These pandemic times have awakened high waves of turbulent emotions in many of us. Several feel that their senses’ of normalcy have been taken away from them and they are angry about it. Thus, fractured nerves, illnesses and staggering numbers of death have shaken us all.
But we are not children throwing temper tantrums because some of our comforts are no longer in place. Many are feeling misplaced rage and don’t know who to lash out against. Yet, we are adults who model correct behavior to our children who are silently watching, taking it all in and stuffing our actions into their memory banks.
What type of video are we creating for them? Good footage or earth-shattering footage? Let’s face it, they do emulate us. They do what they see not what we say they should do.
For all we know, this could be the new normal. Hundreds of classics of literature have been written about seismic shifts which forced people to accept unwelcoming changes. The good, old times could be just that. Good memories of times that have floated by.
What will we do? Accept the change and as Gladys Knight and the Pips sang, “Make thebest of a bad situation?” Or will we pout, throw things, scream and destroy the peace of those around us? Perhaps, we should recheck the calendar and year of our births.
Are we babes, teens or adults? Then, as Prince sang, “We should act our age and not our shoe size.” Take a deep breath in, then exhale. We are full-fledged adults and we can act like those who are expected to calm the waves. It is our call.
It is still early in the New Year of 2021. We still have plenty of time to plan to make this a better year. We realize that we cannot control the events surrounding us, but we can become better at choosing our reactions to things.
A former supervisor once reminded us to be ‘less reactive.’ Calm is the key and as we seek low-key responses to world events, we grow and gracefully stretch into our futures.
We could develop some I Will statements and place them around our living quarters. These could serve as daily reminders to stay positive as we jumpstart our new year. Afterall, it is not too late because it is still January!
Here are some suggestions:
I will treat others better.
I will be less judgmental of others’ decisions.
I will not let other people’s choices bother me as much.
I will lean towards a peaceful coexistence and pull away from unnecessary conflicts.
I will try to accept instruction from others, when warranted.
Then, try pushing the pause button. We should compare what we were thinking and feeling this time last year to how we see things now. I bet there has been a drastic adjustment!
We have grown. We will continue to grow. What used to be a source of irritation is almost gone. Yes! So, we vow to forge ahead and emerge as a more undaunted, whole-souled person ready to flow through the world!
There is a coined phrase in literature that speaks of accepting one’s lot. It means that people learn, at some point, to accept their personal missions in life and make the most of things. We are all put here for specific reasons.
We come with our own inner compasses that point us in the direction of our pre-destined purpose for existence. It is buried deep down inside from the beginning but sometimes others’ ideas about our lives may cause us to veer off course. Yet, if we are fortunate enough to survive the detours and regain our footing, we can get back onto the right path.
I was listening to a first grader the other day who is already fascinated with all types of ships. He knows the history of several famous ships, the year some sank and the actions of the captains and crew members in the wake of disaster. I said to him, “You probably will be a great Naval officer someday.”
His inner compass is already leading him in the direction of his charted interests at such an early age. Hopefully, he will not be thwarted and can fulfill those desires that are coming from somewhere deep down within him.
We may sometimes wonder why we did not get what we thought we wanted in life, but as The Rolling Stones remind us, “We get what we need,” in their song You Can’t Always Get What You Want! So, once we stop peering over the fence at our neighbors’ gatherings, we can count our own blessings, review our stockpiles, and say, “Hmm. Not bad. Not bad at all!”
It’s time to take off the rose-colored glasses and see things as they are! We often refuse to clearly see and sometimes squint when the blinding lights of truth roll upon us.
Perhaps, like a stingray, the truth hurts too much. It is easier to flap down our blinders as commercial horses do and pretend that the painful affronts are simply not happening in real-time.
Our childhood brains hide and say, “How could this be?” Could anyone be this mean anddark-spirited?” Then, our second childhood self cries out the unanswerable question, “Why?”
After going through all of that, we safely remove stinger after stinger as reality slowly seeps into our cloudy glasses of water. We quietly admit that there were several red flags posted along the way though we did not want to see those traits flaring up along the journey.
After languishing a while and admitting the inevitable, we wipe our tears, stop shaking our heads and say, “Okay.” As Ray Charles said, “It is what it is.” Or, it may have been James Brown; but both men profoundly called life as each saw it.
We start pouring cleansing waters into our glasses darkly and begin walking towards the newness of life. We add a check mark by that subject matter and whisper “I get it.”
We calmly gather our things, move on and do not bother to look nor glance back. We sing a little happy tune under our breath filtered with the lyrics, “Your loss. My gain!”
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou
Take out the trash! It’s the end of 2020 and my best response is, “It’s been a lot!” Our cups runneth’ over. And the unfortunate part is that we have an overflow of darkness this year.
Time to sort it out just like we separate the lights from the darks before washing our clothes. We put the darks in one pile and the lights in another. We could, in this case, call the dark items things to release or even call them garbage for they need to go out with the outgoing year.
Darkness include dark thoughts, painful experiences or even a series of unfortunate events. Sometimes, they are opaque and hard to detect like in bowling. Just when we think that we have hit a strike there stands that hidden pin to burst our bubbles. We know that we still have more work to do.
We must turn on all of the lights as we clean and locate that hidden dirt deep down in the corners and crevices of our minds. We have to turn on that spotlight to make sure that we have swooped up all of the darkness to add to our trash piles.
Then, we should do a second check. Are there any unseen barnacles trying to attach themselves to the bottom of our boats as we embark upon the new year? Well, we will have none of that!
No more free rides and extra weight to bow us down! Now take out the trash! Make it a ceremonious event if need be, but get it done! Then, breathe. Let out a big sigh of relief and get ready to walk into 2021, as we put ourselves Number One on our lists!
Have you been naughty or nice in 2020? I know. I know. You think you’re too old to ask yourselves this question, but whether you are 7 or 77, it is still pertinent today! Yes, this year has been a doozy but how do you think you fared? When you think about Santa’s question, it basically refers to how you treated others.
Were you mean or curt in your dealings with others in some instances? Or were you mean or curt with others on several occasions? In this narcissistic, selfie world, did you focus on your needs, your wants and your desires while stepping on others like cobblestones on paved streets? Did you pilfer from others or accept things from others without returning a simple thank you?
Well, if you recognize yourself here, then Santa would label you as being a naughty person. Hmm. That could mean that your gifts might be limited because you unconsciously created some bad karma. You might find yourself crying “Boo- Hoo,” like the Grinch.
Or were you rather nice this year on a few or in several situations? During this ever-reaching pandemic which has touched all points of the globe, did you reach out to others around you? Did you give a comforting phone call or send a text filled with soothing words to hurting family members or friends? Did you share a podcast or a link to some reassuring music to lift someone’s spirit?
Did you add an emoji to share emotions, drop some lines of wisdom or even risk it and hug someone in deep despair? Did you pay a bill or buy groceries for someone less fortunate than you? Did you volunteer at a food pantry when you had nothing else to give but your helping hands?
Well, if you did any of these things, then you conducted acts of kindness and you will indeed fall into the nice category. Yes, your returns will come forth pressed down, shaken together and running over. Your joy will be full because you applied The Golden Rule. You did to others what you would have them do to you. Santa would like that at any age. There is still time to sprinkle in more acts of kindness as you help others and mostly help yourself!
I recently attended my first Zoom Writers’ Conference and I recall one writer’s comment while speaking to the audience. She mentioned that she reread something that she had written and could not believe that she had actually written it!
I also revisited one of my first books, Traveling Streams: A Reflective Journey and some of the writings are over twenty years old. I sat at the lake and reread my own writings and like her, I was entertained as if I was experiencing this for the first time. I inaudibly asked, “Did I write this?” Then, I thought, “I must have really been in the zone!”
I relived each setting and scene that I described in the book as I was reconnected with those events from the past. As the dots connected like points in a maze, I silently bowed my head with a host of affirmative yeps, amens and checks as I agreed with every word.
When we successfully capture what occurred while inviting others in to take a vicarious excursion with us, then we have truly written from memory and recollection. In a trance-like state, we have unleashed our trains of thought and filled up the page with choice words.
If we are lucky, others have packed their bags and traveled with us while we were deeply transfixed on our intentions. They were both mesmerized and entertained and we as writers have found our purpose as we shared while in the zone!