Updated: Jan 17
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach…
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I know you’re tired.
I recently heard Dr. Amy Cuddy refer to our current collective mental state as "pandemic flux syndrome." Sounds about right. This is by FAR my favorite time of year, and yet I seem to be having daily conversations in which both of us are wondering how the hell we ended up so far under water.
It is so bad, in fact, that I'm preemptively guarding against a repeat next fall by inputting a daily message in my July, 2022 calendar that blasts: STOP IT! SCHEDULE NOTHING IN SEPTEMBER! YOU ARE NOT AS CAPABLE AS YOU THINK! ABSOLUTELY NO.MORE.THINGS.
Meanwhile. Rest when you can. Rest when you need to. It is ok to let someone else hold the line for a moment as you tend your bandwidth, adjust your strategies, rest your nervous system, and choose how you’re able to show up.
While the very best thing for a human in distress is another human, the unfortunate truth is that the very worst thing for a human in distress can ALSO be another human. Our capacity to help rather than harm depends on how we show up for one another. Lately, choosing how (if!) we show up is a very pressing task. Tending our bandwidth helps us show up slow, whole, and ready to hold space for and with each other.
I urge you to carve out time this week for a phone call, a coffee, a walk, or, at the very least, an exchange of memes (sweary earns bonus) with someone you love. Pick your person wisely, and I promise you’ll feel better for the connection. Laugh and tease, cry and rage, plan and scheme… just connect.
And please remember there are no Trauma Olympics. I have officially and henceforth banned the phrase, “I know others have it so much worse…” Yes, perspective matters. AND your pain and distress and trauma matter. You matter.
If you’re feeling stuck, you’re not alone. The crushing, compounding, relentless chaos and uncertainty of the last 18 months is showing up in all kinds of ways: exhaustion, depletion, despair, disengagement, detachment, and a generalized sense of unease and questioning: Does what I’m doing even matter?
"When you don't know what to do, just do the work in front of you. At the end of the day at least your chores are done."
My grandad’s wisdom has sustained me more times than I can count. When we're underwater, it doesn't matter if the surface is 3 or 300 feet overhead, it still feels like drowning. Focusing on the work in front of me shifts my focus from all.the.things. to those simple, next steps that move the needle for today.
If nothing else, at least my chores are done.
One final thought: y’all need better sleep.
And by y’all, I mean me.
Aim for 8 hours every night. Turn off your damn phone (better still, leave it in another room). Set a ritual and go to bed. Sleep and rise at the same time every day. We massively underestimate the importance of good, restful sleep. Sleep is restorative and healing, and we need to guard that time.
For me, that means all social media is deleted from my phone (the urge to doomscroll is too much when I’m already compromised by fatigue) and the sleep app is set to remind me to power down.
Experiment with what works for you – there’s no one right way; it may take a while to hit on what works best.
Don’t let Perfect derail your Progress.
I won’t remind you to breathe, laugh, and play – you already know.
(This month is reminding me that chocolating really, really helps too…)