How’s everybody doing?
A little bit of this?
A touch of this?
Yeah; I hear you.
I’m not sure what to say. I could reiterate my own outrage; I could talk about fascism; I could point you to this excellent (and, yes, frightening) article by David Frum (uh huh, that David Frum, who used to write speeches for W.) and this other one which outlines why what we’re watching might actually be the beginnings of a coup.
But you’re probably up to date; likely you know a lot of that. So, maybe all I can offer – and I want to offer something, I want to say something – is some of the advice I’ve been giving myself (because believe me when I tell you that I *suck* at self-care) through the past difficult times, compounded so recently by the world-crazy.
So, here we go…
One. Don’t be so damned hard on yourself. This is your life. You’re a grown-up. You’re going to do what you want anyway, so why be so mean to yourself about it?
Two. Find opportunities for meaning. This is an Eric-Maisel-y way of saying: do the stuff you love. Knitting (yes!), writing (although, yeah, when it’s riskier, it can be harder to start but try telling yourself, “ten minutes” and then go for as long as you want), welding, baking, throat singing, whatever.
Three. Try not to question the relevance of the things that you want to make. We need more beauty, more wisdom, more authentic expression in the world, not less. If you create from your heart and with attention, you will tap into the universal, and that will speak to everyone. If you feel this guilt-pull that you suddenly should be writing about ‘world issues’ rather than your grandmother, question it thoroughly. Create what you most want to create, no matter what.
Four. Get outside and/or get some exercise. Yes, it’s twenty-below out. Bundle up and take the dog for a walk. You’ll feel better afterwards: fresh air, nature, moving the blood.
Five. Find opportunities for meaning that involve other people – otherwise, you’ll become a hermit who only speaks to people through the Internet, with your fingertips, about terrible things, and down that road lies, to be blunt, depression. Lately I’ve been thinking about organizing a pot-luck series or hosting a Crappy Dinner Party.
Six. Read. Many of us have never been here before and by here, I mean on the verge of what feels potentially like world war three or maybe just a bizarre dystopian-tinted era. Stories have that ability to help us learn how to cope with circumstances that seem unimaginable, to build empathy for others (like refugees) and, yes, to comfort us. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is a book my brain keeps returning to lately, and right now I’m reading The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, about Shostakovich’s difficult life under Stalin (how fitting).
Seven. Sleep. Let your dreams help you process. And if you can’t sleep, find tools (massage, lavender-scented baths, pills) to help you out for awhile.
What have I missed? For my sake, and for others, please share what you’d add to this list.