The Great Pause

Wednesday morning. It’s 10:00am and I am sipping my homemade espresso with almond milk froth on top and just a dash of cinnamon. Funny to think I used to spend $5 a day on this habit that has so quickly become an enjoyable do-it-yourself task. Leaning back on the patio loveseat, I stretch my legs out to absorb the sunlight that streams in ever so generously this time of morning. There is a stillness outside that at first I found eery, yet now I’ve come to embrace.

I have been hesitant to write about this new “normal” that we are all, in our own ways, trying to navigate through during this unprecedented time period. Mostly because, up to this point, it’s provided me with many more positives than negatives. I suppose part of me feels a tinge of guilt from that fact. Knowing how many people have lost their jobs, have had to suffer decreased income, who have lost family members and friends from the pandemic, and of course for the health care workers who have had to witness a magnitude of innocent people die very much alone. I feel I should be grieving alongside them all.

Every morning I wake with gratitude. That myself and my boys are healthy, that we have plenty of food to sustain us, a cozy home to enjoy together while we are quarantined, and that I have remained fully employed, despite the economic state. I have spent the greater part of the past six years in particular, with a thankful heart. But this experience has deepened that sense for me, and brought me back in touch with the simplest of life’s pleasures. A fast paced nation with unparalleled momentum, at a sudden standstill. I walk outside and see father’s playing catch with their sons on a Tuesday afternoon, mothers and daughters enjoying coffee and conversation on their patios, and couples walking together in the evenings laughing and conversing. And I can’t help but think, at what cost we have found contentment.

Part of me yearns to return to the old normal, ready to join my girlfriends for happy hour, backyard bbq’s, and crowded coffee shops in the morning. But during this “great pause” as it’s been deemed…..I can’t help but contemplate this one piece of advice:

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” – Dave Hollis

So as the days pass, quiet in my home, sans the distractions I’ve become accustomed to, I welcome the silence; the stillness. I breathe it in and from it I exhale a newfound love for life. Far from vibrant days in the city surrounded by tourists, the acoustic music of the street performers, the aroma of fresh coffee and food. This is life. The life we all have waiting for us when we get home, when we are our truest, most authentic selves. How we receive this opportunity to return to our true selves paves the way for a society of PRESENT individuals.

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Thoughtful Thursday

I usually post a quote on Thoughtful Thursday. Today, however, I feel compelled to write about a story I found on Long Reads. It was not only thought provoking, but heart wrenching and although terribly sad, inspiring to read such stories of courage from young ones. I have children of my own, as you may know, so this hit me especially hard and sparked a range of emotions. It was an interview the New York Times did of 18 young girl’s who were captured by Boko Haram in Nigeria and forced to be suicide bombers. I won’t begin to try and summarize the article, but will link it below:

New York Times Article

It is easy at times (at least for myself, as I lead a very busy life and rarely have time to even watch the news) to “forget” that there are other’s in the world whose worries far exceed our own. Those who on a regular basis are afraid for their lives, their children’s lives, and have endured things so horrific that just our reading about them is enough to make our stomach churn. Although I try for the most part to write about positive, uplifting things, I believe it is good at times to receive a healthy dose of “reality”. This article served as just that to me. A reminder to count my blessings on a daily basis, and practice gratitude for my current circumstances and those of my children.

Just last night I had a phone conversation with my friend about perspective (which tends to be a theme in my writing). She was telling me about a friend of hers who has battled cancer for 13 years and how watching her struggle from afar and observing her positive attitude serves as her own sort of attitude readjustment at times. Granted, much of life is “relative”. We gauge a “bad” day off of a “normal” day to us. Well, our normal is certainly not everyone’s normal. Taking a step back, however, can help us see the bigger picture and allow us, if only minimally, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. To practice, along with gratitude, empathy.

I hope you get time to read the article, and if not, then I hope at least this post has made you think about something in your life that can incite a thankful heart. If you have read any articles recently that you’ve found especially moving, please share in the comments below.

Happy (almost) Friday, all!