“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” ~ Bette Midler
Yesterday was an unusually clear, bright sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest. The temps reached almost 50F.
After an incredibly long, rainy, windy, and exhausting week, I promised myself to do less, putter more and to rest this weekend. This translated into raking leaves, then stringing some early holiday lights on the front bushes.
What I didn’t expect was a few neighbors to come over and chat from an exceptionally safe distance.
It was delightful to laugh, share and listen to each other as we described our personal at-home-craziness and how we were coping.
We joked about how many people were decorating early for the upcoming holidays.
I added, “this is the first year I’ve ever put lights up so soon and yet I really needed to get outside and do something special.”
Neighbor A: “Everything is different but one thing I’ve been doing is treating myself to a weekly latte.” She shared as if confessing. “Sometimes the drive thru takes forever, but I need to get out of the house!”
Neighbor B: “I’ve finally had time to catch-up on movies and read more books, but I also love working from home. It’s easier than dealing with traffic.”
We kept volleying our comments back and forth, nodding and understanding each other.
There’s a side of me that loves to be creative. Let’s call her Ms. Creative. She’s passionate about writing, poetry, and music. A passion that dips, slips, and feels into the smallest canary-lined tunnels seeking creative air to breathe.
On the other hand, there’s a side of me that’s extremely practical. Let’s call her the obvious. Ms. Practical.
She has a clipboard (old school) with a schedule and lists. There’s a list for work, home, groceries and even a writing list of ideas that she somehow starts, then stops, and pushes those ideas aside.
When Ms. Creative and Ms. Practical meet up, it’s not always pretty. Ms. Creative is flowy. However, Ms. Practical must have order. The only flow, for Ms. Practical, is in her Excel charts.
“Pies are not for eating but for graphing!”
Ms. Practical is also demanding.
“Ms. Creativity, what is your end point?”
Last weekend I was going through a particularly rough patch about love and relationships. I was asking myself, when will I be with someone special and have a deep, intimate relationship?
That’s when I noticed a small book tucked on a shelf titled “How to Love” by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
The first passage I read was off the charts spine tingly.
"Everyone of us is seeking emotional intimacy. We want to have real communication, mutual understanding, and communion. We want to be in harmony with someone."
Don’t you just love when the universe gives a supportive message?
It’s like a little high five from the universe. Yo! I’ve got your back. Here, read this. It’ll help.
The synchronicity was bittersweet.
How do we regroup psychologically and emotionally during political times where the chaos feels endless? For example, after watching the first US presidential debate, I was emotionally triggered and exhausted.
Our daily news is full, real, and intense.
Here are some strategies to help you regroup. Tryout a few and adjust these suggestions to fit your needs.
Ultimately, taking care of yourself is extremely important.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde
#1. Acknowledge you have been triggered. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are feeling is wrong, silly, childish and to ‘get over it.’ Quick fixes and denial of your emotions are shaming.
The other evening, I was washing the dinner dishes and I glanced outside. What caught my eye was the colors of the sky when this ditty of inspiration came through.
“The clouds are ancient this evening. Alabaster and pink on a slate-gray sky. They stopped to say, hello. Are you okay? Close your eyes. Let’s stay here for a few and hold onto a piece of quiet. Just you and me and the earth, soaking up needed soul rays so you can stay close with the heartbeat of love and truth.”
Some of my best thought streams, come in when I’m doing the everyday stuff.
It’s a wide-open zone of receiving limitless ideas, without walls and rules and it flows freely.
Some of those ideas work and others don’t. Some pieces feel too way-out-there but some are exquisitely juicy. So much so, that I get goose bumps.
Sometimes, I’ll know exactly what I want to write and other days I struggle. Ideas aren’t always neat little entities.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."