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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.

Resilience Dispatch – June 29th – Day 65

Stay at home and stay aliveAre you still sheltering in place? Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one. It feels wise to remain careful here in the South, where cases are rising. Of course, I go to the grocery store when I need to, and the post office, and run other errands while wearing a mask. But mainly, I am still spending a lot of time at home.

Here in my turtle shell, challenges and blessings abound. I am fortunate to have such a beautiful place to shelter here in the mountains of North Carolina. And even though I am very good at entertaining myself and my turtle shell is full of books, it is still a challenge sometimes. Perhaps it is for you, too.

Another blessing is that I have meaningful work that I do from home. This morning I am working on a scene in Violet’s Tea Shop where my characters Queenie, Rose, and Violet have a Girls Night Out on the River District in Savannah. So, even though I can’t enjoy that kind of get-together myself right now, I am enjoying it vicariously by imagining the scene.

If you are still in your turtle shell, congratulate yourself for getting through the challenges. Pat yourself on the back for your perseverance. Throw yourself a kiss in the bathroom mirror for your resilience. It is a big deal what we are doing, and you are courageous to keep it up.

Stay steady, my friends. Stay safe!

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 25th – Day 64

two black rescue catsWe’ve all got issues, my friends. We’ve all got things we are struggling with. We’re all rescues in that sense. Not to mention that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, as well as an economic crisis, and uncertain and stressful times heighten our issues.

If we’re lucky, we have family and friends who love us anyway. If we’re lucky, we have clean water in our water bowls, enough food to eat, and companions on this journey who treat us with respect. We’re all works in progress, as the saying goes.

Author Seth Godin said this in a recent blog post:

“It’s natural to believe that everyone else is as confident, assured, long-term thinking and generous as you are on your very best day.

But that’s unlikely. Because everyone else is probably not having their best day at the same time.

Once we realize that the world around us is filled with people who are each wrestling with what we’re wrestling with (and more), compassion is a lot easier to find.”

Are you a ”rescue”? If so, have compassion with yourself today and every day. Yes, we’ve all got issues. We’ve all got things we are struggling with. But we are working through them. We deserve respect for that, especially from ourselves.

Have a good weekend. Stay safe!

Resiliently yours,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 22nd – Day 63

fox and moonToday, I offer you words much wiser than anything I might have to offer. If you are feeling alone or lonely, let this poem speak to you. May we all open to the conversation around us. xo

EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU

by David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

Is there a phrase or a line that especially speaks to you?

P.S. Slight adjustment to the resilience dispatch schedule. I’m going to post at 4 o’clock (ET) on Mondays and Fridays, (down from 3 days a week to 2) so I’ll have more time to write Violet’s Tea Shop.

Starting today, I will begin and end every week with you. (That said, I may throw in some shorter posts and photos on my FB Author Page if the mood strikes.) I love spending time with you. Thanks for reading! ❤️

Everything is Waiting for You
In EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU
Poems by David Whyte
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 19th – Day 62

chair on a beachFor those of you who may be experiencing coronavirus fatigue or politics fatigue, I offer a way to get away from what tires you.

Imagine sitting overlooking a vast ocean. Smell the salt air. Feel the warm breeze blowing in your hair and the chair underneath you. Hear the sounds of the waves breaking in the distance, followed by them gently coming to shore.

Imagine that a wise woman is sitting next to you. It may be Old Sally, one of my characters from Temple Secrets and Gullah Secrets, or another wise woman.

What questions do you have for her?

What is it that you need to hear?

Imagine a calmness coming over you as she answers your questions. Sit with it. Let is wash over you. Write it down. Share it if it makes sense.

Blessings to you, sweet readers.

Love,
Susan

P.S. Slight adjustment to the resilience dispatch schedule. I’m going to post at 4 o’clock (ET) on Mondays and Fridays, (down from 3 days a week to 2) so I’ll have more time to write Violet’s Tea Shop.

Starting next Monday, I will begin and end every week with you. (That said, I may throw in some shorter posts and photos on my FB Author page if the mood strikes.) I love spending time with you. Thanks for reading! ♥️


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 17th – Day 61

bird always watching over me“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

May we heal the world through joy, my friends, and remember that it is meant to be celebrated.

How might we celebrate the world today? For me, I will create this resilience dispatch and then settle in to write my latest novel. It is my way of singing.

While writing, I will look up from my laptop occasionally to watch the birds at the feeders outside my window. The chickadee, tufted titmouse, cardinal, mourning dove, goldfinch, nuthatch, downy woodpecker, as well as the hummingbirds zooming by on their way to get to the hummingbird feeder.

Are you someone who watches birds?

How will you celebrate the world today?

Love,
Susan

Artist: Suzanne Millius


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 15th – Day 60

I just hugged you in my thoughtsI woke up feeling sad today, and I wasn’t sure why. So, I sat with it a while. In my experience, it is important to honor our emotions. It is the fastest way to get them to move along and not settle in for an extended stay.

While there are plenty of reasons to be sad in the world, my current sadness centered around not being able to hug the people that I love. I am a hugger. If you’re in my life and I care about you, I will probably hug you every time I see you, at least twice, upon arrival and during goodbyes.

With coronavirus cases still surging here in the southeastern United States, we are a long way from getting to hug each other again. I haven’t seen my daughters and my son-in-law since Christmas, and I haven’t hugged my friends since March. Embracing the people I love is a big deal to me.

What about you? Are you missing hugs?

Our minds are wonderful tools. It has been scientifically proven that if we imagine a scene playing out in front of us while attached to electrodes, our minds react and light up as though the imagined scene is really happening. This is why it may be wise to limit the amount of violence we watch on television. Our minds think that it is really happening and this creates stress in our bodies.

With that in mind (pun intended!), I invite you to stand or sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, wrap your arms around yourself, and imagine that you are hugging—one by one—the people that you love. Let each hug last at least 20 seconds (minimum time for getting the most benefit from an embrace). Imagine the feel of their body next to yours. Maybe even rock and sway with it. Since you are using your imagination, these people can be alive or ones who have passed on.

If you feel sad while imagining those hugs, then honor that sadness. Maybe even let yourself have a good cry. We live in difficult times. It’s okay to feel sad sometimes. In fact, it is a healthy reaction to being alive.

Hugs to you, my friends.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 12th – Day 59

What do you mean I'm too controlllingAre you more of a sheepdog these days or a sheep? Either way, I hope you find this cartoon humorous. Like all effective humor, it has some truth to it. Do you find yourself being a little more controlling than usual right now? Perhaps needing things to be or stay a certain way? Or maybe you know or live with someone who is this way.

For instance, the sheepdog part of me cannot tolerate messes right now. A stack of mail or newspapers feels like chaos to me, and I am quick to put these away. I crave order. I crave being able to control my world, even if that means just keeping my kitchen counters clean.

This is a normal reaction to crazy times. For many of us, our world feels totally out of our control right now. Uncertainty looms. The coronavirus continues to gallop through our country, as states have opened back up. Chaos and brokenness are suddenly in full view whenever we watch the news.

Perhaps this is the time to be “excessively gentle with yourself” as I mentioned in Monday’s dispatch. Be mindful of how much news you take in. Create whatever order you can out of the chaos. Remind yourself that you will get through this. Remind yourself that you can do hard things.

In the meantime, stay steady, sweet readers.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 10th – Day 58

Herbs in the gardenThis is for those of you who have a flower or a vegetable garden, those who wish they had a garden, or who had a garden in the past. Gardens are great metaphors for resilience. The entire cycle of life can be seen in one season. A seed sprouts, matures into a full plant, thrives, begins to fade, returns to the earth, and then regenerates the soil.

Whether you observe gardens or plant them yourself, gardens offer us a sense of place, a sense of comfort, a sense of beauty, and a sense of self or wellbeing.

The phrase “Feel Blue, Touch Green” reminds us that gardens can offer us solace during times of great change and uncertainty. They can ignite our senses and help us to feel grounded in the present moment.

Gardens can exercise our body, liberate stress, stimulate our minds, move our emotions, and heal our soul.

Is there a public garden you can visit (wearing a mask, and with physical distancing) to experience this wonderful metaphor? Or perhaps you have a garden of your own. Feel free to tell us about a garden in your life, past or present, and add a photo if you are viewing this on my Facebook author page.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

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