As I reflected on this transition to a new season, one question in particular kept repeating in my mind: What might it feel like to grow out of the season of uncertainty and lean into a season of hope?
The underlying stress of COVID-19, safety restrictions, isolation, transitions for my kids, and navigating school social work, my daily baseline is higher, causing increased stress levels due to the constant level of tension. The more I talk to other people, the more I realize this seems to be the new normal for a lot of people. And, I think that says something about this pandemic and the impact that it's having on us, even when the effects aren’t always clearly visible. As I processed my experiences, I pushed myself to be honest and authentic in writing this post, acknowledging the fact that looking back over this year has been difficult and draining.
So, in the spirit of vulnerability, I have been tired for months. And, although, of course, at times I have been swept into moments of joy and gratitude, I have also spent an inexplicable amount of time barely hanging on through the day-to-day expectations and responsibilities. As I have continued in this less than ideal reality, I found myself confronted with the idea of moving through rather than pushing away the negative emotions and experiences.
Today, I challenge you to celebrate MLK Day by taking some time to find a book, article, podcast, or movie to continue to expand your understanding of racism. To get you started, I wanted to share some resources I have found particularly helpful in my journey on this issue.
This year, my perspective on my process of setting goals and intentions has changed. My expectations of 2021 are reflective of the fact that we are still navigating this global pandemic. But, this acceptance brings a hope of setting realistic expectations, living daily with intention, and dreaming about what I want to carry with me into the future.
Although Christmas celebrations will look different than years past, the beauty, sounds, and tastes of the holidays remind me of life before the upheaval of 2020. In addition, I have found comfort in the celebration of Jesus’s birth and the reminder that 2020 is just a drop in the bucket of time.
I originally wrote this piece only a few weeks into our spring school COVID-19 closure. And, it is safe to say that our stress levels continue to remain high. However, the suggestions in this post continue to be applicable. First, breathe, take the time to slow down, focus on your breath, and actively calm down your brain. Second, find the truth. As I wrote in this post, “I have found that focusing on truth and being aware of the impact of my thoughts on my feelings and actions makes a difference. Fear should not get to control this (or any) situation.” And last, “look for the helpers.”
I think this is the perfect reminder for everyone that no matter how many things are out of our control during this year of unknowns, there is always one thing that we have control over: the type of person we want to be.
Cheers to embracing where we are right now in life while also continuing to grow into our future.
That tiny yellow “flower” was my whisper of hope, my lifeline to start moving out of the muck. It turns out that a whisper can be powerful.