Before the end of this week we will welcome in a new year. Never will there have been a greater collective sigh throughout the globe than at the rotating midnight hour of 1/1/2021. We all faced many challenges throughout the year. And we all learned essential truths about ourselves. I learned that doing less was a relief. I learned that patience is not an end point, but an ongoing process. I learned to use my crankier tendences as a reflection on what vulnerabilities I am attempting to protect. I learned that I still have a lot to learn in asking for help. Plus, I learned that 2020 gave us endless opportunities to learn. I also learned that even with the possibility of learning, sometimes learning to relax was the best option.
Having to slow down gave me a chance to see the best in others. Family, friends and others shared their kindness and generosity of spirit again and again. Courage rose exponentially as we faced multiple traumas. There was the courage to get through a single day. And there was the courage to recreate ourselves in the face of endless hardships.
I’m uncertain what the future brings. I long to travel, but don’t want to go anywhere until we’re all safe. I yearn live theater, however, I can’t say what that might look like post-pandemic. January 1st will look pretty much the same as the other days these past months. Nevertheless, I feel tremendous hope for our near future. Nature will continue to bring special moments, as long as we show respect to our natural world. Thanks to acts of goodness and kindness, both apparent and unseen, we will continue to make it through this time of Coronavirus. Personally, I thank you for reading these blog posts. By giving your time and attention, you have been invaluable to me.
Rather than looking for happiness, try working on feeling deeply satisfied.
Instead of New Year’s resolutions, think of what you’d like to let go of at the end of this year.
Sleep, laugh and cry. Not necessarily altogether, but each provides relief and release.
Review this past year and acknowledge all you accomplished, both large and small wins.
Review this past year and celebrate the inner strengths you never knew you had.
Initially there were grave warnings about the snowstorm that was going to plague the Northeast. When it started to fall, the winds were strong, and walking home from work was a bit of an effort. The following day there were hills with footsteps at the curbsides. Crossing the street took balance and navigation. Patience was needed, as only one person at a time could reach the next corner. Each person had their own pace, based on age, winter fitness, and footwear. Good snow boots were the best. So happy that past winters required me to find the right boots.
By Friday I was ready for a walk in the park. The park closest to me, Carl Shurz, had sledding children with their parents. It was hard to tell who was having more fun. The walkways were icy, so my time in the park was limited to dog walks. Central Park was more of a mix. The Park Drive was clear for walking and running. The side paths were too slippery to walk safely. So, I stuck to the Park Drive. From the Upper Eastside I could see snowmen and women being constructed. There was a couple cross-country skiing displaying easy smiles. A snow ball exchange spontaneously occurred. A great way to play while socially distanced.
Rather than the storm being a threat to the city, it provided a needed change to the atmosphere. Families had a reason to come out and play in the cold. Individuals were able to enjoy the scenery, as well as the dogs and people romping about. It lifted our moods. If anyone fell, strangers came to their rescue. Passing connections were found in these acts of kindness.
The sun’s reflection on the snow adds a brightness to our days. The light has melted some of the pain on these past months. The snow has been a gift in this time of Coronavirus.
I was listening to early Joni Mitchell this early morning as the sun rose. Lucy and I were out for the first walk of the day. The weather is warm for December, and lovely in the tranquil dark. It was quiet with the occasional runner or dog passing us as they started their day.
It’s easy for me to recognize how special these moments are. As we make our way through this pandemic I find that these ten months have worn on me. At this point I really don’t want to do anything. Which is all the more reason I am appreciative of every small pleasure I encounter. This morning it was being next to Lucy as she sniffed and I watched the day begin. Now it’s sitting down to write this as I enjoy a rare moment alone. Yesterday it was sitting with Alex. We didn’t speak, we just enjoyed the company of one another. Earlier yesterday I was with Larry as sunset approached.
Although I am inclined to do less rather than more these days, I can go from thoroughly exhausted to deeply moved. My work day is filled with inspiring courage from those in my practice. Coming home from work I find an unexpected gift from a dear friend. Or I open up a holiday card happy to think of the care that it took in sending it. There are so many moments of grace. As I reflect on these last months I easily access the passionate emotions I’ve been navigating. My anger is fierce. My sadness pronounced. My foggy brain a constant. And, my appreciation of all the small pleasures, day in and day out, is pervasive. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. You have given me the perfect gift in this time of the coronavirus.
Soup. It can be so soothing. I recommend Ina Garten’s lentil soup recipe. Or, if you don’t like to cook, try a chicken broth with a touch of lemon juice.
Try a new chap stick. I found one in from Cococare that’s lovely. It helps our lips in the winter and it will feel soft under your mask.
Thank someone today. It can be for something small like moving out of the way on the sidewalk. Or it can be a bigger thank you.
Listen to the music that started you loving the singer, musician, piece, or group. It’s so nice to revisit the awakening you had when you first heard it.
If you spend time with others, find a quiet moment to savor. If you live alone, see if you can connect with someone who makes you smile.
I found joy on a rainy day. Usually when it rains in this pandemic, I’ve been apt to wane in energy. But when it was pouring outside this past week, I turned on an old dance playlist that Larry had previously made for me. It includes disco, Klezmer music, Irish folk music, jazz and so much more. I was in heaven. It’s been so long since I’ve moved with utter abandon. There I was in my office, all alone, dancing for a good hour to song after song, gyrating and laughing. The power of music and movement is transformative.
I was slow to get out of bed as I felt the cool air while listening to the patter of the raindrops. Coffee helped but it wasn’t the power elixir I needed. At first I tried to go out for a walk, but the rain and wind were strong, and I didn’t want to start my workday wet. So, I found my apple music app. The last time I danced it was still called iTunes. The first song was Elvis singing “All Shook Up.” That got me into the mood without hesitation. Luckily I’m on the first floor so no one was below me, allowing me to jump or spin when I was moved to do so.
In general, I’ve enjoyed small pleasures in this time of Covid-19. I pass unexpected winter flowers. Or I enjoy the cloud formations and light when the sky opens up between city buildings. Fun is relative in the pandemic. Yet, this past week fun was full and joyous. Since I have hours of music, I’m going to dance again and again throughout the winter.
Send holiday cards. We all need a little lift these days. And, everyone enjoys receiving mail that’s something other than bills or junk.
Stamps. To send the cards go to USPS.com to find stamps that reflect you. Or create your own at Stamps.com.
Call a friend. We’re so used to using social media to get caught up. A person-to-person call is a lovely old-fashioned connection.
Rub your feet. If you can reach them try putting cream on the soles and rub it in. If bending down is difficult, rub your bare feet on a soft rug.