Monday, September 21, 2020

Resilience During Hard Times

 LUCY BURDETTE: Back in 2017 I wrote a blog post about resilience. We all shared our best tips for soldiering on during hard times.

I don’t think we could have imagined just how hard things were really going to get, with the pandemic, the lockdown, people losing jobs and businesses, being cut-off from family, nasty and divisive politics, the horrible signs of how fast climate change is affecting the world, and now mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Never mind the fact that some people we love dearly are quite sick. 


Lottie recommends Snuggle Puppy

So I thought maybe we need to revisit that topic again. And maybe share some ideas about how we’re coping with the world as it is. For me the puppy is a great distraction (mostly fun, and more on that later this week), and I continue to try to exercise even though my foot is killing me, plus stay in touch with people I love, work, and eat the best things I can make. (And not always healthy.) Oh, and don’t look at the news and the Internet more than absolutely necessary.


How about you Reds? Tips on how to keep functioning without getting discouraged by this crazy crazy world?


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ha.  I am a one-step-at-a-time person. I know it’s easy for me to accelerate from zero to World War III in a flash, so I try not to panic myself into fear. I have rationed our TV news watching, try to be really present and grateful. Try to enjoy our garden, and our bumper crop of delicious tomatoes, and having lunch with my husband every day. I focus small small small, I guess, is what I have realized in writing this. Big is difficult. Small is doable. Hmm. Thank you for allowing me to realize that.


HALLIE EPHRON: One step at a time - that’s great advice. Chores haven’t changed. Laundry. Dishes. Grocery shopping. The mind can go blank and accomplish something. Count blessings: friends, daughters, grandkids. Acts of kindness every day.


JENN McKINLAY: Recently, I found a  journal that I’d bought at a stall in Portobello Market in 2013. It’s hand stitched red and black leather, aged end papers that are an old map of the city of London, a brown satin ribbon to mark my place, and a canvas Union Jack sewn onto the cover. It was love at first sight when I bought it, and even then I knew it had to be a special journal. 

I made it my gratitude journal, where I would write random things, big and small, for which I was grateful. I wrote in it for two years and then -- it vanished. During a decluttering the other day, I found it. Exactly three days short of five years since my last entry. 


To say 2020 has been my hardest year would be a vast understatement, and I figured this journal showed up right now for a reason. To remind me to be grateful. I am using it to double down on my gratitudes and am making the time to acknowledge desert sunsets, the kindness of strangers, family dinners where we discuss everything from Trailer Park Boys (Canadian show) to Beowulf, visits from hummingbirds, and cake. No matter how bad things get, there is always something to be grateful for even when it feels like there isn’t. 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: Jenn, I can picture exactly where you bought that journal! I'll bet I have one from the same stall. I think we are all concentrating on the small things. (And now that Jenn's mentioned it, cake would be nice, too.) I've been meaning to start a new gratitude journal, and now I'm inspired.


I pay attention to the garden, the hummingbirds (gone soon), I look forward to my morning walk with the dogs. And for me, reading is the great antidote, and I think often how lucky those of us who read (and write) are, for so many reasons. Not just because we have an escape, but because we have perspective, and history, and a wealth of worldviews. I can't imagine how terrifying life must be with only cable news and information silos to guide you.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Practicing gratitude was something that always sounded like wind-chimes-and-crystals woo-woo to me until I found myself, in 2017, dealing with Ross’s illness and death. I became a convert to the power of noticing the moments of beauty and grace around us, and being thankful for them. I don’t keep a journal, but I do try to maintain that habit of mindfulness.


I went back and read the post you linked to, Lucy, and I think the first thing you say is very true - people who have reached middle age are often resilient because they’ve lived through a lot already. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but I worry about my kids and their peers. Think of Youngest, who grew up in a post 9/11 world with America snarled in endless wars, the Great Recession, and has come of age in a worldwide pandemic. I don’t know how those kids are keeping it together, but they are. I think they’re going to be our next Greatest Generation.


RHYS BOWEN:  I have tried so hard to keep a gratitude journal. I find a lovely journal, do it religiously for a few days and then forget. But I am mindful of things I’m grateful for. We walk twice every day, around areas of natural beauty--ponds, marshes at the edge of the Bay, and we always see wonderful birds, the occasional coyote and very few humans. I’m grateful that the humans we do pass almost all cover their faces. 


My go-to mechanism for keeping it together is the CALM app. I often start the day with their morning meditation and choose a sleep story to fall asleep at night. These stories are so good and relaxing that I never hear the end of any of them. I also sometimes go to the night prayers my pastor does on YouTube. But I’ve had to give myself permission not to keep up my usual pace. I am using so much energy by fending off worry and depression that there is not enough for my usual level of creativity. That’s all right. I tell myself that my job, this year, is to survive. 


LUCY: You are all such smart women and I love you dearly! Very grateful to have the Red writers and readers in these awful days...So we’re taking one small step at a time, counting the things we’re grateful for, and surviving! How about you Red readers? Tips for staying resilient?


110 comments:

  1. How do I stay resilient? By remembering to be thankful for the little things, enjoying the garden, the flowers, the deer who wander by. I try to stay focused on the present so that all of this doesn’t overwhelm me . . . I look forward to Sunday sitting in the parking lot at church [socially distanced, masks on, but we are together and we are singing] . . . and maybe just a little too much cake, but baking is such a calming activity and cake is a great mood-booster . . . .

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  2. Fiction. I keep saying it, but escaping into a good mystery is really helping me. I read on my lunch hour, and it really helps me destress no matter what is going on at work.

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    1. I'm with you Mark. Losing myself in a book is the only thing that helps.

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    2. Agreed. I've always been a voracious reader, but I've never appreciated being able to escape into a book more.

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    3. I am so upset I cannot read. This..from a woman who has read a book a day since she was in middle school. I used to say reading was my drug of choice. And now...I just can't. Especially anything good. I can sometimes get hooked into some dystopian vampire magic will save the day adventure ride...but a real book? The last one I read was yours (Hid from our Eyes)! (And enjoyed.) But I knew those characters. I could sink back into that world. Making the leap to invest in a new world, and new people whom might just..disappoint....I sigh. And I revert to my twitter feed which as you can imagine does nothing for my mental health. I have discovered the Find What Feels Good website and free Yoga with Adrienne Video's on YouTube, so I try to do one of those a day. And I try to meditate and send out love to our sad world once a day. But its hard. This weekend was...really a nightmare.

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  3. I want to say more later, but for now I want to share a piece written last April entitled “Your Only Goal is to Arrive.” I reread it quite a few times. Here is the link. Oops, it didn’t copy. I’ll try again.

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    1. Kathy, is this the link?
      https://mentorslinks.com/your-only-goal-is-to-arrive-paul-ollinger/

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    2. That is a GREAT essay, Kathy!! Thank you, and thank you, Joan.

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    3. Thanks, Kathy! I love this: " Today’s flight, dear friends, is very much delayed: not by hours, but months. Travel conditions are—to put it mildly—suboptimal. Each of us should have in mind only one goal: to arrive on the other side in one piece."

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    4. Thanks, Joan. That's the essay. Here's the Forge link, too. I'm never sure which link is going to make you subscribe to something to see it. https://forge.medium.com/to-survive-the-quarantine-change-your-metrics-e345d79be14b

      Glad you, Debs, and you, Rhys, enjoyed it. I like the last line, too. "You know what will be exceptional? Surviving and arriving."

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  4. I can’t get the link to copy right now. The author of the piece is Paul Ollinger. It’s worth Googling, but when I get on laptop tomorrow, I’ll paste link.

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  5. I'm with Julia and Rhys on not keeping a gratitude journal but practicing it every day. And with all of you on small todo lists, small bits of surviving. Reading, walking, baking (and eating) pies, sitting on my deck, and of course, the kitten. Small children are a big help, but I live an hour away from my favorite one. Must schedule another visit with pure joy.

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    1. Reading is a great way for me. Edith, I finished Taken Too Soon yesterday and loved it. The story kept me from being bothered by anything. Thank you

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    2. I'm delighted to hear that, Danielle-momo! Than you for letting me know.

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  6. Roberta, you cannot know how timely this was for me. Thank you, a million, for this essay, and for the link to your 2017 blog post. Wherein my own comments have also helped drag me back to my usual optimism. This has been a super hard week, for so many of us, and I fear it's going to get harder.

    My husband has been on a fishing trip this past week, and as nice as it was to have a break from cooking (!) I am also seeing how isolating it can be to live alone. Just having a morning kiss and hug makes such a difference.

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    1. I’m so glad it was what you needed Karen! Isn’t it funny how our own words spoken at an earlier time can be touchstones? I can see exactly what you mean about getting a break from cooking but not wanting a break from company of John!

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    2. A little window into being alone... can be scary.

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    3. Karen, one gratitude I proclaim daily is having John with me. Yes he can be annoying at times but having someone to laugh with, to walk with, to hug is worth more than gold right now

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    4. Yes, Karen and Hallie, that little window.

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  7. I used to keep a full-fledged gratitude journal. Then I got away from the specific "gratitude" part and simply journaled, which is something I've done for decades and have the volumes to prove it. For the last couple years, I've merged the two. I make my daily journal entry of what's going on and how I'm feeling, and at the end, I add one more paragraph that begins, "Today I'm grateful for..." Some days it's hard to fill in the rest, but I always do. Sometimes it's as simple as being grateful for my husband or my cat or even for breath. But those are the days I NEED to remember those small things in my life.

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    1. I envy all your stacks of journals Annette – I have never been able to make myself do this. My sister does, and she has gotten several books out of it.

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    2. Annette, I have to tell you that one of the things that has calmed me and kept me sane is reading your Zoe Chambers series this summer. I'm on book #7 now, and it has helped me once more find some inner calm. I have some darker books on my reading schedule that I should be reading, too, for reviewing, but Pete and Zoe are giving me the comfort I need, so I thank you so much for that.

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    3. That is such a wonderful thing, Annette!

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  8. Wonderful idea, Annette.

    I kept a gratitude journal for years, a day by day journal, and a garden journal as well. I've fallen away from both the gratitude journal and the day by day journal. Largely because I couldn't search them. Now I use an app titled Diarium for the day to day. I love that I can insert a photo and a rating and search when I need to bring something to mind. Now I'm going to take a page from Annette's book and add a gratitude paragraph at the end.

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  9. This is an excellent and timely post. Thank you all!

    Julia, I agree with you that the young people of today, including my 26-year-old son, are going to be our next Greatest Generation. Sure, there are times they do the typical silly things of youth. But overall, I find they show amazingly good judgment in how they prioritize and how they respond to life.

    I can't add much to what has been said about tips for staying resilient. Exercise and gratitude are top of the list. I have also recently been finding myself using a technique where, when I start to feel overwhelmed about what I miss, what we can't do, how unclear the future is, etc., I just gently remind myself that everyone else feels the same way and faces those same challenges. Just let it go, I tell myself. Live in the moment. It is surprising how often I am able to take my advice at that point, and re-focus on the pleasant walk I'm on, or how grateful I am for my husband and son, or just what tasks I need to do today. It reminds me of a catchphrase a friend of mine used to use back in the early 1980's, when we were both in grad school: Repression is a highly underrated coping mechanism!

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    1. That thought is so helpful to remember – we are all in this together and face many of the same things, even though some folks have a harder path right now. It doesn’t mean we all aren’t suffering losses as well

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    2. Susan, I love "repression is a very underrated coping mechanism!"

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    3. I think it is so powerful to remember that everyone else feels the same thing, I somehow, that really changes my attitude.

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  10. Thank you for this post. I'm going to bookmark it so I can re-read it every time I need to reinforce for myself its central points. Do one thing at a time and do it as well as you can. Focus on the beauty and goodness and grace in the world. Be judicious with media (social and otherwise). This doesn't mean we cannot also stand up and fight for the things that matter to us. It simply means we need to care for ourselves and those we love first, because the world we all want to live in starts with that.

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    1. So very well said Brenda, thank you! We do need to take care of ourselves in order to fight for what’s important

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  11. Thank you, Deb, for something that has never occurred to me before: to be thankful for being a reader! You are so right, though. There have been times when i would hear that someone is "so bored" which is a rather foreign concept to me. With all the books in the world how could I possibly be bored? Instead of worrying I'll open a book. Yes, that is a lot to be grateful for. I used knew someone who seemed proud of the fact that she never wasted her time reading. I could only pity her.

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    1. Wow, the concept of being proud of not wasting time reading is very foreign to me too. I have not really been a voracious reader over the last six months, keep hoping I will get back to it. Because it’s not for lack of books!

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    2. After thinking some more about the person who wouldn't waste her time reading I realized she was one who was always talking about how this or that bored her.

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    3. Like Lucy, “Wow” but not with the concept of being proud of not wasting time reading, but that reading could be wasting time?

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  12. I envy people who can keep a journal. After trying many times and after quitting in a couple of days, I finally realized that this wasn't for me.

    RBG's death did me in, like thousands of other Americans and people everywhere. I've not watched one tribute to her, and I promise I'll go postal if I hear the moron speak her name. Since Friday no more news watching, preferring to spend my screen time in Bloody Scotland. Like Mark above, I I escape into books. It is almost my only solace in these times. Come to think of it, it has always been that way.

    I could be an anchorite, living in my hut with someone passing food in through a tiny opening, maybe only once a day. Are anchorites allowed adult beverages?

    I'll add that having a new puppy does help. But, as Lucy Roberta says, more about that later.

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    1. I can't keep a journal either, Ann - all those diaries I got as a kid? I'd do a page and that was it.

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    2. As I said in a post below, my doctor suggested I might want to journal, but I just couldn't get into it. However, the gratitude journal might work for me, although I doubt it would be a daily journal.

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    3. I am laughing! I tried to keep a diary in my 30s, and did well for a while, except when I went back to look at it, it was all whining. So I stopped.

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  13. In addition of what have been mentioned: reading, walking, focusing on the day to day, practising to be grateful I would add volunteer to help people less fortunate than I am. Stay in touch with someone who has less ressources to go through.
    Take a walk, at distance, with someone having intellectual deficiency, let her know she's not alone in the world.
    In the same way, being part of JRW community, sharing facts and feelings everyday , helps me to go forward, to not feel alone in the world.

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    1. And it surely helps us to have all of you here with us – definitely doesn’t go only one way!

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  14. Day by day. Thanks to the library system, we have stacks of books to read and DVD's to watch ("Rake", a hysterically funny Australian courtroom series about a reprobate barrister). For the first time, we're on top of yard chores. I have more contact with authors via zoom sessions than I ever did. My millennial kids are coping well, dealing with their jobs from home. Yesterday, I watched a hawk circle in the sky overhead, and remembered lines from a Yeats poem, "turning and turning in the widening gyre", which unfortunately led me to what followed: "Things fall apart/The center cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed/Upon the world."

    Not on my watch.

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  15. I agree with so much that has already been said. I keep a daily log (not as serious as a journal) in which I write and collage; it's a satisfying practice for me. I read. I walk. I don't listen to the news, just keep on top of the worst of it with headline notifications from the real news media.

    And, also, I think doing something (anything) is important: over the weekend, I moved one whole yard of pea gravel around the property (small world accomplishment) and today my partner, who is a dual citizen, will mail in her ballot for the US election (big world accomplishment).

    Above all and no matter how we manage it, our duty is to not give in to feelings of despair. There is no time for that and there is too much to do...

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    1. Maybe little moments of despair, but then rise back out of it! We are looking forward to getting our ballots soon

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    2. Oh, yes, absolutely. No point denying the despair, Lucy/Roberta!

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    3. Recalling your blog today. Wasn’t it a story in six words? What Lucy said — Maybe little moments of despair, but ...

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    4. Amanda, you've given me a wonderful idea. One of my favorite artists is Romare Bearden, who used collages as one of his art forms. I think I would enjoy doing some small collage pictures. Thanks for stirring up my creative juices.

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    5. Kathy: I'm delighted to have sparked something within you. Isn't that exactly what good community for us?

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  16. Roberta, did you know that today is World Gratitude Day? True story!

    This article is excellent, too: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/

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  17. Fresh out of resilience this morning. Snapped at my very nice, but often too solicitous neighbor (who never wears a mask), screamed at NPR’s Upfirst (Its 14 minutes of news are my full daily intake), and then wept. Hoping to draw some strength from the good thoughts of the Jungle Reds community. Thank you for being here.

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    1. Hugs to you, Elizabeth. I have days like that, and they're no fun. I depend on my dogs to snap me out of it, or my over-fed, feline-entitled cats. If you get the chance, hug (don't strangle) a puppy. And know that you will have a better day one of these days.

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    2. Gigi, thank you. Will try hugging a favorite sweater...regretfully allergic to puppies and kitties. Reading your kind words, reminding me I am not alone. Thank you.

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    3. Sometimes you just have to scream and break a few things.

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    4. That, too, Hallie! I like old terracotta flowerpots. As for huggable things, Elizabeth, I'm a big fan of stuffed toys. Yes, I know I'm an old lady, but if I have no access to my dogs and cats, a teddy bear (or unicorn, or dragon, or whatever suits your fancy) isn't bad at all. Hang in there.

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    5. Elisabeth, I withdraw to my room sometimes and cry too. It helps to acknowledge those feelings. Be good to yourself.

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    6. I think one gratitude should be for the internet. How lovely to Zoom with my family and to be able to chat online with all of you

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    7. Elizabeth, I have a Warmie. Microwavable stuffed animal filled with lavender. Very huggable and soothing.

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    8. Thank you all for all the hugs!

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    9. Elisabeth, I love NPR, but I've decided to go on a news fast. I'm finding listening to classical music instead reduces my stress by a huge amount!

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    10. Julia, Upfirst is my starting back from a total news fast. (With friends in Oregon and Washington, I was heartsick when I learned of the fires and smoke after the worst was over.) Jazz is my stress reducer. Thank you for your kindness.

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    11. Gigi, I have my Pink Kitty. She was my first stuffed animal and has been every where and always with me. But like your don’t strangle the puppy advice, I feared that this morning that I squeeze the 70 plus year old stuffing out of her.
      Thank you, again.

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    12. Like Julia, I love NPR but am rather avoiding it now. I just can't take more than a few minutes of news or political talk right now. And, screaming is a perfectly acceptable reaction and activity these days.

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    13. Hugs to you Eilizabeth. Am in the same leaky sorrowful boat. I took great solace in the huge amount of money average humans sent in torrents through Act Blue this weekend...but then today...made the mistake of listening to McConnell's floor speech. This is the fight of our lives. For our lives. How can we not be depressed? STILL, I have letters to voters to write...and will marshall the fortitude to get on task. As well as maybe take Gus out for another walk. The fires have made that less restorative. More apocalyptic. Still We shall persevere.
      In total I say...doing one small thing towards making the world more just daily is about the best thing I can come up with to force myself to do to life myself out of despair.

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    14. And once you stop turning on the news all the time, when you go back to listen, it’s strident and just a continuing line of speculation. The network nightly news, half an hour, that’s plenty..

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  18. Sorry everyone, I am a wreck. I can only watch an hour of news per day and haven't read a paper in 8 months. My first Rosh HaShana that I could not pray. Couldn't pray. I'm not too sure that I can make my typical new year's resolution to be a better person with a specific goal attached, one year I vowed to never participate in gossip which was probably my best ever. This year, nothing.

    How can such evil, such an evil ambition, flourish again? How could RBG die in this time frame? I know you all spent the weekend discussing it.

    Thank you for all of your suggestions and support of one another. I am reading every minute that I can. But reality is hitting me hard. Hope to be myself again one day soon, but right now, with everything spinning out of control, I just can't give you any advice to help here. My therapist of many years ago taught me to recognize the things I can control. It's just too little to help the world.

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    1. Judy, I have been feeling the same, overwhelmed and helpless. We just need to hang in there, and hold onto one another.

      Just know that you are not alone, dear.

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    2. Love to you, Judy. Here's hoping for a happier new year. If you can't formulate a prayer, perhaps you could listen to music? Eric Whitacre's Deep Field comes to mind (non-denominational, and if you watch the video, lots of images from the Hubble telescope: https://youtu.be/yDiD8F9ItX0) or perhaps you could check out my friend Josh Goldberg, who is bringing new Jewish music to the world: https://joshgoldbergmusic.com/ God is always listening, even if you can't put it into words.

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    3. Judy, I have been reading the Mitford series by Jan Karon. I'm not an Episcopalian, but reading about someone whose life is centered on prayer has proven calming. Plus these books have been entertaining!

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    4. Definitely not alone Judy and Elisabeth! These days are as hard as they can be.

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    5. Thanks to you all. Feeling better already. Gigi, I'll try you musical suggestions. Flora, I'll put Jan Karon on my TBR list. Roberta/Lucy, the JRW writers and bloggers are the best! Sending hugs.

      Please understand that I am not sad for myself, I just can't repair the world the way I'd like to do it. The frustration is enormous.

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    6. Judy, sending you big hugs. I'm so glad that you are part of our community and that we can support each other. xx

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    7. Judy, so understand the wider sadness. Take care

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    8. Judy, I'll pass on something a friend told me when I was in a place where I simply couldn't pray. She said, "When you can't pray, remember others are praying for you."

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    9. Judy, as others here have said, please know that you are not alone. I'm glad that you are able to read. That is a big something.

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    10. Yes, but there is a strange reassurance in knowing that… Yes, it is hard. It is really hard for everyone. And then we just take one step at a time.

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  19. When we first went into lockdown I decided to be more diligent about my journaling. I don't want to keep up with different journals for different things, or the daily demand of a diary, but I have kept a journal since maybe the sixth grade, and I write in it when I think it's important. I decided a record of this unique time in history might be worth attending to. It doesn't hurt that I get to write in an Iona journal, with a really cool fountain pen--both of which give me pleasure just from holding them.

    Beyond the journal, I've been using this time to rediscover things old skills. On Saturday I used my newly rediscovered stage voice to read a chapter from my latest novella to a group of science fiction/fantasy fans via Zoom. They enjoyed it, and I had a good time, too.

    Reading, turning off the news--I'm with you, Ann, about a news blackout since Friday--and NAPPING! These sustain me. Napping is the best. I'd just about worked myself to the point of exhaustion before the shutdown, and now, working part-time from home, I have no guilt when I step away from the computer to close my eyes for an hour or three.

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    1. Oh! And--duh!--music. That's like breathing around here, so I sometimes forget to mention it.

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    2. Did Debs do a post on Iona journals? I just now looked them up--beautiful! But I still wouldn't write in one:). Great idea on music Gigi

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    3. Lucy, you should try writing in one!! You just have to get over "first page syndrome." Sort of like starting a book:-) How about making a puppy journal for Lottie? You can write and put in photos, too. I know that sounds like a silly project in such dire times, but sometimes that's just what we need.

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    4. I think Debs has done a couple of posts about Iona journals. We both write in them.

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  20. The animals provide moments of hilarity, sweetness, and pure aggravation--all welcome distractions these days. Naps, yes, phone calls with family and friends--texts to check in with a chain of friends. Reading, cooking, quiet moments. Walking. Yesterday, the woods were heavenly and with a 5-year-old holding my hand--sheer breathable joy.

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    1. The four-year-old granddaughter started soccer two weeks ago and I've been to her games (to call them "games" is really stretching it!) the last two Saturdays. Watching little kids run around and fall over each other on the soccer pitch, in the park on a beautiful fall morning--bliss. They're the embodiment of joy in the moment.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your tips for staying resilient. I find refuge in reading good books. And watching streaming movies or British programmes on Britbox or AcornTV.

    Once in a while there is something on Netflix that I like. And staying in touch with loved ones. Talking on the phone (for me, it is texting or FaceTime). Sending electronic mail or mobile texts.

    Even if I do not always remember to write in my gratitude journal, I find myself spending a few moments stopping to THINK about everything I am grateful for.

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  22. Turn off the news. Play with Koda. Read a book. Write my words. Sit on the porch and look at the beauty. Watch a good TV show with The Hubby. Write a letter to The Boy (who is far less talkative than his sister, so I'm hoping this encourages him to be more so - or at least provides a nice thing to look back on years after he has graduated).

    The Boy recently dealt with the death of two high school friends in one week (neither COVID related). When he said he felt like his mind was scrambled, I told him to take a breath, take a day or two off, maybe talk to someone in the ministry center or a professor (one of his profs reached out to him, thank goodness). And then? Go back to living. Because we're human and that's what we do.

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    1. Oh, and while I don't specifically journal, before I go to bed I give thanks for the day and ask for strength for the next.

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    2. Oh I'm sorry for your son Liz. That kind of loss would be hard for anyone, but a new college student? Impossible!

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    3. So sorry for your son's loss, Liz. When my daughter was in highschool she lost two friends in the same car accident. It was really hard, and I'm not sure she ever looked at life in quite the same way afterwards.

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    4. Debs and Lucy, thanks. It is indeed a sobering realization for someone so young.

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    5. That is so terribly sad. I am so sorry, Liz

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  23. You know the old saying, "How do you eat an elephant?" (anything monumentally large)
    One bite at a time.
    One step at a time.
    One moment of gratitude.
    One step forward.
    One deep breath.

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  24. I escape by reading. I don't journal; I talk to myself instead. And when I do it is almost always whatever is driving me crazy at that time. And a LOT is driving me crazy right now. Talking it out doesn't really seem to help so I jump into a book and escape.

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  25. I too write in a gratitude journal. And I read poetry. And wander about with my camera snapping things that touch me in some small way.
    AND
    I write letters to my representatives.
    AND
    I call them (more often than they appreciate).
    I was chided and rebuked and scolded for my outspokeness back when our present president was first elected.
    And, had my feelings hurt by people I respected.
    Perhaps I was prescient because many of those people are now speaking out.
    I'm glad.
    It's no longer political - it's much much deeper.
    I will never regret speaking up and speaking out - even when my voice shakes.

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    1. Hooray for strong women with shaky voices. Thank you, Kaye. Your words are hope.

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    2. Kaye, I love that you've been consistently vocal and shouted out that the emperor has no clothes.

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  26. Pretty much already covered by all of you. Except I am learning new things like washing machines have sound. When I get crisis fatigue I go back to sayings and slogans.. like "the sun also rises. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a dream you have the golden now. Now is safe. Be like a bozo the clown doll, bounce back. Funny wig and nose is optional. Works for me.. thanks for your thoughts.

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  27. Sorry I am joining so late, but I spent the morning doing one of the (very few) things that keeps me (somewhat, sometimes) sane. Home School with Grandma (2nd grade).The garden floor of our house was converted into a separate apartment long before we were here, and after a long-overdue renovation, one daughter moved in with husband and 2 girls. So we are lucky in these isolating times to have them under our roof. School here in NY is not back - will be? wont' be? who knows? Today we made bread! And she was thrilled with a charming childrens cookbook, a facsimile of one I had a a kid, that actually belonged to MY mother! Yesterday I wrote political letters and will again, but this was good.

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  28. I have the chance to get back on here now and read all these wonderful comments. I posted the early post about the article I'd found helpful at around 2 this morning, but I had to get some sleep, as I had an early morning appointment for a mammogram (just routine). I just want to add a few thoughts.

    Getting through this year has been very much a day-to-day endeavor, a one step at a time, no long-term planning. Days have never been such extremes, with one day I feel hopeful and in a good mood, and then a day will roll in and gut punch me. I had a horrible day this past Saturday, and I know part of it was in reaction to Ruth Bader Gingsburg's death, as it tipped the scales toward inconsolable and hopeless. One of those days when the dark lets no light in. And, then yesterday was better, and today is better still. I have had happy today, and what a relief that's been. So, the metaphor of choice is the rollercoaster, but a rollercoaster on steroids. When all this started last spring, my reading was adversely affected, not able to concentrate. Thankfully, it's gotten better, because reading is something that has been a life-long keep-me-sane activity. So, although my review writing is off again, my reading is helping me. I've had some lapses from FB due to seeing too much bad news at times, and I rarely watch the news. I've been going through papers and pictures and just stuff from my parents that I brought back over twenty years ago after first my mother and then my father died. Don't ask why it's been so long, but the impetus has been my mother-in-law dying this summer and going through some of her things and making way for some of her possessions in our home. I'm not sure whether this journey through my past in papers and pictures is helpful or not. It's rather a double-edged sword. Getting outside, just even to stand out in the sunshine for a few minutes each day has been good. Now that cooler weather is here, I hope to walk more. It's a boost and good for me. Today, I saw a succulent arrangement at the grocery store and told my husband how much I like it. We just happened to meet up at the grocery. I came on home, but husband went back in and bought the succulent arrangement for me. It's a real joy giver today. So, I'm encouraging indulging in some little gifts to yourself (or hinting to significant other you want something).

    I don't journal. My doctor suggested I journal when I went to her for anxiety in July, but I didn't want to put down my thoughts about what was going on in the world and my life. It just seemed like I'd be dwelling on the awfulness even more. However, I didn't consider a gratitude journal. Thanks for all who have commented on keeping one of those. That kind of journaling I could benefit from.

    So, today I can say if you're having one of those horrible, dark days that can cause you to cry over the smallest thing (or the largest), please hang in there. The next day really might be better, or the next, or the next. If you're having one of those dark days today, I'm sure you are telling me to go f*** myself (and rightly so). But, if you've just come through one or two or three, and you are feeling better, then you know that it's worth hanging in there for the better days.

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    1. Kathy Boone Reel. It was through Jungle Red that I "found" you. Who knew I had been missing a sister?! You're one of the names written in my gratitude journal from time to time and I'm blessed and happy and lucky to have you in my life. I know I can reach out at some ungodly hour of the night/morning and you're going to be there; like me - not sleeping. And usually we'll end our conversations with a laugh. That laughter has gotten me through some tough times, sweetie. Thank you. And your Phillip? Love him too. Give him a hug from me, please, he is a good man. xxoo

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  29. I started reading the comments this morning before I left for work. There were some 40+ comments. Now, four hours later, there are 80+ and climbing. I'm sitting in my office at lunch, reading all these wonderful comments and trying to be stoic so I don't have to explain the tears that are hovering near the edge. You are all messing up my image. :-)

    I have been losing myself in books forever but now I find that my reading is a substitute for most everything else in my life after work.

    Just before all hell broke loose, I was questioned, in church, by the choir director asking why I wasn't in her choir? I think she knew I had sung the choir she now directs years ago but she had never heard me sing. I took it as a sign that I had to go back. I made it to one and an half rehearsals before the lockdown. We now have Zoom social meetings in place of choir rehearsal and though I don't say much, I'm included and more importantly, they look for me. I'm always going to be Lynn's daughter to so many people but now I also get to be just Deana, which is a nice but scary change.

    When I went from being one in a huge, extended family to just me, I thought I was ready. I knew some day Mom would be gone but I expected the extended family to be there. They aren't but the choir has stepped in to fill some of that void, whether they know or not. Being able to speak here, in this forum, has been so encouraging and sustaining. this is something that is new and occasionally frightening but I'm grateful for all of you.


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    1. So hard to be alone when you're not used to it. I'm glad you found your choir. Some of the bands and choirs around here are experimenting with group singing/playing. Because of different computer speeds and such you can't really all sing at once and have it sound good, but my conductor friends have found that, if they set it up right, each individual member can hear the conductor sing/play and sing/play along. The conductor can't actually hear anybody, but everybody can hear her, so it feels more like you're singing or playing with the group. You might try it. I'm glad you found your voice here.

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    2. Deana, you are not alone. I'm always happy to read your comments. You are part of this fabulous group.
      Each of us is different but our love for books brings us farther.

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    3. Danielle: You are a treasure among gems in this community. Thank you for being here so regularly. I always appreciate your comments.

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    4. Gigi, we are trying a virtual choir piece. It's a beautifully simple piece called I Believe. ("I believe in the sun even when it's is not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. I believe in God even when God is hiding".) I have it down but needed to purchase new ear buds and mic combo so I hear the accompaniment but the the recording is only my voice. We are trying to get a group distance rehearsal in before it gets too cold outside. There is the space enough on the grounds but the bishop has to say yes. I look for the little things now. Easier to feel the simpler joys in my life.

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  30. I don't journal but always try to appreciate books, food, TV, the garden, and hearing from friends. Stay safe and well.

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  31. I want to thank the talented writers who take the time every day to write about issues we are all dealing with during these challenging times. So important to have this. We all need each other and what better way to stay connected than speaking out and sharing.

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    1. thanks for stopping by, Jean. We definitely can't get through these days alone!

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  32. I like keeping a journal and taking the time to appreciate the small moments, whether that's a sunrise or a kind word.

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