Today, we spend so much of our time looking down. We are attached to multiple devices that keep our heads down to look at the screen and absorb the content or messages being sent to us. The responsibilities and troubles of life weigh us down. How many people are holding their head in their hands and sighing over one problem or another worry. Sometimes we need to lift our heads, take a deep breath and look toward the horizon. I know that I can never reach the horizon. It is permanently ahead of me and moving further away. Yet, looking toward the horizon shifts my perspective to the hope of the future. Take a moment today to gaze at the horizon and imagine what could be.
A night light is designed to work in the dark. The primary use of a night light is to comfort children who are afraid of the dark. I think faith is like a night light. Faith is also designed to work in the dark. When the darkness descends upon us from the difficulties of life, we forget to turn on the light. No matter how large or dark a room, the smallest light or candle will shine in that room. The light always overtakes the darkness. One of the ways that I turn on the light is to listen to music that inspires me or gives me hope. The next time you find yourself facing the darkness, turn on one of your favorite night lights.
I am facing multiple challenges. Some are things I need to attend to. Others are things that I need to change. The challenges can feel like mountains to me even if they look like small hills to some one else. Taking that first small step and then another and another is how I tackle the mountains in my life.
Are you feeling vulnerable lately? Do you find yourself uncertain about the present and wary about the future? Do you have that unsettled feeling that another shoe could drop at any moment? Are you raising your fist in defiance against one opponent or another, wile fighting to keep your own angst in check?
Feeling a bit unhinged is the result of the last few stressful months. For many of us, admit it, life was not all that great before Covid-19 hit. We started 2020 with a resolve to keep working on getting it all together. Then, it all fell apart around us. 2020 became the year we were falling off a cliff, slowly.
Many spaces in my life are now empty. I live in downtown Chicago. When I walked around in the middle of the shelter in place order, vast amounts of the once vibrant city were completely still. Just as plans were being made to reopen, the aftermath of the looting left block after block boarded up. The landscape of my neighborhood is changed.
Businesses are opening here. Illinois moved into Phase Three. Then the virus started spiking around the country. I know that I need to co-exist with Covid 19, but it feels uncomfortable. I do not want to accept masks and social distancing as a permanent new normal.
Like many Americans, I suffer from underlying conditions that make Covid-19 a risky proposition for me. I know I am not able to return to my life as it was in February. I am unsure of what type of life I should expect in the months ahead.
As an African American woman, I am still grappling with the devastation of George Floyd’s death. The world-wide call for action against police brutality was unprecedented. Yet, I am struggling to understand the way forward for our nation. I want to be part of making a more perfect Union, but I do not know how. I am still grappling with a path forward for my own social activism. The benefit of living a long time is realizing how little you know, how much work is left to do, and how the generations behind you will lead the way.
Human beings do not have a built-in reset button. Instead, we have a stubborn attachment to the status-quo and an inherent longing to relive the past. These qualities make it hard to quickly create a bold new future. Perhaps this is one reason Covid-19 has us so unhinged. What we do have, as human beings, and what I count on, is a deep reservoir of hope. We share the ability to commit to our success individually and as communities. We have an ability to strive for things that may not come about in our lifetime and the will to fight risky battles we may not see won.
Am I feeling vulnerable? Most definitely. So, I turn my eyes to the horizon, dream of the world as it should be and work for that reality.
The beginning of the year starts with an emphasis on reflecting and planning. We were all planning to have perfect vision for 2020. We are well into this new year. Our lives are once again filled up with busy schedules, problems to solve and for some of us, crises to deal with.
Our daily lives can become jammed packed. We are sandwiched between obligations at work, commitments to family and concerns about loved ones we are responsible for. Our time to reflect and take an inventory of our well being can be squeezed out. We suffer in the long term if we do not build in time for ourselves in the short term.
I recently needed to reduce my activities because of the coronavirus. I am in several high-risk groups. I have a severely compromised immune system. I hated to admit I was in the category described as high-risk. Who wants to self-identify as old? A bout with pneumonia last year reminded me of how fast and hard I go down from an infectious disease. I am grateful for the time to slow down and catch my breath. I am using the slower pace and time at home to reflect on this year and what lies ahead.
I can go weeks, and even months, without taking the time to journal . I know how much it helps me to sort through my emotions or address problems I need to face. Yet, like many things that are good for me, I neglect writing in my journal.
It can be really helpful to pull out your calendar, or open your calendar app, and schedule a meeting with yourself. That’s right put ME in a time slot on the calendar. You can also schedule where you will meet with yourself. Is there a coffee shop or indoor garden you really like?
Schedule a two or three hour block of time to reflect and journal. I find when I go 60 to 90 days out, there is nothing on my schedule. Me time is necessary time. Schedule that needed break today.