Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
I know I’m not alone when I say that I don’t think I’ve ever been as ready as I am right now to put the past behind me and begin a new year.
2020 has been rough. Although we’ve all been weathering the same storm, we’ve not all been in the same boat. Some have been steering yachts, others sailboats; some have kept afloat on dinghies while others have clung to dear life on rafts, and many have drowned. Whatever “boat” you’re in, I’m sending love and warm wishes.
A new year is upon us!
This morning I read this inspiring article: “20 Really Good Things that Happened in 2020,” by Chris Taylor, which provides a global perspective on positive changes that have taken place this year.
On a personal note, I have found silver linings. Spending more time with my daughter and husband tops the list. Learning to live at the speed of life—rather than at the rapid-fire speed of my thinking is a close second—tied perhaps with taking a deeper dive into lessons of letting go, trusting more, and worrying less. I’ve written about worry here.
I’m happy to share that I didn’t rush around this holiday season (perhaps for the first time in my adult life). I loved not spending my time in stores, waiting on lines, and battling traffic. Everything was more relaxed this Christmas. I had fewer expectations, let myself off the hook in terms of pressure and perfectionism, and traded that in for gratitude for my family’s health, which is the gift that matters most.
I did a lot less shopping overall this year, which felt great. Precious time with loved ones and ample solitude for writing, meditation, prayer, and yoga replaced my appetite for retail therapy. I was most struck by how much I didn’t feel like I needed stuff. My focus was on maintaining physical and mental health. I had a few challenges here, including chronic cystitis and anxiety flare-ups, but I’m feeling better now on both fronts.
I’ve been appreciating my home. Since I’ve had more time on my hands, I’ve taken on doing my own cleaning (our housekeeper hasn’t been here since March), and it’s been satisfying to take care of my own home. My husband helps and we’ve created a cleaning camaraderie, taking pride in a freshly mopped kitchen floor, newly laundered sheets, and scrubbed bathrooms.
Nail polish became superfluous this year. I’ve enjoyed going without it. I also let my hair grow out and I color it myself. I’ve realized, however, that massages are essential in my life. I have a wonderful therapist who comes to my home, and when that’s not possible my husband steps in. He gives a great massage.
Simple pleasures, such as watching sunsets from our front porch, walking our dog, Katie, and taking Sunday-afternoon drives have brought joy. I’m staying in the moment more, and noticing small beauties: a leaf, the scent of pine, a kind word, a smile, a bath, a cup of tea, rain, sunlight, silence.
My teaching took on new meaning—and a new schedule—this year. Aside from an end-of-year break, instead of taking time off between sessions, I kept going, rolling over my classes in response to my students wanting to continue and saying things like, “This is the highlight of my week. I don’t know what I’d do without this class right now.” One student, Pat Willson, referred to our Zoom writing circle as “an oasis in this desert pandemic.” Many spoke about the true intimacy they found in our Zoom meetings, and we all agreed that the class was a gentle, supportive, accepting, and nourishing experience. The classes have been good for me, too; facilitating these groups takes my mind off my own challenges.
Since I’m a creature of habit, I was reluctant to add a Monday noon class to accommodate a student in the UK and move my Thursday class (which I’ve held for over a decade) from evening to afternoon. But I told myself to think of it as an experiment. I’d try it for eight weeks and if it didn’t work I’d go back to the way things were before.
There’s safety in doing things how you’ve always done them, because it’s known—and the known feels better than the unknown. But who’s to say that the unknown won’t hold something better? (Think 2021!)
It turns out I love my new schedule, which I’ll resume the week of January 11th. I have a few openings, so please let me know a.s.a.p. if you’d like to join us. I keep these classes small. Many of my students have told me, “this isn’t just a writing class,” and I agree. It’s a refuge and a place of creative freedom and healing. I have no doubt we’ll continue to need this in 2021 as much as we’ve needed it in 2020.
Guess which two words were among the most common ones uttered in 2020?
I want to hear your voice. Please keep in touch. I also expect to have two openings in late January if you’d like to work with me one-on-one.
Who would have guessed we’d have a year like this or that we’d be so resilient, loving, and hopeful?
May we all thrive!