For many of us the COVID experience has pared us down, peeled back layers, and honed us in on values and priorities. For me during this time of isolation from society at-large, I’ve come to more deeply appreciate simple human connection.
I live in a quiet neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac and quite simply it is “neighbor Nirvana” and I feel so lucky to be here. We get quite a few joggers and dog walkers in our little hood.
The central feature of my front yard is a lovely flowering crabapple tree. She is currently bare for winter. Well, not totally bare, because I just converted her into “Gratitude Tree.” I placed a bunch of small wood rounds in a basket and invited neighbors and passers-by to write what they are grateful for, drop the round back in the basket and I’ll hang it on the tree.
It’s gotten a great response. Some of the gratitudes so far include:
- Family, the best support during this crazy year
- My health!
- Baby Anders — our first kiddo
- My Job
- Magic in 2021
My own gratitudes included Mother Earth, John, Jonathan, my awesome neighbors, and my home.
I just love finding new gratitude discs in the basket or seeing someone stopped out front writing out their blessing. It’s even sweeter because the rounds are from logs my dear friend dropped off sometime back because she no longer has a wood stove. And, my neighbor, who’s a skilled woodworker, sawed them into rounds and drilled the hang holds for me. My tall son brought his big ladder over and he hangs the really tall ones for me.
It’s all just simple, lovely human connection, and I am certainly grateful for that.
What would you hang on Gratitude Tree?
PS, the tree is really cool when the wind is blowing a bit — the whole thing looks like a hanging mobile. You can see a video on my Facebook page.
Do you find yourself feeling like you’re waiting, waiting, …. ? Waiting to see what happens with the COVID-19 situation. Waiting to see what will happen with our kids getting back to school. Waiting to see what is going to happen with your job, with the next stimulus package, with the overall economy. Maybe even waiting to see what will happen with a loved one who is ill, hospitalized. Will there be a vaccine? When? When can my family get it? And, what is going to happen with the upcoming election? Wow.
It really is a surreal time we are in. I found myself in a waiting pattern, having many of the questions above and also waiting for my home re-fi to go through, waiting for word on a teaching job I’ve been working on like crazy.
One morning I woke feeling the wait and weight of it all. Sipping my coffee in the quiet, the thought popped into my mind, “Waiting keeps us from being.” That landed! I had been so focused on the waiting I had been missing a whole lot of magic rolling out around me – the baby birds fledging from the knotholes in my juniper tree; the sunflowers across the street coming into full beauty, the once in a generation times of change all around me. All the time we spend waiting for the future, waiting for the next thing, waiting for rescue, we are missing what is happening right now. And, we are missing our opportunity to play a vital part in it.
The truth is all of life is lived in the present moment. Our thoughts may run to future and past, but our experiences are right now. And, we have immense power in what we make of them. We can notice the beauty or not. Beauty is always there. We can express love or not. Love is always there.
As we are all dealing with these crazy COVID times with uncertainty on many fronts, I truly hope you will make it a point to come into the present moment as often as possible, to actually LIVE each moment of life, centered in living fully, as things swirl around us. There is no end to the magic before you if you choose to choose to be present to it.
These are indeed wild times and I urge you to stay focused on the beauty in the midst of the uncertainty and change.
You can find tips for handling uncertainty and coming into the present moment in my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.
Here are a couple podcast interviews I have done recently that may be of interest: