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 [...]

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, [...]

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My: Overcoming Distractions and Fears

Shutterstock by Francey, Wizard of Oz Yellow Brick Road in a Dark and Spooky Forest In the 1939 classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, the Tin Man, and Scarecrow confront their fears in the dark and scary forest as they travel along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Witches and wild animals—and all sorts of imagined risks—lurk in the darkness. Lion jumps out and reminds them they need courage, along with a brain and a heart. Together, arms linked, they set off on the path to reach their individual goals. Were you missing any of these essential comrades on your journey through 2020? Did you make informed decisions, connect to your [...]

2021-01-18T11:06:16-05:00January 18th, 2021|Categories: 2021, Health, Psychology, Resilience, Survival|Tags: , , , , |

A Season of Hope

Unsplash by Jaanus Jagomagi The United Kingdom began vaccinating for coronavirus this week as the United States and Canada approved emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and prepared to protect healthcare workers and vulnerable adults in long-term care settings. It took monumental effort to develop and produce a vaccine and conduct Phase I, II, and III clinical trials in less than a year. There is hope for a safer tomorrow. And here in the Northern Hemisphere, we look to the skies for the aurora borealis and anticipate the winter solstice with its subtle yet convincing reversal to longer and lighter days. Even the planets get in the game, with Jupiter and Saturn aligning close [...]

2020-12-13T11:51:50-05:00December 13th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19, Hope, Resilience|Tags: , , , , |

Is your head listening to your heart? Think from other dimensions

Shutterstock by Peshkova My twin died six years ago this week. His death was sudden, unexpected, a surprise to us all. He thought he had our paternal grandparents’ genes—Grandpa died after a stroke at 97 and Grandma (92) died suddenly four months later, after telling us grandkids that she couldn’t live without Grandpa. No one really thought about our maternal gene pool; both of those grandparents died before we were born. It’s natural to cling to what we know and what we want to believe. We create our own reality in our mind. Our head often ignores or overrides what our heart tries to tell us. Closing our mind closes off our heart. Despite [...]

Keeping Perspective in a Changing World

Sculpture of girl's face evoking past and present, familiar and unfamiliar. Mark Manders, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN This week, the world surpassed 33 million cases of COVID-19 and 1 million deaths, with 7 million cases and 205,000 deaths in the United States. With just over 4 percent of the world’s population, the U.S has almost 21 percent of the global cases of COVID-19. How do we make sense of all these numbers? One million deaths are hard to comprehend and impossible to relate to, unless, I imagine, you’ve been on the frontline caring for thousands who take their last breath on your shift. As a data person and researcher, I’ve been watching the [...]

2020-10-01T18:40:19-04:00September 30th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19, Resilience|Tags: , , , , |

Living through COVID-19: What are you reading?

What are you reading these days? Are you keeping up with news reports tracking COVID-19 cases, your ever-evolving state’s and country’s social distancing rules, and vaccine and treatment developments? Maybe you are tracking the stock market, financial fallout, and monitoring the impact of the coronavirus and demonstrations on cities, businesses, and importantly, black people’s lives. How do you manage this information onslaught, in addition to keeping up with developments and responsibilities related to your job, career, interests, and family? I want to stay informed, but I’m often overwhelmed with the constant updates streaming through my newsfeeds. I signed up for everything. It all seemed so relevant. And yet, so reactive. I now wonder what purpose all [...]

2020-06-14T16:31:38-04:00June 14th, 2020|Categories: Resilience, Stress|Tags: , , , , |

On identity: Who we are and who we are meant to be

In her memoir, Fairest, which debuted this week, Meredith Talusan dives deep into who she was, has become, and is now as she lives her chosen gender identity. She grew up an albino boy in a rural Philippine village, immigrated to America at age fifteen, graduated from Harvard University a gay man, and then transitioned as a woman. In an engaging and carefully crafted story, she navigates the reader through issues of race, class, sexuality, and love as she explores the intersection of her identities as a white-appearing immigrant and a gender-nonconforming person. We all struggle through life with defining who we are, who we want to be, and making choices to actualize our desires and [...]

2020-05-30T12:14:26-04:00May 30th, 2020|Categories: Resilience|Tags: , , , , , |
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