wading through weariness

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Image Credit: Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

I took a wonderful vacation week with my family. We spent most of the time outdoors in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The minimal phone and internet contact refreshed my soul.

When I came home, I was grumpy for days. At first, I couldn’t figure out why when the time away had been so restful. Then I recognized reality had hit me hard as soon as I walked back in the door.

Illness and lonely deaths. Financial struggles. Storms and disasters. Injustice and hatred. Uncertainties. Limitations.

Anger. Discouragement. Fear. Desperation. Depression. The emotions wear me down.

So, I went back to thinking about perseverance, resilience, how to survive thrive in these crazy times. I went back – again – to some of the basics and am attempting to live them out. Maybe they will help you too.

  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
    Eat healthy foods. Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Sleep enough. 
    I know. I know. We get tired of hearing this, but these elements are proven powerful for our well-being. It is a constant battle, but anything we can do to strengthen these habits will help us get through the hard times. It’s true.
  • ACCEPT THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
    We are living through a never-before, stress-filled event that impacts every area of our lives. There are no quick cures and no easy answers. Recognize the emotions stirred up are real and valid and unpredictable and continuous. They WILL accompany us. There is no reason to layer self-criticism, shame, or condemnation on top of what is already a heavy burden.

Whatever amount of acceptance for human messiness (impatience, blahs, lack of productivity, weight gain) you have given yourself – it is not enough! ~ Juliet Funt


  • SHARE HONESTLY 
    Safe and trusted friends and family can be an essential source of comfort, encouragement, and motivation when we can’t come up with those ourselves. It takes humility and courage to admit that we aren’t doing well and need help, but I have received enthusiastic, willing, even grateful-for-being-asked responses. Don’t isolate or hide your problems. We need each other.
  • PRAY AND JOURNAL
    I’ve learned to start each day with my hands open and a simple prayer asking God to show me what He wants me to do that day. I’m not great at it, but journaling (thoughts, day’s happenings, gratefulness) also has a way of giving me perspective and purpose in dreary days.
  • TAKE TIME FOR THINGS YOU LOVE
    For me, this means getting outdoors – getting glimpses of God’s unique animal and plant creations near our home. I’ve also taken up small-space gardening – herbs, tomatoes, and butterfly-attracting flowers. It does not have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Small amounts of joy give energy to combat weariness.
  • LEAVE SOME SPACE
    As we go along, we learn how this new normal is affecting us. Back-to-back Zoom meetings are exhausting – we need less screen time, breaks between sessions, and Zoom-free days. Remember, we cannot do all things. Each “yes” to one thing is a “no” to something else. Say “yes” and “no” thoughtfully and intentionally.

I know the pandemic and its effects are dragging on longer than we anticipated. The weariness of the continual stressors drags us down. I write this for myself and with a hopeful prayer that it will give you lift for the days ahead.

If you feel comfortable, please let me know in the comments how you are doing. And if you have another helpful reminder for us, please share that too. 

en esto a largo plazo

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Image credit: David Marcu on Unsplash

Abre la cuidad. Ciérrela otra vez. Usa una máscara. El virus COVID es una broma.

No importa lo que creamos al respecto, no cabe duda de que el COVID-19 ha cambiado nuestras vidas para siempre. Continúa afectando nuestra existencia diaria y nuestros planes para el futuro. Incluso aún si no estamos dispuestos a hacer ajustes en la vida personal, el virus inevitablemente afectará a nuestra familia y a los amigos en su salud (física, emocional, mental), seguridad laboral, acceso a viajar, celebraciones o en algún otro aspecto. Es inevitable.

Mi familia y los amigos han sufrido de muchas maneras y me he sentido preocupada, triste, frustrada, aislada, limitada y muchas emociones más durante los últimos meses.

Esto no terminará pronto.

Entonces, ¿qué hacemos ahora? ¿Cómo nos preparamos para la nueva realidad? ¿Cómo encontramos fuerza para los efectos – emocionales, físicas, relacionales, espirituales – de esta pandemia a largo plazo?

CUIDADO PERSONAL

Esta es la primera área que muchos expertos mencionan. Reconozco la necesidad de volver a estos conceptos básicos una y otra vez. Beber agua suficiente. Comer menos comida rápida. Salir afuera. Hacer ejercicio. Dormir suficiente. De vez en cuando, hacer algo especial que disfrutes. Orar.

Nuestros cuerpos no funcionan bajo el estrés por mucho tiempo sin pagar el precio. No podemos correr este maratón con la salud física, los pensamientos claros y los procesos creativos necesarios sin una nutrición y los cuidados adecuados.

RELACIONES

Tampoco estamos creados para vivir solos. Nos necesitamos unos a los otros, tanto por el amor, el consuelo, el disfrutar de actividades juntos, etc., como también para que nos enseñen, nos exponan a diferentes perspectivas, nos desafien y nos muestren la esencia completa de Dios. No podemos rodearnos solo de aquellos que son similares a nosotros o perdemos partes esenciales de la imagen completa de la humanidad.

Estos son días perfectos para abrir nuestras mentes con humildad, respeto y auténtidad y también expandir nuestras conversaciones para incluir diferentes perspectivas, fuentes de información y opiniones. Necesitamos una diversidad de ideas excelentes para construir juntos las mejoras y los cambios que requiere nuestro mundo futuro.

HACER UNA CONTRIBUCIÓN POSITIVA

Muchos necesitan ayuda hoy. En todo el mundo, muchos niños tienen hambre y carecen de agua limpia. Las víctimas del tráfico humano y los falsamente acusados ​​esperan la libertad. Los desastres naturales y las corporaciones poco éticas causan estragos en nuestro medio ambiente. La violencia roba vidas inocentes. La gente muere sin perdón y sin esperanza eterna.

Mucho que hacer. Tantos lugares donde las personas compasivas, enérgicas, sacrificadas y comprometidas pueden marcar la diferencia mediante el uso de sus habilidades, recursos financieros, trabajo en red, sean cuales sean los dones que tienen para ofrecer.

Cuando no sabemos qué hacer, podemos hacer preguntas. Podemos investigar. Podemos aprender. Podemos unirnos si tenemos miedo de actuar solos. Incluso cuando no tenemos mucho, cada poco que ofrecemos es una bendición.

Estamos en esto a largo plazo. No te canses. No te rindas. Necesitamos estar lo más saludables posible para que también podamos amar y apoyar a los demás en el camino.

¿Cómo te mantienes bien y estable durante estos tiempos difíciles?¿Cómo estás ayudando a los demás?

in this for the long haul

mountain run david-marcu-8TJbrQGKFyU-unsplash

Image credit: David Marcu on Unsplash

Open up. Close down. Wear a mask. COVID is a joke.

No matter what we believe about all of it, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. It continues to affect our daily existence and our future planning. Even if we are unwilling to make personal life adjustments, the virus will inevitably impact our family and our friends in their health (physical, emotional, mental), job security, travel, celebrations, or in some other aspect. It is unavoidable.

My family and friends have suffered in numerous ways, and I have felt worried, sad, frustrated, isolated, limited, and so many more emotions during the last months.

This won’t be over any time soon.

So what do we do now? How do we prepare for the new reality? How do we find strength – emotional, physical, relational, spiritual – for the long-term effects of this pandemic?

SELF-CARE

This is the first area many experts mention. I recognize the need to come back to these basics again and again. Drink enough water. Eat less junk. Go outside. Exercise. Get enough good hours of sleep. Do a little something special you enjoy every so often. Pray.

Our bodies do not function for long periods under stress without paying the price. We cannot run this marathon with necessary physical health, clear thoughts, and creative processes without proper nutrition and care.

RELATIONSHIPS

We are also not created to live alone. We need each other – both for love, comfort, enjoying activities together, etc., and also to teach us, expose us to different ways, challenge us, and display to us the full essence of God. We cannot surround ourselves only with those who are like us, or we miss essential parts of the full image of humanity.

These are perfect days to humbly, respectfully, and authentically open our minds and expand our conversations to include many different perspectives, sources of information, and opinions. We need a diversity of excellent ideas to build together towards improvements and pivots for our future world.

MAKE A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION

Many require help today. All over the globe, children are hungry and lack clean water. Trafficking victims and falsely accused await freedom. Natural disasters and unethical corporations wreak havoc on our environment. Violence steals innocent lives. People die without forgiveness and eternal hope.

So much to do. So many places where compassionate, energetic, sacrificial, committed people can make a difference by using their skills, financial resources, networking – whatever gifts they have to offer.

When we don’t know what to do, we can ask questions. We can research. We can learn. We can join together if we are fearful of acting alone. Even when we do not have much, every little bit we offer is a blessing.

We are in this for the long haul. Don’t get weary. Don’t give up. We need to be as healthy as we can be so that we can also love and support others along the way. 

How are you staying well and grounded during these trying times? How are you helping others?

it’s complicated

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Image Credit: Steve Johnson on Unsplash

With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot these past few days. I remember that he gave me a love for the outdoors and classical music, a deeply engrained hard-work ethic, and some infamous, not-always-healthy but stuck-in-my-head, life mottos like: “If you want it done right, do it yourself”. I also remember him saying often, especially near the end of his life, “It’s complicated”.

Back in the day, when he said “It’s complicated”, I would roll my eyes and oh-so-smartly think he was just making an excuse for not doing what I hoped he would do.

I’m afraid it has been too easy for me to judge others
before I have walked in their shoes.

I’ve noticed lately that I now say, “It’s complicated” all. the. time.

Life really is complicated.

And complex. And messy. And so much more nuanced and interwoven and painful and tangled than I ever imagined. If I didn’t know it before, the last few months of COVID-19 world implications and the newly ignited and overdue topic of racial inequality have made the complications run unstoppable through my head and my heart.

No matter what opinion or idea or suggestion or demand that surfaces, there is always a passionately presented contrary perspective. For some of those issues, whether it has to do with social isolation or correcting injustices, I have a clear conviction and satisfactory action steps in my mind.

On the other hand, there are so many topics, plans, and “We need to do this!” answers to our problems that feel not as simplistic as they appear in the heat of the moment. And I struggle with the complexity. One approach that will help some people would end up hurting others. One budget adjustment would benefit part of the community but compound problems in another area. People are created in the image of God, defined by much more than their mistakes, and somehow also accountable for harms that they inflict, even without the intent. It’s complicated.

I have recently experienced (again) that I still carry emotional baggage from my childhood that shows up uninvited into my present tense interactions with the people I love – and causes them pain. I have no desire to do that. I hope that I have grown past that, but it still happens. 

I work hard to communicate clearly, lovingly, and with empathy and grace to others, but I continue to hurt people’s feelings and cause misunderstandings. Although I want to exemplify asking powerful questions and demonstrating sincere curiosity for others, I too often end up pushing for my agenda, speaking my opinion as if it were firm and factual, and talking over others before they can say what they think. I wish I didn’t do that, but I do.

And so I continue to admit my mistakes, my selfishness, my immaturities, and my gaps and ask for forgiveness and grace from others. I keep leaning into difficult conversations and asking questions – some good ones, some that show my ignorance – with a willing attempt to sort through the “It’s complicated” to find some real solutions to deep problems. And as I hope to receive grace from others for my obvious imperfections, I press on to offer that same grace and love to others, no matter their point of view or contrary idea or even their expressed anger and displeasure with me. My Dad was right.

It’s complicated. 

Relationships, systems, history… they are complicated. And it’s worth it for us to care well for others and ourselves. To speak and act with kindness. To work together to fix things that are messed up. To bring hope to our shared future. To be Jesus’ light of love to others. Hatred, bullying, hurt-for-hurt is not the way. It’s not easy, but courageously pursuing truth and healing – with love – is our only option. 


What are some things you do to handle this complicated life of ours? 

la fatiga es real

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Bueno… ya hemos estado en esto del virus desde hace un tiempo y nos estamos desgastando. La adrenalina que comenzó ha desaparecido – como debería, pues no fuimos creados para vivir con una descarga constante de adrenalina.

Al principio, aceptamos la novedad de nuestras nuevas realidades, usando la creatividad y la tecnología para sobrevivir, pero eso también se ha vuelto viejo. Ahora, el aislamiento, el confinamiento, los desórdenes, las incógnitas y las pérdidas se están acumulando… y suman mucho cansancio. Así que comencé a hacer una lista de algunos de los responsables del agotamiento.

La fatiga del Zoom

Cuando utilizamos la misma plataforma para todo (reuniones de trabajo y uno a uno, socialización y fiestas virtuales, eventos familiares, servicios religiosos, clases en línea, citas con médicos y tal vez asesoramiento), no tenemos cambios de contexto y nos encontramos sentados demasiado tiempo. Además, los retrasos de audio, los efectos visuales “congelados” y los errores del botón de silencio crean agitación mental. La visión propia asegura una autocrítica continua y la vista de fondo de la casa puede causar una comparación social. La falta de contacto visual (¿veo las caras de la pantalla o la cámara?) y la mirada directa grupal es anormal y relacionalmente agotadora.

La fatiga de información

No sé de ustedes, pero he pasado de leer vorazmente y hablar constantemente sobre cada detalle del coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) a no querer ver otro cuadro, gráfico, estadística, comentario o video de cómo lavarse las manos por COVID-19. Mi cabeza está llena de información contradictoria, siempre cambiante, que genera ansiedad, causa conflictos y no tengo la energía para ingresar más datos en mi cerebro.

La fatiga de hacer decisiones

Pareciera que todas las elecciones anteriormente simples se han vuelto demasiado complejas y complicadas. Ir a la tienda o al mercado ahora requiere considerar todos los lineamientos de seguridad y evaluar el riesgo de contraer el virus o, aún más preocupante, la posibilidad de transmitirlo a otra persona. ¿Es seguro ir a cortarme el pelo o ir al dentista? ¿Me pongo un cubre bocas? ¿Cómo puedo apoyar a los negocios locales y a las personas en necesidad?

La fatiga del incertidumbre 

Digo “No sé” o “Nadie lo sabe” constantemente. La mayoría de nuestros planes están en espera sin una dirección clara a la vista. Escribimos los eventos en el calendario con lápiz, mantenemos ansiosamente las esperanzas del trabajo y nos preocupamos por la economía. ¿Cuándo volveremos a ser como antes? ¿Cuál será la nueva “normalidad”? ¿Cómo cambiará nuestro mundo para siempre?

Podría seguir y seguir…

  • La fatiga del aislamiento
  • La fatiga de nada de tiempo a solas
  • La fatiga del desorden en casa
  • La fatiga del aburrimiento
  • La fatiga de las preocupaciones
  • La fatiga del miedo
  • La fatiga de estar en casa 

Dicen que el primer paso hacia la curación es nombrar el dolor. Es útil darse cuenta de cuánta presión cae sobre nuestros hombros cada día. Nuestro mundo es muy diferente al de hace solo unos meses.

Cuando reconozco el esfuerzo que estoy haciendo cada día, puedo darme gracia cuando no puedo ver a través de la niebla en mi cerebro, cuando estoy malhumorada, o cuando lloro sin motivo. También puedo darme permiso fácilmente para tomar un descanso o ignorar la “lista de cosas que debo hacer”. También puedo dar esa misma gracia y ánimo a los demás.

¿Qué te está causando fatiga? ¿Cómo puedes darte gracia y ánimo a ti mismo o a los demás?

the fatigue is real

Photo credit: matthew-henry-6x-hVXXiBxs-unsplash

So… we’ve been at this virus thing a while now, and we’re getting worn down. The initial adrenaline has worn off – as it should. We were not created to live with an enduring adrenaline rush.

We embraced the novelty of our new realities, using creativity and technology to survive, but that has gotten old too. Now, the isolation, the confinement, the messes, the unknowns, and the losses are accumulating… and they add up to a whole lot of tired. I began to make a list of some of the exhaustion culprits.

Zoom Fatigue

When we use the same platform for everything (work meetings and one-on-ones, socializing and virtual parties, family events, church services, online classes, doctors’ appointments, and maybe counseling too), we have no context changes and we. sit. way. too. much. In addition, the audio lags, “frozen” visuals, and mute-mistakes create mental agitation. The self-view ensures ongoing self-criticism, and the home-background-view can cause social comparison. The lack of eye-contact (do I look at the screen faces or at the camera?) and the group direct-staring is abnormal and relationally draining.   

Information Fatigue

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone from reading voraciously and talking constantly about every single coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detail to not wanting to see another C19 chart, graph, statistic, comment, or hand-washing video. My head is full of contradicting, ever-changing, anxiety-raising, conflict-causing (mis) information, and I don’t have the energy to input more data into my brain.

Decision Fatigue

It seems that all previously simple choices have become overly complex and complicated. Going to the store for groceries now requires consideration of all the safety features and evaluation against the risk of catching the virus or – even more concerning – the possibility of passing it on to someone else. Is it safe to get my hair cut or go to the dentist? Do I wear a mask? How can I support local businesses and those in need?

Uncertainty Fatigue

I say “I don’t know” or “Nobody knows” a lot. So many plans are on hold with no clear direction in sight. We write events into the calendar in pencil, hold anxiously to job hopes, and worry about the economy. When will we get back to the way things were before? What will be the new “normal”? How will our world be forever changed?  

I could go on and on…

  • Isolation Fatigue
  • No-Alone-Time Fatigue
  • Messiness Fatigue
  • Boredom Fatigue
  • Worry Fatigue
  • Fear Fatigue
  • Room (house) Fatigue

They say the first step to healing is naming the pain. It is helpful to realize just how much pressure is landing heavily on our shoulders each day. Our world is crazy-different than it was only a few months ago.

When I recognize the effort I am putting into getting through each day, I can give myself grace when I can’t see through my brain fog, when I am grumpy, or when I cry for no reason. I can also more easily encourage myself to rest, take a break, or ignore the “should-do-list.”

I can also give that same grace and encouragement to others.

What is causing you fatigue? How can you give pressure-lifting grace and encouragement to yourself or to others?

building resilience

Photo credit: matti-keponen-APmBcTBLRic-unsplash

I mentioned in my last post that I needed resilience. I didn’t know yet the depth of that truth.

A few weeks later and the “drag” of our situation is wearing on me more than ever. I feel the weight of my own emotions and inconveniences. I am burdened by the pain and struggles of those who are suffering much more than me. I see others reacting with great frustration to the limitations and longevity of the virus impact.

Our stress behaviors show off loudly these days.

It helps to remember that anytime we adjust to something new (new job, new home, new family member), it tires us out. So much about our situation is new right now. New ways of working or going to school – or losing those things. New ways of getting basic supplies or doing without. New ways of interacting or missing interactions no longer available to us.

Uncertainty is wearing. We typically do not like to stand at the crossroads without clear direction, but everything about our future feels unknown. Many decisions that were previously straightforward require more thought now. In addition, we often have to consider the complexity of how our choices affect others.

The loss of anticipated activities and celebrations also depletes our motivation. Feeling out-of-control, vulnerable, or trapped is unnerving. Isolation, loneliness, fear, and grief are physically exhausting. So is living in tight quarters with others who are also expressing their reactions to this out-of-control life. Everyone is at least slightly on edge – some of us much more than others. So what can we do?

SHUT DOWN THE “SHOULDS”

Erasing unrealistic expectations and perfection-pressure helps us conserve needed kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. When I replace “I should be… do… act like…” with a humble recognition of my weakness, I often find others willing to step in with forgiveness and help. I am learning to set goals (significantly) lower than normal at times, leaving margin for those days when motivation, energy, and creativity wanes.

GRACE.  GRACE.  GRACE.

I have repeated this word more times than I can count. Encouraging myself and others to offer grace and acceptance rather than criticism, judgement, or anger is crucial. It’s not easy to do, and I fail often, but we all desperately need it. I’m taking initiative to reach out to others and lean into relationships – even when it is hard for me. I hope that practice will stick with me over time.

TAKE CARE

I am thinking about how I can prepare myself for the long-term effects of our “new world”. Awareness of all the above helps. As does taking care of my physical needs as much as possible (healthy routines, sleep, fresh air, good food, water). Working on a significant, joy-giving, or worthwhile project each day/week gives me energy too.

The flower above is my inspiration – beautiful, strong, and resilient – growing courageously and miraculously in the crevice of that challenging rock. Ironically, that impressive perseverance would not be needed or visible without the challenge.

What has been most difficult for you this past week? How are you building your resilience?

on the roller coaster

Photo credit: n-heath-_px33d4yu1y-unsplash

I have always loved roller coasters – the wind-in-your-hair speed, the crazy-high ascents that plummet headlong into out-of-your-seat descents, the crushing-your-neighbor curves, the hands raised high, and the laughter screams – oh, the screams. I have loved them backward, upside down, twisting, and splash-landing into water. I have especially loved riding the roller coasters with a beloved family member at my side.

But things have changed.

We are on a roller coaster of
circumstances, life habits and emotions.

And I do not like it. I have worked hard to adjust and adapt. I have helped my family create new places to study and work and purchase what is needed. I have controlled my anxiety and fear and helped others work through theirs. We have figured out how to stay away from people physically and still stay connected virtually. We keep our personal space, wear our masks and wash our hands.

Every day the ride changes.

The statistics of cases and deaths keep rising and invading one location after another. The estimates for business and school re-openings are months away with nothing certain yet. Hope and discouragement regularly alternate their visits; sometimes they show up simultaneously and sometimes they hide in a crowd of unnamed emotions. As soon as we get one challenge figured out and come up with a satisfactory alternative, something else changes or gets taken away. The economic impact is adding a spinning-saucer sensation to this roller coaster and that stomach-churning effect is one I have never enjoyed.

I am remembering today that roller coaster rides are usually very short-lived, a few breathtaking minutes at the most. This crazy ride we are on is going to last much longer. The highs and lows and the twists and turns go on and on and on. I have had enough already. I want to get off, but I can’t. 

I will need resilience.

An extended journey requires a different mindset and different preparation than a ride that lasts only a few minutes. This crisis demands long-term physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual care. I cannot simply hold my breath for the few brief moments of a short thrill ride. I will need deep, long, oxygen-filling breaths to give me endurance for the distance. Attitudes and actions must be adjusted, and then re-adjusted again, for a long haul. It helps to remember Who travels with me.

Thankfully, although I cannot control my situation, I can control much of my reaction to the circumstances. In this case, simply recognizing the kind of ride I am on, gives me new perspective and helps me choose a better response.

How are you getting through this crazy crisis ride?

Your Story Matters

Graphic credit: Your Story Matters launch team

We are going through crazy times – a world pandemic never before experienced in our lifetimes. We would never have believed it if someone had told us a few weeks ago that:

  • All schools and colleges would be closed except for online studies
  • All professional sports and music concerts would cancel their upcoming events
  • International and domestic flights would be grounded and country borders would be closed
  • The Olympics would be postponed
  • Beaches and National Parks would off-limits
  • We’d be maintaining six-foot “personal cones of protection” and wearing masks out in public
  • Millions of people would suddenly be out of work
  • In some places, tax collections and school loan repayments would be postponed and some landlords would not be charging rent
  • Divided governments would be collaborating like never before on economic stimulus packages

This mind-boggling new world is affecting us each in different ways. Some are very isolated and lonely as they are in lockdown alone in their homes. Others are overwhelmed as they have suddenly taken on homeschooling and/or they are trying to work with young children underfoot, on their laps, and yelling in their ears. Many are living in vulnerable and unsafe situations in their own homes or homeless on the streets. Others are not able to stay home and are working in risky job situations to take care of the rest of us. Some have lost jobs. Others are fearful of the future. Many are stepping into creative and generous ways of helping with needs. Each story is different.

Each story matters.

I have been processing my experience during these crazy times by journaling and by writing in this blog. There have been some really hard, sad, and tumultuous effects due to this virus. We have also made beneficial adjustments in our new way of life. One thing I want to do is record the changes I have made in my life during this time so that I do not go back so easily to status quo behaviors when this is over.

I want to remember.

That is one of the reasons I am grateful that a book launch is happening right now and I get to recommend Leslie Leyland Fields excellent work titled, Your Story Matters.

Leslie Leyland Fields hosts an incredible writers workshop on a private island in Alaska. She also does a few workshops in other places, but for most of us, attending one of those workshops won’t work because of travel or cost limitations, especially now.

Thankfully, Leslie’s new book is like having her workshop brought right to your home. As you read and write your way through Your Story Matters, Leslie explains the “why” it is important to write your story and the specifics of “how” to do it. Her coaching is honest, grace-filled, encouraging and easy to follow.

The chapters are full of wonderful examples and helpful writing prompts. If you have ever believed you can’t or shouldn’t write, Leslie is about to change that. If you have ever thought about writing for publication, to process what has or is happening in your life, or to preserve family memories, now is a great time to do that.

I highly recommend using some of your time during this once-in-a-lifetime situation to write or record your experience and emotions – your story – in some way. You could compose a song, record a video, or write. Leslie’s book will help you remember and tell your story. I highly recommend it.

How are you processing and recording your unique story?


Get Leslie’s book on Amazon now!

when anger and grief decide to visit

 

Photo licensed: shutterstock_419668975

Anger and grief showed up this week. I didn’t invite them. I hope they won’t stay long.

We’ve been through a lot these past few weeks-going-on-months. Through the crazy, uncertainties, changes, and inconveniences, I have maintained a fairly good attitude and my faith has withstood the storm.

This week, however, my heart was sucker-punched with some bad news and, as is often the case, my pain quickly turned to anger. I was angry at God. I was angry at myself and I was angry at my inability to fix things that are out of my control and that I don’t like.

As I sat with (or, more honestly, embraced) my anger for the better part of the day, the hard self-protective shell around my heart finally started to give way to the legitimate pain underneath. I recognized that I am very tired. Tired from some long-standing sadness that I’ve been carrying around for a while and tired from the emotional weight of our new reality. Tired of simple decisions now requiring an analysis of so many possible ramifications. I am grieving the suffering and the deaths, the struggles of those who are losing their jobs and those who are still working their jobs at great risk. I am grieving the loss of connection, independence, and freedom for us all.

In the midst of that unwelcome intrusion, I needed to remember (maybe you do too?) that anger and grief emotions are valid and real, and they do not need to be brushed aside immediately with positive thoughts or spiritual truths, hidden away under guilt and shame, or diminished by comparisons with something worse that someone else is experiencing. 

I have felt like an empathy failure at times because brushing aside, hiding, or comparing have been my responses all too often. That has made it more difficult for me – and for others – to process emotions and begin to heal.

I want to be more hospitable to anger and grief.

I am learning that it helps to share my emotions with a safe person, someone who can handle the authentic honesty of my heart. Many times God is my safe person through journaling or praying. I am intentionally working to be that kind of safe person for others, biting my tongue when it would be easier for me to offer ideas and try to “fix-it”, and instead simply be there for others in their pain until they are ready for something else from me. 

I recognize that anger and sorrow and healing will often share the same table with my joys and gratefulness and productivity. They are not one-time guests. Their presence makes for a messier living space than I prefer, but I am learning to be ok with that.

How do you handle anger and grief?

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**As I was writing this, I listened to Brene Brown’s recent podcast and she shared helpful tips for living with our emotions. It’s really good and covers more than I can in a few words.