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:

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.


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.


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,

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.


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!


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!


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,

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


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
Poems by David Whyte
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press


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.


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?


Artist: Suzanne Millius

Read the previous dispatch here.


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