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Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. It’s official. The last walk we took this week I have no pictures because it was dark the entire time. The first walk we took, we left a half hour later than usual and there was just enough light towards the end that I got some pictures, mostly likely the last set of true fall pictures because we are supposed to get snow this weekend and the wind has blown most of the leaves off the trees. We saw deer on all our walks, a beaver on one and two baby raccoons on another, which were all very exciting for Ringo.

2. All the people working so hard to put out the fires that are burning. This could apply to so much right now, but in particular those fighting the massive fires here in Colorado and those supporting them as well as all the people and animals having to evacuate. May the forecasted snow and cooler weather help. May everyone, animals and humans, get somewhere safe.

3. All the things helping me keep it together. This moment in time is fraught and there are so many things to make me feel scared, sad, tired. I am so grateful for all the things supporting me, comforting me, some of which are: the pool, the sauna, massage, good food, good podcasts, good books, good TV, naps, texting with friends and family, hugging Eric, cuddling and playing with Ringo, practice.

Ringo’s play strategy is first get the toy and casually drop it in front of the person, acting like he doesn’t even care. If this doesn’t work, stare intently at said person. If this still doesn’t work, start making direct demands to “play with me!”

4. Babies. There are two new ones in our family, and as I was shopping online for something to send to welcome them, I felt a particular gratitude for the way they represent a possible future, for the potential they represent, not to mention how stinking cute they are.

5. My tiny family. The kitchen counter love notes Eric leaves (that inspired a friend to try leaving some of his own), the chocolate cake he made me, hugging him, how the cold weather makes Ringo more willing to cuddle, that we are together and safe.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: I am still in the midst of burnout. Or maybe I was out and now I’m back in? I had started to feel better in spring, early summer even, but I’m finding myself back in the weeds: physical and emotional exhaustion, poor performance and feeling unaccomplished, cynicism and detachment — all the markers of burnout. I thought I was getting better, and probably was, then: COVID-19, Eric started working from home in my office so my “office” was my laptop at the kitchen table, I lost my yoga teaching gig, we canceled our trip to visit family we haven’t seen in over a year and don’t know now when we’ll see them again or if they’ll all still be there, Sam died, Angela died, the biggest wild fire Colorado has ever had burned (is burning) within 25 miles of our house, and I’m trying to prepare myself for if we have to live under the current administration for another four years. Hello, burnout. Time to return my attention back to learning as much as I can and healing this particular dis-ease. 

2. Truth: Burnout is similar to the Buddhist teachings on the three types of laziness. Adreanna Limbach gives the best description I ever heard of them, says the three types are: having a lack of vision, speedy business, and disheartenment. We forget our intention, why we’ve said “yes” to something in the first place, lose our sense of purpose, and this can make us feel stuck, apathetic. Or, in a culture which sees productivity as a virtue, we fill up our time doing things that aren’t in line with our vision, our intention, our mission, and we treat busyness as a badge of honor. And finally, we might feel unworthy or disappointed in our efforts and lose patience, maybe even give up.

3. Truth: It’s hard to keep going not knowing when/if things will get better. I was trying to describe what this feels like this morning while I was writing in my journal and I came up with this: the current moment feels like running a marathon of unknown length in extreme weather with a mountain lion chasing you. It’s hard to pace yourself when there is no clear end in sight and additional dangers and complications are constantly arising. I absolutely will allow myself to feel some relief and even joy if the election goes the way I’d like it to even knowing all the work there still is to do to turn things around, and I can’t help but be wary remembering four years ago when I was so sure there would be a different outcome, and for the four years that followed, watching the level of dishonesty, abuse, and violence rise as the efforts that had been made to protect the resources we need to survive were dismantled.

One wish: We are holding space for so much, making so much effort, and doing so is tiring, disappointing, but I’m not giving up, and I hope you won’t either. Even if this ship is going down, staying connected, comforting each other as we give it everything we have, all the love and the effort — if we are together, helping and loving each other, we’ll be okay even if we fail.

I shared this in my last Something Good post, and I feel like it’s worth sharing again, says what I’m trying to say:

Every action I’ve ever taken, and ever will take, and every action that has been taken for me, creates an energy that expands out into the entire universe. And energy can never be destroyed, but only transformed, so even after I die, the energy of every good thing I’ve done and every good thing done for me will continue to ripple out forever, into eternity. There it will exist for everyone, always. ~God’s Promise by Elana Miller

Don’t give up, kind and gentle reader. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open. ❤