Off The Hook

I started writing a different blog entry today. I’ve been on a weekly blogging streak since the end of November and felt compelled to get something out today. But the piece I was writing got so bogged down in heavy questions, without a lot of satisfying answers, so I left it for another day.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to do that. I’d have forced myself to plod along miserably until I’d made my point and finished my task. But, life is short, time is precious, and I decided it’s ok to let myself off the hook once in a while. It’s one small step in learning to take better care of myself.

What about you? When was the last time you let yourself off the hook for something? With no guilt allowed? Beating yourself up for what you haven’t done is highly overrated, you know. Nobody wins.

So, instead, I’ll say: It’s Sunday afternoon, the last day of February. The snow cover outside is shrinking, and I actually saw green daffodil tips poking out of an exposed patch of garden earlier. Spring is coming. And I’m good with that. 🙂

A Lengthening Of Days

Lent. Literally, the lengthening of sun-hours each day as we emerge from the darkness of winter. Light emerges from darkness, and in Lent we acknowledge the darkness of both individual struggles and societal difficulties.

The whole world is emerging, slowly, from the dark grip of a pandemic. We share in this global experience, yet we each have our individual challenges, ones that may have been thrust into focus by the shifting tide of what “normalcy” means. For some, life has become an overwhelming daily battle on the front lines of this disease. For others, it’s been a time of withdrawal, swallowing losses in rapid succession. For some, it’s become a season of reflection and assessment. A friend recently confessed to me that it’s given her time to reflect on her use of time. And I think that’s worth looking at.

How did you and I spend our time before this pandemic hit? Were our activities rewarding and fulfilling? Did we make time for things that we professed to be important? Or were we overwhelmed with busy-ness? Have you had time to ask yourself how things might be different as you emerge from the isolation of quarantining and social distancing? I know it’s a question I need to ask myself. If we take a moment to be quiet, away from distractions, and really face that question, are we brave enough to listen for the answers? If we are, the answers are there, I believe. God speaks in that quiet. And if you don’t believe in God, the quiet will answer anyway. God, or the deep truth that lives in the stillness at the center of who you are, will offer guidance. The challenge is being willing to listen. This is light emerging from darkness. This is what it means to live a Lenten journey.

Gratitude Spiral: Day 365

Today, I’m grateful for Thanksgiving Day and the completion of a year of traveling the Spiral path of Gratitude.

It began on Thanksgiving Day 2019 and has come, day by day, to Thanksgiving Day 2020. As I stated in the first Gratitude Spiral post, I wanted “to come around to gratitude over and over again, but be moved forward or outward, like a spiral.” I was aiming for a new place. A more grateful and appreciative place. And I think that’s where I’ve landed. What about you?

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 352

Today, I’m grateful for my mental health.

It hasn’t always been as strong as it is today, but I’m grateful that I’ve found ways to improve it. I’m thankful that when I wake up in the morning, I want to get out of bed, and when things don’t go the way I want them to, I can usually find ways to cope. It hasn’t always been this way. So, I’m thankful today.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 335

Today, I’m grateful for opportunities to exercise indoors.

Some days are too rainy or cold or just too miserable outside for me to convince myself to go out for a morning walk. On those days, I appreciate the workouts I can find on tv and the treadmill in my basement. They leave me with little excuse not to exercise. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 324

Today, I’m grateful for the fact that my small everyday problems are mere inconveniences and not life-threatening or horrific or traumatic in any way. I’m blessed with so many things and people and experiences, and it’s important to keep that healthy perspective in the midst of this difficult year. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 321

Today, I’m grateful for time spent outdoors this past weekend.

Something about being outdoors can lift your spirits and lighten any darkness you might be carrying around. This time of year, a brisk walk, taking in the views of changing foliage, can be the best medicine for the soul. I’m grateful for taking time to do just that.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 313

Today, I’m grateful for waking without an alarm yesterday morning.

Today is Monday, so we’re back to using an alarm, but yesterday was a pleasant experience, opening my eyes to discover the early morning light. No jarring extraction from a half-finished dream or interruption of a sleep cycle. Something to look forward to next weekend, I hope. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 311

Today, I’m grateful for flowers in my kitchen.

I bought them for myself. Grocery shopping is not a pleasant task for me, made more uncomfortable by the Covid-19 pandemic. Feeling like I needed a pick-me-up the other day, I chose a deep red bouquet just for me. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 307

Today, I’m grateful for yesterday’s neck massage.

I realize that getting a massage is a luxury to many, and an inaccessible impossibility for others. But after adding it to my regular self-care regimen, then missing it for about seven months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and finally enjoying one yesterday, I’ve come to believe it should be part of everyone’s routine healthcare. We’d all be in better shape for the extra blood flow to our muscles and beta endorphin to our brains. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?