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Being present

I find I'm having a hard time staying on task lately. I'm sure it's a combination of our collective malaise due to the pandemic and social turbulence due to our recent election. Intellectually, I know it will pass and I'll be fine. We'll all be okay. But mentally, emotionally, it's like erosion. So, I turn to the little things that I've surrounded myself with in my work space that make me happy; or remind me of what's important; or inspire me to do better.

There's a photo of my husband and me at a picnic at my sister's house from 20+ years ago that I love. A funny "Happy 100th Birthday" card he gave me one year with his signature style underlines, double underlines, funny faces and more. I have other photos, too. One of me and my only two girl cousins from about a year ago when the one who lives in Iowa was here for a family wedding. Another of me -- a black and white in a very small frame designed to hang as a Christmas tree ornament -- with my parents, brothers and sisters taken on Easter Sunday in 1960. My youngest sister wasn't even born yet, and three of them in that picture are gone now.

I have a handwritten note (Dearest Meg, Thinking of you, With love, G), a little card from a co-worker that says I love what you do, a tea bag tab with a saying -- "The finest pleasure is kindness to others." -- Jean de La Bruyere. There are other snippets of inspiration: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." -- Annie Dillard or "Do not | Pray for understanding |What |Is. Pray for gratitude |No matter |What |Is." Renae Edge (a friend, poet and college professor) or "And, life itself told me this secret: 'Behold,' it said. 'I am that which must overcome itself again and again.'" -- Friedrich Nietzsche.

There's Joseph Campbell and Rumi and Wendy MacNaughton. There's our certificates of appreciation from the Red Cross for volunteering in NYC after 9/11 and piles of poetry books and lots of art supplies. There's the I Love That You're My Sister sign that one of my sisters gave me that makes me think of her and then all the rest of them. There are angels, a Christmas cactus about to bloom and my ukulele.

There is all this and more and it's enough to remind me that everything will be okay. I feel better now. I will be okay. You will too.


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