Resilience Dispatch – July 31st – Day 74

A diaryDid you keep a diary when you were growing up? Or do you keep one now? Or perhaps you prefer a journal. They are considered synonyms, but there are also clear differences.

A diary is considered a daily summary of the happenings in your life. Some people make multiple entries in a day. Others choose to write one diary entry at the end of the day summarizing all of the day’s events.

Journals, on the other hand, may be on a more profound emotional level. Many people use their journals as a tool to look into their lives, to assess where they are, or to see how they can improve their life, sometimes on a daily basis. It’s like having a therapist in a notebook that you can carry around with you. Journals are frequently used for self-expression and self-improvement, while diaries are not usually used this way.

Many people are keeping quarantine journals these days. I have one, and write in it periodically, but I haven’t been keeping it up with any regularity. I already write a lot on any given day!

I invite you to tell us about your diary/journal experience, whether in the past or currently.

Stay safe. Be kind.

Love,
Susan

P.S. For those of you who are interested in my progress on Violet’s Tea Shop (the 3rd and final book of the Temple trilogy), I am on page 204 of a very rough draft. My novels are usually around 300 pages, and I usually have about 5 drafts before it is sufficiently polished. So, I am making some very good progress. Earliest it will be ready is 2021, but that’s just around the corner. Thank you for your patience!


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 27th – Day 73

Today I’m posting a 38 second video of a doe and a fawn that have been hanging around my yard here in the mountains of North Carolina. One of the good things that has come out of this pandemic and sheltering in place is that I have been more aware of nature’s awesome beauty around me. I love where I live, and I feel grateful every day.

It is easy to think that what happens to us as humans is the most important thing. But in the natural world, things continue on as they always have. Or appear to, anyway. I find this reassuring.

What about you? What have you seen lately that reminds you of nature’s awesomeness? (If you are seeing this on my Facebook author page, feel free to post a photo of something in your yard or a place you’ve been.)

Have a good week! Stay safe. Be kind.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 24th – Day 72

firefly lightning bug map

Fireflies or lightning bugs? When I was growing up in Tennessee, we always called them lightning bugs, and I still call them that. Here in the mountains of North Carolina where I now live, they appear every evening as the sun is setting. I love watching them light up the forest.

In the United States, glowing insects are known as “fireflies” or “lightning bugs” depending on where you live.

“Firefly” is the more common term in the West and New England, while people in the South and most of the Midwest tend to say “lightning bug.”

In Japan, fireflies are revered and considered the dead souls of warriors.

Even though fireflies put on a pretty great light show, it’s not just for entertainment. The flashing of their light is how they communicate with each other – especially for courtship rituals. Males flash to let the ladies know they’re looking for love… and the females respond with flashes to say they’re interested.

An Apache legend tells of a trickster Fox who tries to steal fire from the firefly village. To accomplish this, he fools them and manages to set his own tail on fire with a piece of burning bark. As he escapes the firefly village, he gives the bark to Hawk, who flies off, scattering embers around the world, which is how fire came to the Apache people. As punishment for his deception, the fireflies told Fox that he would never be able to use fire himself.

Depending on what part of the country you’re in, you may have grown up calling it a candlefly, firebob, firebug, glowworm, jack-o-lantern, lamp bug, or will-o’-the-wisp.

Did you have lightning bugs or fireflies when you were a kid? Do you have them now?

Have a good weekend! Stay safe. Be kind.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 20th – Day 71

little girl paintingBe creative. Once a day. Always. There has never been a better time than now.

Find a way to express the potential inside you. Journal. Draw. Sing. Dance. Photograph. Doodle. Paint. When you do these creative acts, the little girl or little boy inside will perk up and take notice. She will be more content as a result. Less agitated. Less lost. More playful. More joyful. At peace.

Remember her. Remember the things she enjoys. Remember what it was like to build forts, sing songs, pull wagons.

Now is the time to let her play in the privacy and safety of your home.

Now is the time to let her bake cookies and spend time with you.

Now is the time to reassure her that everything is okay.

Now is the time to promise to keep her safe.

Now is the time to tell her that these scary times won’t last forever,
that you haven’t forgotten her,
that you love her very much.

Now is the time to be creative.

Creativity isn’t about perfectionism. Perfection is a bunch of baloney. Kids know this. Who cares if you think you can’t draw. Who cares if you think you have nothing to write. Who cares if you think paints are messy. Do it anyway. Make up a song. Write a really bad poem. Read a story aloud to yourself. Laugh at your goofiness.

Be creative. Once a day. Always. There has never been a better time than now.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 17th – Day 70

Dog in thundershirtHave you heard of doomscrolling? It’s a new word for me, and if I’m not careful, I can find myself doing it. According to Merriam-Webster:

”Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people are finding themselves reading continuously bad news about COVID-19 without the ability to stop or step back.”

It is human nature to want to keep ourselves safe, and sometimes in an attempt to do that we take in too much information. Our bodies aren’t meant to take in a lot of bad news. And the bad news coming at us isn’t just about COVID. It’s also about the economy, racism, job losses, politics, climate change, you name it.

Not only does all this bad news stress us out and cause symptoms in our bodies, it also causes fear, depression, anger, and resentment. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I need in my life right now.

So what can we do besides wear our thundershirts? If you’re interested, here’s a recent article in the New York Times that gives some suggestions for curtailing doomscrolling: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/technology/personaltech/youre-doomscrolling-again-heres-how-to-snap-out-of-it.html

Some of the suggestions call for cutting back on the news by limiting the amount of time that we scroll. Perhaps setting a kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Other suggestions include limiting our scrolling to certain times of the day, and maybe only a couple of times a day.

Another suggestion was from Sharon Salzberg:

Take some breaths and think about the people who have helped you in the past. This could be your friends, colleagues and even the restaurant workers bagging your takeout food.
While imagining these people, give them positive wishes. For example: “May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be safe. May you be healthy.”

“You’re gift-giving,” Ms. Salzberg said. “It’s a different way of relating and not feeling isolation.”

Consider limiting the amount of doomscrolling you do thoughout the day. Maybe even take the weekend off. That’s what I’m going to do.

How can you stop yourself from watching or reading too much news? Do you have any strategies to share with us?

In the meantime, may you be peaceful.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 13th – Day 69

OK to say noIt’s okay to have limits. It’s okay to tell people what your limits are. This is a healthy and good thing, especially during difficult times. Women are not always good at saying no. We’ve been trained to be the ‘yes’ people. This often costs us more than we care to admit.

It’s okay to say ‘no.’

It’s okay to say, “Let me think about that, and I’ll get back to you.”

It’s okay to say, “Now isn’t a good time, but I’d love to talk to you ——(tomorrow; later today).”

If you want to be a healthier person, practice saying ‘no’ to anything and anyone who drains you. That could be a friend who only wants to talk about themselves, or watching the news, or scrolling on your facebook feed.

Healthy people aren’t available all the time like Netflix streaming. They are able to turn off the programming every now and again. They are able to have a glass of iced tea on their porch and watch the birds without answering texts and emails. They practice the art of being unavailable sometimes, so that they can be more available to themselves. This is healthy. This is a good thing.

Why is this a good thing? Because if you go against what you really want to do and constantly say yes to everything, you will eventually get burnt out, depressed, angry, or resentful. That’s not good for anyone that you care about.

Are you good at saying ‘no’? I am getting better at it, and consider myself a work-in-progress.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 10th – Day 68

Poem by HafizWhat do you love? Here are a few things that come to mind for me:

I love to see lightning bugs at dusk.

I love the coo of mourning doves when they take flight.

I love the soft moan of my sweet dog Jack when I hug him.

I love sincere praise—when someone I care about tells me I’ve done a good job.

I love a good laugh that keeps bubbling up.

I love a good cup of tea.

I love to surprise myself.

I love book clubs.

I love music that is impossible not to dance to.

I love it when the writing flows and scenes play out in my imagination like a movie.

I love when the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.

I love having deep conversations with friends.

I love chocolate covered almonds.

I love letting go of something hurtful.

I love kindness and humility.

I could go on…

Tell me what you love. Or perhaps create a list in a journal that you can add to daily. Or have a weekend project where you write all the things that you love about your life. Don’t hold back. Aim to love deeply and completely.

Sending you love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – July 6th – Day 67

maya angelou quoteAs a girl, I would hear the sound of the ice cream truck turning into our neighborhood from far away. Then it seemed to take forever before it finally made it to my house. Did you have ice cream trucks when you were growing up?

The song was a light, faraway jingle at first, a mere hint of what was to come, causing a rush of anticipation and delight. I had a sense of how much time I had before the ice cream truck would arrive. Time enough to run inside from wherever I was playing and beg my mother for change, promising to complete whatever chore she dangled to make it happen. Time also to stand in the shade of a large maple tree next to the street, gripping coins in my sweaty palm, as the ice cream truck’s jingle got louder and louder. All the while, imagining the delicious options and salivating in anticipation of summer’s sweetness.

What was I in the mood for? A banana or a cherry Popsicle? Or perhaps a Fudgsicle or an ice cream sandwich?

Good things are coming, my friends. This virus isn’t finished with us yet, but it won’t last forever, either. Our relief may be “days, months, or miles away,” but with every second, it gets closer. We must stay steady. Persevere. Be patient.

Resilience is knowing how to wait. Resilience is trusting that even though it feels like there is no relief in sight, the sweetness will come.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

 

Resilience Dispatch – July 3rd – Day 66

Three girls with American flagsHere in the States, we are celebrating Independence Day tomorrow. But it is a very different kind of Independence Day. With Covid-19 in our midst, health authorities are urging us to stay home and stay safe. That is my plan.

Perhaps this is the year that we consider our freedom in a deeper way. A way that isn’t the “cowboy-up” of rugged individualism, but a way that includes being there for each other and belonging, as parts of a whole.

Since I love a good quote, I’ve collected a few about freedom. Note which ones appeal to you. Is there one you might want to choose as a theme for the rest of 2020?

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”—Desmond Tutu

“Truth is powerful and it prevails.” —Sojourner Truth

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
—Gloria Steinem

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
—Nelson Mandela

“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” —Ola Joseph

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” — Harry S. Truman

“Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it.” — Germaine Greer

“Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can’t go hand in hand, I don’t want to go.” — Hazel Scott

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” — William Faulkner

“With freedom comes responsibility.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. [S]He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” — John F. Kennedy

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” — Peter Marshall

“The essence of America — that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea — and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going.” — Condoleezza Rice

“For you have been called to live in freedom. Use your freedom to serve one another in love.” — Galatians 5:13

Happy Independence Day, my friends! May we each experience the depth and responsibility of our freedom.

Stay safe!

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

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