not only blessed with mountain laurels in full stunning bloom right now, but a year-round species of white squirrel.

Whenever people visit from out of town, seeing these creatures seems to be one of the highlights of their visit. My small town even has a White Squirrel Festival every year, which this year was cancelled due to that renegade virus mentioned earlier.

I am fortunate to have a family of white squirrels who live in the forest around my house.

Every day, without fail, they come up on my back deck to look for sunflower seeds discarded by the birds. Every day—as if answering a double-dog-dare from their friends—the white squirrels attempt to conquer my Mt. Everest of squirrel-proof bird feeders. Every day, they fail.

However, they don’t fail at entertaining me and my dogs Jack and Charlie.

By the way, there is plenty of discarded seed below the feeders that is much easier to get to, so they are not being deprived.

In your area, what are you seeing in the natural world that reminds you that life goes on?

Love,
Susan

P. S. Thanks so much for your best wishes while I was under the weather. I am feeling much better now.


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 18th – Day 51

elephant and dog in the rainResilience means that we rest when we need to. Women especially are prone to taking care of everybody else before we take care of ourselves. Whenever we try to talk ourselves out of this crucial element of self-care, we are misguided. Take the time. Rest.

I am feeling under the weather, my friends, and I am going to take the time to rest and recover. If it makes sense to you, please send healing vibes. I’ll be back as soon as I can.

In the meantime, stay well, stay steady. Rest when needed.

Sending you my love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 15th – Day 50

winnie the pooh looks at his stomachOne of the things I have learned in the last eight weeks is that it is wicked hard not to overeat during a pandemic. Especially if you tend to be an emotional eater and turn to certain foods for comfort when stressed.

In the early days, when we first started sheltering in place, I was laughingly calling this the pancake pandemic. I suddenly had a craving for pancakes, topped with real butter and real maple syrup—something I ate maybe once or twice a year and was not in my regular repertoire of foods.

A week later the craving was for ice cream sandwiches (wafers in the UK) like the ones I loved as a kid.

The following week, potato chips.

It was as if there was a little girl inside of me who was frightened and craving comfort, and she didn’t know how else to get it except with certain foods.

“Bless her heart,” as we say in the South.

Now, thankfully, I am trying to be sweet and comforting to myself in other ways. However, every time I go to the grocery store, I end up buying at least one thing I wouldn’t normally buy.

Am I the only one who is doing this? What is your comfort food of choice these days?

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 13th – Day 49

sleeping deerThis poem feels about as healing as one of Old Sally’s potions in Temple Secrets. Or one of Aunt Sadie’s elixirs in The Secret Sense of Wildflower. See what you think.

The Cure for It All
by Julia Fehrenbacher

Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind? Model your life
after theirs. Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror

especially when
you think you’ve messed up. Forgive
yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.

Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs. Spin
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow

the river
of it all to pulse
through eyelashes
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until

you feel
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
anything
to be different.

Every time we take a deep breath we come home to ourselves. Deep breathing also tells our brain that no saber-toothed tigers lurk. No danger. No pandemics. All is well.

Do you have a favorite line? Mine is: ‘blow kisses at yourself in the mirror especially when you feel you’ve messed up.’ Shall we vow to do that at least twice today and four times tomorrow? How might our lives change if we were consistently gentle and playful with ourselves?

Stay steady. Breathe deeply.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 11th – Day 48

snow globeOur world has been shaken up like a massive snow globe. Our emotions scatter around us like confetti. These emotions aren’t bad, wrong, or stupid. They are normal reactions to when the world flips us upside down. We may try to stop these feelings by staying busy, overeating, and watching nonstop screens. But they are still there if we stop long enough to feel them.

Our job is to notice these emotions, and then let them fall like the snow.

People are feeling all sorts of things right now: fear, uncertainty, anger, frustration, irritation, overwhelm, and even moments of relief and joy. One day we may feel out of control. The next day, angry. The next day, grateful and lucky, followed by sad, and then maybe back to grateful. You aren’t going crazy. You’re going through a pandemic.

According to psychologist Susan David there is a simple exercise we can do when we find ourselves amidst the swirling snow globe of our emotions. She suggests we sit for a couple of minutes and write down some thoughts regarding this question:

“Even in the midst of this chaos, who do I want to be?”

Answering this question clarifies what is important to us and helps us be more emotionally agile. We aren’t only our fear, our anger, our disappointment. We are also our intentions, our wisdom, and our compassion.

When I ask myself this question, I want to be helpful. Brave. Creative in my choices. Wise.

What about you? Have you found yourself more emotional these last few weeks? Who do you want to be in the midst of this?

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 8th – Day 47

two elephants on roadHappy Mother’s Day! I imagine this weekend may be a hard one for some people. Even though a lot of states are opening up, not everyone will get to celebrate with the moms they love. Do you have children you won’t get to see because of this pandemic? Or maybe you have a mom you will miss.

Feel free to tell us about it.

In the meantime, we are all just walking each other home.

Love,
Susan

 

P.S. Slow progress this week on Violet’s Tea Shop. Please send good mojo. xo


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 6th – Day 46

Crowd cheeringRight about now, many of us are realizing that the stay-at-home orders may go away, but that doesn’t mean that the Covid-19 virus has run its course and the world is safe again. I recently heard an expert on the news say that we are only starting the second inning of a 9 inning Covid ballgame. (Insert scream!)

Another metaphor I’ve heard used lately is that we are running a marathon, not a sprint. Are we truly up for running either?

I am not a runner, but I like to think that I understand metaphors. This virus requires endurance, has no real markers on how far along we are, and nobody is handing out water and Gatorade on the side of the road. The only fans cheering us on are our family and friends, who are running the same race. As the weeks click by, this long, hard, slog of a race feels like it will never end. We may have even hit a wall already and felt like giving up.

None of us have trained for this situation, but with a little luck and wisdom, we will get stronger as we go along. We have already adapted to things we never knew we were capable of—physical distance from people we love and our community; staying at home to keep ourselves and others safe; wearing masks or being extra cautious in the grocery store. Not to mention total disruption of our normal routines.

If Wikipedia is to be trusted, “marathon” is the Greek word for fennel. Fennel is a hardy perennial, tangy and strong, spicy and healing. Now that’s a metaphor I can live with.

As we take turns cheering each other on, may we all be hardy, tangy, strong, spicy, and a healing source for others. It’s a hard time, but we can do this. We’re not alone. A new day is coming, but first we need to finish this race. We’ve got this. YOU’VE GOT THIS.

Are there ways that you feel like you are running a marathon? How do you keep going?

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – May 4th – Day 45

two chairs on driveway

BYOT!? A few weeks ago I shared with you how much I miss my afternoon tea dates with friends during this pandemic. I usually write from around 9:30 in the morning until 1, so for years having a cup of tea or coffee with a friend at 2 o’clock on select days through the week has been a lovely ritual for me.

It’s not really about the tea—though I love a good cup—it’s about spending time listening to the happenings in my friends’ lives, as well as sharing my own happenings. I don’t have family here, so my tea friends are like family to me.

Even though some states are opening up again, the virus is still spreading and the death toll is rising. So even if the coffee shops in town were open, I am not ready to go sit in a crowd again, and probably won’t be for a while.

My solution is what I call ‘driveway tea.’ It is a BYOT (bring your own tea), weather-permitting event, and it has been working fabulously. I’ve been catching up after not seeing friends for weeks, and we’ve had some wonderful conversations in my driveway already.

Here’s a photo of the setup. Two lawn chairs. 10 – 12 feet apart. I have a friend coming over this afternoon. She will drive up and park and join me in the driveway. No hugs, of course. My friends are all really great huggers, so I still miss that. But I get to see them at a safe distance, which is certainly better than not seeing them at all.

I wish you could join me in my driveway for tea one of these beautiful Spring afternoons!

Are there creative solutions you have come up with to meet with friends and family and still be safe? I welcome your thoughts on driveway tea.

Love,
Susan

 


Read the previous dispatch here.

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