March 13th is the one year anniversary of when Governor Baker shut down the public schools and what feels like the “real” beginning of the changes to our rhythms and routines Covid-19 has wrought. And I’m feeling it. I’m usually a combination of Pooh-bear and Tigger, but am feeling more Eeyore-ish than I’m used to right now. If you’re not sure what that means, I strongly encourage all ages to read “Winnie the Pooh”, by A.A. Milne and adults can refresh with “The Tao of Pooh”, by Benjamin Hoff. Two works which instruct and inspire each time I read them. Sadly, I’m not feeling terribly inspired right now.
In sitting down to write this piece, I came up dry. Eeyore might say, “We can’t all, and some of us don’t.”
Though not new, it’s an unusual experience for me… I can usually find something of value or cheer to say. My “Weekly Prayers For…” seem to write themselves when I ask my mind and spirit to attend to the task. Perhaps it’s the gray March morning. Perhaps it’s the anniversary month of Covid-19. Perhaps I haven’t attended to “filling my tank” as I should; I’ve been pouring myself into the RE program knowing how much families are struggling and hoping to support them as much as I can… leaving myself a little low on fuel.
Self-care. This came up during our January webinar for families on “Covid-19 and Your Child’s Mental Health” (still available on the website!). It was listed among the Very Important things parents must do to support their children’s mental health… take care of themselves. It came up on Saturday in a UCC-sponsored webinar I attended called “Youth Ministry 101” – the leader held up a gas can and a pocket watch as an object lesson to remind us to fill our tanks and wind our watches. When he asked people to share their first impressions (before revealing his intended message of filling and winding), I volunteered and said, “Pouring gas on a fire? Time is like the fire?” That’s not a very good sign (and we all had a good laugh). I think it illustrates how important it is to find ways to nurture your spirit.
This means different things to different people. Music, art, walks in nature, exercise, reading, connecting with others, meditation, massage… these are a fraction of ways individuals renew themselves; feed themselves; take care of themselves. This comes easily for some. Either by their natures or through practice they are comfortable with making self-care a priority. For others of us, it is a struggle… or, let’s say, a skill that has yet to be fully acquired (never say never). It takes a little more effort to make the time. But it must be done, just like any other healthy practice we engage in to keep ourselves in tip-top form.
Today is a new day. Every day I wake up is another opportunity for growth. Today, just today, I’m going to set aside time to nourish my own spirit. I may be able to do it again tomorrow, but I won’t worry about that right now. Today is the day I have been given.
To begin, I think I’ll take my own advice and “return to Pooh Corner.” My well-worn copy of Pooh is around the house somewhere. I’m going to make some tea, find a cozy corner, and curl up with a good book.
(Prior to writing, and feeling “dry”, I thought I might put an old practice into use if inspiration failed me. I wrote the first two sentences of this piece intending to continue with, “So I used the old art of bibliomancy with a Bible I have here in my office…”. Bibliomancy is the practice of posing a question and having it answered by turning to a random page of text – usually sacred text. I planned to do that and write about whatever passage came up. I opened my Bible, found a random page, closed my eyes and pointed… to Job 14:7. “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.” The rest of my piece came from that spiritual snack… and there is enough to share. xo)