Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Like many others, my family has gone through a transformation in the last five months. It is a chaotic time. And while we haven't emerged from the chrysalis just yet, it seems the perfect time to to reflect on lessons learned on this winding, ever-changing path.
So here I am, putting part of my Sunday aside to do a bit of thinking about my responses to the events of the Spring and Summer, and how I might do a better job of approaching the next two seasons.
Because - I think it is fair to say things will continue to change daily. For all of us.
1. Perfection is an unreasonable expectation
It goes without saying, I know - but no matter how many times I hear this phrase, the quest for perfection remains a struggle for me. Letting go isn't something that comes easy, especially to my busy mind, one so easily occupied with to-do lists and organization. To use a phrase that can be heard coming out of my mouth multiple times a day: It simply isn't sustainable.
Right now feels chaotic, but not every second can be spent attacking that chaos. Take small bites. Tackle one thing at a time
2. It is ok to be angry
I come from a long line of conflict-adverse humans. Anger scares the bejesus out of all of us. Bottom line: I cringe and want to shrink when others are angry - and I hate feeling it myself. But, come on! Right now, how can any human being not feel anger? Bottling that all up could be disastrous. Go ahead, be angry. If there is a little spat in the house, so be it. It isn't the end of the world. Don't feel bad about it - and don't make others feel bad about it. Get over it as quickly as possible and move on.
I am working every day to let go of guilt about feeling anger. Guess what? Doing so actually helps to let go of the anger itself.
3. Be an activist, but don't over-activate your nerves
There is some Crazy.Ass.S@*t going on in the world. At the exact moment where it feels like things can't get worse, they do. My incredulity meter is broken, because it simply can't keep up. But... I have learned that, while is important (essential, really) to stay informed and take action, it is equally important not to lose your mind in the mayhem. Nerves are not designed to handle this kind of stuff 24 hours a day. So, I chose an impartial news source that I trust (mine is NPR) and then I limited my news time (mine is an hour daily). I avoid the pull of social media and the craziness on Facebook as much as possible. I give myself time to take action (such as writing a congressperson), but I also remind myself that I can't be personally responsible for changing the world. I try to live simply. I work on following science (not hearsay and gossip). And, I avoid being washed away by hopelessness.
4. Stop comparing your actions or beliefs to others
You know the saying: Opinions are like a*@holes - everyone's got one.
I don't want to compare myself to others any more. My life, and my family's needs, are completely unique. I'm doing the best I can to drown out my neighbor/the overly-eager-meme-user on social media/great Aunt Caroline/whomever - has to say about the best way to live.
5. Present your eyes with things of beauty - often
This is a physiological necessity for me, and one of the most important lessons I have learned. By keeping my eyes open, and seeing the beauty that is in front of me, I feel energized and hopeful. It gives me peace and strength. It is why I take photographs, and why I work on Fischer Arts.
The beauty of nature is a gift. I accept it with the deepest of gratitude.
"The question is not what you look at, but what you see..." - Henry David Thoreau