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Resilience Dispatch – June 5th- Day 56

Remember drive-in movie theaters? Because of the coronavirus, the fabulous summer music festival where I live had to cancel its concerts this year, but it will be hosting drive-in movies in their large parking lot a couple of times a week. I thought this was an ingenious way to recoup some of the revenue they will be losing. Plus, as we sit in our cars with our homemade popcorn, our radios tuned in to an FM station providing the sound, it is physical distancing at its best.

Did you ever go to the drive-in back in the day? As a little girl I watched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken starring Don Knotts from the backseat of my parent’s Mercury Comet. What movies did you see? Share with us your favorite drive-in movie experience.

Love,
Susan


Read the last dispatch here.

Resilience Dispatch – June 3rd – Day 55

It's never too late to make the world a better placeTrueluck Summer takes place in 1964 in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. A city I lived in for 14 years. I wrote this novel over a span of a decade in between other stories and was inspired to finish it in the summer of 2015 after the heartbreaking events in which nine African Americans were killed during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The co-heroine of the story is Ida Trueluck, a seventy-year old grandmother who surprises herself by finally having the courage to act on what she believes in. Ida shares the storytelling with her 12-year-old granddaughter Trudy, as they take turns narrating chapters.

Together, they tell a sort of coming-of-age tale. Ida coming into her old age with a brand new boldness, and Trudy coming into the beginnings of young adulthood with her own bold passion.

Trueluck Summer was not only my way of honoring the Lowcountry—the sights, sounds and resilience of that beautiful region—but also my way of trying to counter the racism I witnessed growing up in the South. (Racism is everywhere, not just in the South, obviously. This is just where I grew up and still live.)

As Ida would say, it’s never too late to try to right the wrongs we’ve witnessed. In fact, it may be the most important thing we ever do.

I’d love to read in the comments about someone being brave in a way that made an impression on you. Or maybe it was YOUR own bravery!

May we all be as courageous as sweet Ida.

Love,
Susan


Read the previous dispatch here.

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.

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