Here Comes Another Year, but Not a New Year: How to Make Yours Happy

As the holiday season winds down and 2021 exhales its last breath, we look ahead to 2022. With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 exploding across the entire United States and many other countries, however, 2022 doesn’t feel like progress or offer a whole lot of happiness. It’s another year, but not a new year. The imprints of 2020 and 2021 cling like droplets on our masks—invisible when we ignore them, debilitating when they invade. How are you protecting your body and nourishing your spirit? As we reflect—yet again—on the upheaval in our daily lives, the relentless cycles of loss, and the uncertainty for tomorrow, can’t we also seek the flickering flame deep within our solar plexus? [...]

2021-12-31T08:53:08-05:00December 31st, 2021|Categories: 2022, COVID-19, Pandemic, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |

Standing at Water’s Edge – Again

  Shutterstock by Jayakumar As the Omicron coronavirus variant precipitously surfaces in South Africa, Hong Kong, Europe, and the Middle East, our global collective once again finds ourselves standing at water’s edge and wondering where the heck the horizon ends and the living begins. As my memoir, Standing at Water’s Edge, launches out into the world this week, I am reminded of how derailed we can feel by the uncertainty and loss of control as we face yet another new and potentially virulent variant. This recurrent narrative isn’t a sci-fi story; it’s yet another reminder to face our fears, let go of our expectations, and pay attention to the moment. But how? It starts [...]

What books are you reading this month? How do you choose?

Photo by author   October is National Book Month, and NaNoWriMo starts November 1. I thought it was just me who had books on my mind. October's Hot New Releases   Have you read any new fall book releases? So many highly anticipated books, including Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land and Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway. Both books follow the authors’ award-winning success of All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr, 2014) and one of my all-time favorites, A Gentleman in Moscow (Towles, 2016). All the Light We Cannot See won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, spent almost four years on The New York Times Bestseller List, and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Netflix is [...]

Standing at Water’s Edge: Reflecting on the Past, Paying Attention to the Present

Years after my son completed treatment for leukemia, I stood at the ocean shore as dusk descended with unexpected swiftness. Blackness blanketed the bay, and I felt the same fear and isolation I'd experienced that first fretful night in the hospital. I peered into the darkness, expecting the horizon to orient me, searching for the line demarcating sky and water, insight and perspective, when suddenly the waves surged up over my knees, throwing me off balance. In my determined effort to find a beacon, I'd forgotten to pay attention to the moment. (adapted, Standing at Water's Edge: A Cancer Nurse, Her Four-Year-Old Son and the Shifting Tides of Leukemia). It's easy to get wrapped up in [...]

As the Seasons Change, So Must We

Photo by author So, how was your summer? Did you get away from your routines and responsibilities and do something you enjoy? Or were you happy to stay home and catch up on projects that felt good after they were finished, if not necessarily enjoyable in the process? Perhaps some of each.   Alas, the iconic Minnesota State Fair end-of-summer-get-together started this week, meteorological summer ends August 31, and kids are getting ready to go back to school and college. Well, some kids, at some schools, in some states. With all the pandemic uncertainty of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, who knows what rules schools will institute (and parents will concur with) over the next [...]

Looking Back, Moving Forward; Cleaning Out, Letting Go

Shutterstock by Maren Winter; Desperate woman behind stacks of binders and flying papers           What clutters your office or basement? Are your files electronic or paper? Letting go of the past creates space for the new.    Cleaning out my office was one of my summer goals. After twenty years of working from home, I want to paint, get a new desk, and be able to navigate my space without assaulting my fragile shins on file boxes stacked three deep. I don’t mind organized clutter; I know where everything is; I just can’t access it easily. And now that my memoir is coming out (date still pending), I want space—in [...]

2021-07-30T15:32:17-04:00July 30th, 2021|Categories: Expectations, Letting Go, Psychology|Tags: , , , , |

Change Is In the Air

It’s summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, almost half of Americans are fully vaccinated, and we’re ready to play. Is there fun in your future? Photo by Jess Zoerb on Unsplash Happy Summer Solstice and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads! It’s Midsummer, and for the first time in many years in the upper Midwest, it feels as if summer really is in full swing. The temp has been in the upper 90s, the grass and fields are parched, and people are cramming the airports and snatching up last-minute cabin and rental car reservations. Or so I’ve heard from family and friends. What plans do you have for this northern hemisphere glorious summer? [...]

Making Sense of Chaos: How our Brain and Immune System Respond to COVID-19 and Stress

Socrates contemplating, By Anastasios71 on Shutterstock COVID-19 and emotional stress trigger inflammatory immune responses. And then our brain changes. It does matter what we think and how we process events in our life. What has your month been like? Were you able to focus on something important to you or do something fun and energizing? Did you accomplish what you intended to this month? My May 1 calendar note read, “Make sense of chaos.” I don’t remember what was going on astrologically to trigger this directive, but this was the month’s message for me. I set out with intention. A year ago in May, we lived in a peak of uncertainty with rising COVID-19 [...]

When Life Interferes with Expectations

Photo by Anoir Chafik on Unsplash When life interferes with expectations, reflect and regroup, and then put one foot in front of the other with purpose and direction. Trust that you will find your way. Expectations After almost four months of not walking outside, I spontaneously slip out of my sheepskin-lined slippers and into my tennis shoes, grab a windbreaker and my house key, and confidently walk out the door. As I carefully step up onto the parkway trail across the street from my house, I take a deep breath and inhale the damp spring air. The trees bordering the spring-fed pond are just starting to bud; polka dots of green splatter the barren, [...]

Why Some People Won’t Get Vaccinated and How to Fix That – Guest Post by Brennan R. White

Today’s guest post is by Podcaster Brennan R. White @Explainthenews. To listen to the podcast, go to Podcasts - Explain The News. Vaccine hesitancy, istock photo With COVID-19 vaccination rates falling for the first time, and supply beginning to outpace demand in the United States, the quest for herd immunity is getting more difficult. Twenty percent of the country is reportedly hesitant—but potentially willing—to get vaccinated. What are their reservations, and what will help them overcome their hesitancy? As of today, 54 percent of adults in the United States have received at least one vaccine dose, and 37 percent are fully vaccinated. Recent polling suggests that just 60 percent want to get vaccinated, so [...]

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