All That Remains

We are six women in our writing circle every Wednesday evening. Five American. One Canadian. Me. Yesterday, at the end of our hour and a half together, we spoke of these times and all they’ve brought, and all they’ve taken away.

The losses feel almost incomprehensible. As one of the women said last night, with over 350,000 deaths in the US and the numbers climbing, it is numbing.

It is. Yet, we cannot let it be. Numbing. For these are lives lived that are no more. Mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. Family members and friends. They may be strangers to me, but to someone their loss leaves an empty place that can never be filled.

As Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walked this morning in the brilliant sunshine, as we listened to the river crowding through the narrowing channels where ice is beginning to block its path, as I sipped my coffee at my desk and watched the squirrels play their constant game of tag along naked branches of the trees, I wondered how do you fill those empty places when the one who once was there is gone forever?

It feels fitting that as 2020 draws to its close and the calendar turns not just a page or month but into an entirely new year, that I spend some time reflecting upon those who will not be stepping into the new year.

And so, I offer this poem.

2021. High On Expectations

Bookmarks — alcohol inks on yupo paper

I originally titled this post – 2020! Need I say more?

But then I wondered… what if it’s not about 2020 anymore? (Which btw it isn’t when I look at the calendar)

What if it’s all about 2021? We (as in the entire planet) sure are expecting a lot from it.

How will it ever live up to our expectations? Especially, if as the saying goes, “Expectations are premeditated disappointments.”

Which got me thinking that perhaps the best thing I can do is to stay out of the field of expectations and instead, water the seeds of Love growing in the garden of my heart.

That garden is the one I must tend to, no matter the season, the times, the weather, the state of the world around me. No matter if Covid beats a hasty retreat and we are free to embrace one another again without fearing the worst, the state of the garden of Love in my heart keeps me rooted in grace and gratitude. It opens me up and brings me into the beauty of this moment in which I find myself breathing freely.

May the garden of your heart be full of beauty growing wild and free in all the colours of the rainbow. May you awaken to Love blossoming with every breath you take.

Christmas. Unplugged.

I am standing in the middle of the pedestrian bridge that spans the river connecting the east and west end of the city, just before the rolling plains leading to the foothills and the Rockies begin.

I can see where I was standing as I sit at my desk now.

It is early. The sky a grey covered cloudy blanket full of misty, snow-filled moisture.

The world is quiet. Calm. Serene.

There is no traffic on the separate vehicle bridge on the far side of the one on which I stand. No sign of pedestrians on this one either other than one bicycle track that had ploughed through the snow earlier than even my morning saunter.

I shake my head at the thought of someone riding their bike through the snow and am reminded of my friend J.H. who no matter the temperature or conditions, rides his bike everywhere. All year-round. We worked together for several years and some mornings when the wind was howling and the snow blowing, he would arrive at work looking like the Abominable Snowman. It never deterred him. It was one of the things he had to do to help save the planet, he said.

I helped save my sanity yesterday.

I unplugged. Mostly.

Other than FaceTime with my daughter and family, and a check in with La GrandeFamille in France and India via WhatsApp, I kept my online time to the bare minimum.

It was self-preservation. The Christmas blues lurked. Real close. And, without the excitement of preparing to receive family and friends for dinner, the slope into self-pity yawned before me with its alluring view into oblivion.

To keep myself from heeding its siren’s call, I kept myself out of the Christmas chatter that fills my Social Media feeds.

The messages are all so beautiful but yesterday, it kept reminding me of how different (and strange) this Christmas was.

I had awoken early. 4:30 am. At 5, when a girlfriend text to wish us Merry Christmas, I was still awake. I text back a few times and then lay in bed debating about getting up. At 6, my Auntie Maggy called from India. We laugh and chattered and when we hung up, I was wide-awake. I decided to get up.

I wandered through the house. Turned on Christmas lights and music. Bundled up and took Beamont the Sheepadoodle for an early morning wander.

The world was quiet. The sky midnight blue. The river flowed with its normal winter chatter. A Canada Goose honked somewhere in the dark.

The world was as it usually is early on a Christmas morning, though this was a very different kind of Christmas.

C.C. still made his Finnish pancakes but we packaged them up to deliver to his son and girlfriend who, because they live on her parents property would be having dinner in her family bubble.

We still cooked a turkey but instead of sharing it crowded around a table of family and friends, we packaged it up in the late afternoon and delivered it to my daughter’s for The Great Exchange between my daughter, sister and us.

Like soldiers in the trenches on Christmas Day of 1914 who carried out an unofficial truce and crossed the no-man’s land between them to exchange Christmas wishes and even gifts, we approached one another, holding out our packages like peace offerings in a time of war. Except our enemy is an invisible microbe that does not announce itself with guns blazing but slips in undetected until it’s too late to take up arms again.

After The Great Exchange, we drove to dear friends, stood at their front door and from a distance, wished them Merry Christmas and left behind a container full of turkey dinner and fixin’s to enjoy. When we returned home, I made up a heaping plate of turkey dinner and took it to a neighbour. Her husband has been ill. She wasn’t up to cooking a turkey dinner, she’d told me earlier in the day when I’d dropped off a Christmas card and ornament at their door.

And that’s where the Christmas Spirit prevailed. In the small acts of kindness we could share wholeheartedly with one another.

There are still gifts under the tree that haven’t been unwrapped. The roasting pan sits on the kitchen counter waiting to be put away. The dining room table is still set for two, a lonely reminder of the different circumstances of this Christmas. Like year’s past though, there are left-overs in the fridge. The pot of soup we started making last night sits on the deck chilling.

And through it all, woven like threads of gold in a tapestry lovingly crafted by the hands of the many lives that touch ours day in and day out, is the Love that binds us, sustains us, fills us up.

I unplugged from the virtual world yesterday to spend time savouring the magic all around me.

Just as the virus finds little room to create its havoc when we take loving measures to keep our distance, there was no room for the blues to take up residence in my heart. It was too full of the love and joy of the spirit of this season.

May the sacred nature and giving grace of the spirit of Christmas embrace you and your families. May the New Year bring all of us great joy, good health and the closeness that comes without Covid in our midst.

Namaste

In Years To Come…

In years to come, when time has passed and the edges of memory have softened and mellowed with age, we will sit close together around a table, or snuggle up in front of a fire or walk arm in arm under a clear blue sky and tell stories of these days. We’ll laugh and sometimes shed a tear or two. We’ll raise a toast to those who did not make it through and we will remember.

We’ll remember how we stood on balconies and front porches and clanged pots at 6pm every day for weeks on end to honour the heroes of these days. The nurses and doctors and lab techs and hospital porters and emergency responders and schedulers and cleaners and so many more who risked their lives so we could live ours without fearing each breath would be our last. And the researchers, labouring long days and nights, weeks and months garbed in hazmat suits and protective shields just to find a vaccine to help preserve lives for years to come.

We’’ll talk about how heroes didn’t wear red cloaks and carry golden shields but donned brown and blue and tan coats as they drove all over the country to ensure we received the things we needed. Things to eat. To read. To listen to. To play with. To keep us amused. And laughing. And feeling alive and less alone.

How there were heroes who stood behind plexiglass screens and sanitized counter tops again and again after we visited stores where we bought our necessities and smiled with only our eyes visible through our masks.

How we greeted each other with a wave, careful to keep our distance and how the distance between us felt so foreign. Lonely. Far. Even when we stood six feet apart.

How hugs became a rare commodity, so precious some would risk their lives just to get one. And how some did risk their lives, not just for hugs but to ease the loneliness, the pain of being separate from the rest of their human family.

And how some chose to stand united against the things they could not stand for — Wearing masks. Social distance. Stay-at-home orders. Like all of us, they wanted their voices to be heard. It’s just their way was different.

And hopefully, we’ll talk about how those of us who did our best to abide by stay-at-home and wearing-mask orders struggled to understand how others could not grasp the severity of our situation. And how, our condemnation and judgement of those who suffered these times in different ways than us became a greater distance to traverse than the loneliness we all felt during these days of sheltering-in-place.

There will come a time when we will tell stories of these days and while we may not remember them fondly, let us remember how we each did our best to weather this storm. And how, while someone’s way may have been different, they too were doing their best to make sense of it all and to make a difference in whatever way they knew how.

And as we remember, let us let go of our human tendency to condemn those who think differently, believe differently, express themselves differently. Instead, let us cross the divide of our differences so that we can celebrate having come through these days of a global pandemic sweeping the globe, together.

Let us not remember our differences but instead, let us share our memories of love for the millions of lives lost, the millions of lives fallen ill, the millions of lives forever changed.

Let us remember our loved ones not with the regret of not being by their bedsides as they struggled to take their last breath, but rather, of all the times we sat by their sides laughing and sharing in the love that binds us in life, and in death.

Let us remember we were all struggling. Believers and non-believers. Mask wearers and non-mask wearers. Instead of making outcasts of those who did it differently, let us say a prayer. For one another. And in our prayers let us hold onto what connects us, what makes us who we are, what makes this human condition so remarkable.

Our humanity is not one colour, one belief, one common roadmap. It is diverse. Colourful. Multi-faceted. We stand on deserts and mountaintops. We walk on gravel paths and paved roads. We swim in salty oceans and freshwater lakes.

And still, we breathe air into our lungs. We flow blood through our veins. Our bodies are supported by skeletons made up of bones, 206 in every adult body. Our body is covered with the epidermis, no matter the colour of our skin.

In years to come, when we look back on these times and tell our stories of grief and hardship, of great feats of heroism and simple acts of kindness, let us remember to speak with gratitude and grace and kindness in every word we share about one another.

Because, in times to come, when we speak of these days, we will be speaking of ourselves. Of we, the people.

All of us. Coming through this. Together.

Let us carry with us the memories of how, no matter how dark the day or long the night, we never lost sight of the Love that binds us. The Love that brings us into this world and carries us through every day of our lives. For we each come into this world in the same way. Crying. Kicking. Gasping for breath. And we all leave it on one final breath.

And in between, though our lives may be different, let us remember that it is our capacity to love one another that connects us. Through good times and bad. Dark and light. Life and death.

In years to come, let us tell our stories. Let us remember. And let us hold onto Love.

It Is. Enough.

This morning, when I visited David Kanigan’s blog before coming here to write, the sight of his photos married to the quote he shared brought tears to my eyes. (to experience the quote with the photos click HERE – you won’t be disappointed)

The quote that stirred my emotions (though to be honest, it was his photos of clouds drifting in a rose-drenched morning sky that got me first) was Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, by Maggi Smith.

David offers up this quote from the book,

Remember when you would have been over-the-moon thrilled to have just a fraction of your life as it is now?

Look around you: it is enough.

KEEP MOVING

And the tears wash over me as I write a response…

I want to rail against the notion, that if I look around me, I will see it is enough.

I want to cry out in strident opposition, No. It Is Not Enough.

And then I smile (wistfully and a bit sheepishly perhaps) as I remember, whether I think it is enough or not, what is around me right now is all there is. It is what is.

I do as Maggie Smith suggests. I look around me.

The house sleeps in the quiet of the darkness before dawn. The white Christmas lights that I spent an afternoon festooning along the glass railings of the deck, in an effort to bring me into the Christmas spirit, glow softly like candles in the dark. Inside, on my desk, the light of a candle flickers on the photo taken at my mother’s 95th birthday two years ago. I am with my 2 sisters, my 2 daughters, my then 6-month-old grandson and my mother.

4 generations that now live on in 3.

It wasn’t a Covid loss. My mother’s passing in February was just time having had its fill of her life.

And perhaps that is where the tears come from. Not only will my mother not be amongst us this Christmas, we will all be in our separate houses. Alone.

And my heart aches in the reality of what is.

I want to say, it’s not enough.

And must breathe into the reality — It is what it is.

______________________

We are all facing that reality – a global experience of loss, change, aloneness, separateness.

Perhaps, out of all of this, what will truly be known is how we are all connected. How we need one another. How it is our relationships that make our life rich and beautiful and oh so vibrant.

Perhaps, when Covid has had its way and we are on our way to healing these months of sequestered solitude, we will find ourselves together again and in that togetherness, will let go of the squabbles and differences that keep us apart.

Perhaps, when we are together again, we will celebrate our human condition in all its billions of unique expressions and let the gazillion things that we tell ourselves about why we must maintain our separateness, go.

Perhaps, we will relate through our magnificence and not our mediocrity.

Perhaps, we will all remember that we are all on this one earth, this one giant ball spinning its way around the sun year after year, together. That it is not our differences that separate us, but our thoughts and ideas and notions of what is right and wrong, possible and impossible, mine and yours.

And perhaps, in discovering how much we need one another, in realizing how connected we are, we will find the courage, strength and compassion to invite everyone into our hearts so that no matter where in the world we are, no matter how fragile or fabulous our human condition or how tiny or large our square footage, we will remember, We Are One.

And perhaps, in that oneness, we will know, once and for all, that we do not own this earth we call our home. We are its inhabitants, its guests and above all its guardians.

For what I do to the earth, I do to you.

Let me only do Love with all my heart, all my being, all my magnificence shining on yours.

And so it shall be.

And so it is. Enough.

Namaste.

Radical Acts of Self-Love

Writing and painting are, for me, radical acts of self-love. It is my way of saying to myself, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I honour you. And, I accept you in all your beautiful, flawed human ways.

And… because I want to celebrate all my beautiful, flawed human ways, I want my creative expressions be a reflection of all the delight and beauty, wonder and awe I see in the world around me, in its darkness and its light.

Some days, especially if I am spending too much time reading news reports and focusing on ‘the dark’ during these long nights of December where we wait for the light to return (here in the Northern Hemisphere), I risk feelings of apathy and helplessness overshadowing my heart’s desire for harmony and joy.

In those dark waters, I can forget all the Love and light in my life as I flounder on the edges of ‘the darkness’.

The darkness can be oh so beguiling.

But the darkness is not the place for me.

And so, I must consciously choose a radical act of self-love. And that’s where creativity, nature walks, dancing, meditating are so important. They are radical acts of self-love that create cracks in the darkness so the light can illuminate your path home to your heart.

Recently, as Covid news kept getting darker and even more restrictive social-distancing orders were coming into play to stop its spread, I felt myself leaning too far over the edge of darkness into that place where the light falls soundlessly away into an abyss of gloom.

I had to bring myself back into the light.

One of my favourite paths back to the light is through creative expression. In this case, creating ‘many somethings’ of a small nature. Somethings which, through both size and repetition, draws my thinking from my head deep down into my belly. To that place where the expansiveness of life flows freely in the deep, rich roots of my creativity.

The stars have a way of aligning when I need help seeing the light.

Last week, I received a letter telling me that I have been accepted to show at the Vale’s GreenHouse Cultivation of Art Show and Sale next June. I had been accepted this year but Covid dictated I not attend.

Being part of this show has long been on my bucket list so the news felt like a crack where the light could shine through. What a lovely blessing.

With art shows, I like to have something to give away. My favourite – bookmarks.

They’re small. Useful. And, when created with heart, can be beautiful.

Which made them perfect for my ‘get out of the darkness of your head thinking’ activity.

And it worked.

I spent a day painting bookmarks and found myself falling into the vastness of time free of worries of ‘what the future will bring’ or checking news reports in between surfing social media feeds.

In the liminal space of heartfelt creative expression, I found myself once again breathing joyfully into the depths of peace, tranquility and calm that reside at the core of my human nature. I found my way home to my heart.

The nights are long as our planet continues its orbit around the sun. And the news is grim around the world as Covid pushes deeper into the fabric of our lives.

Yet, even in the darkness, there is light. We only have to open our hearts and breathe deeply into the beauty of our human essence to see Love illuminating our path home to our hearts, no matter how dark the world around us or long and winding the road.

____________________________________

Christmas is fast approaching and if you have been considering a #ShePersisted 2021 desk calendar as a gift, I only have a few left in stock.

Between now and Christmas, with every calendar purchased, I shall be including a hand-painted bookmark.

Calendars available on my DareBoldlyArt Etsy Shop

Love Is Always Present

There are moments when I forget these times. Moments when the reality of stay-at-home orders and masks and climbing case counts and even more sobering death tolls do not invade my peace of mind. And though those times feel fleeting, their presence warms me like my 5-month-old granddaughter’s smile or my grandson’s laughing insistence, I “look at this, YiaYa” when we visit on Facetime.

I cherish those moments of forgetfulness. They are precious.

Finding grace in a hurting world can feel hard. Yet, finding grace is essential if we are to lessen the load of worry, fear, sadness and angst that seems to engulf every conversation, in the real and virtual world.

“I’m not sleeping,” is a reality expressed by many.

“Stay safe,” has replaced ‘have a good day.’

“I am so sorry for your loss,” has become a too frequent salutation.

And so, to ease my mind and heart, to bring me back to grace and gratitude, I go into my studio and immerse myself in the creative process. It is there that I find myself breathing deeply into the expansiveness of the moment. It is there that I find myself coming home to my heart.

It isn’t that I no longer care about the state of the world. I care deeply. But, as I do not want my ripple to be felt in waves of worry and angst, I commit myself to doing everything I can to ensure my ripple flows out in calm undulations of loving-kindness.

Peace of mind comes with accepting that, though there is little I can do physically about all that is happening in the big, wide world beyond my studio doors, there is much I can do, must do, to tend to my heart and nourish my circle of influence.

Immersed in creative expression, my heart and I have the courage to bear witness to all that is present in our world today, without expectation it is anything else than what it is. Absorbed by the muse calling me to express my heart through words and images, no matter what is happening in the world out there, inside me, I embrace reality. In Love.

In Love, all things seem less daunting or frightening. All things are possible.

For awhile, it seemed like Christmas would allow for in-house gatherings, albeit small, but at least some. But, the onslaught of the viruses incursions into homes across the province has dictated no in-house visits with anyone other than those who currently live in the home.

Facing a Christmas without family and friends has felt like a daunting prospect to me. I have struggled with finding a way to create a sense of connection, to share my love and joy in the presence of those I love even when we are not gathered around a table.

And so, I asked the angels to help me find a way to still create wonder and magic around a dinner table that will be missing so many hearts and faces.

And that’s where the angel placecards I’ve been creating come in.

Each angel will bear the name of someone who would have gathered around our table if times permitted. Each angel will be a messenger of love.

Immersed in their creation, I forget about ‘loss’ and those I miss and find myself in the beautiful, healing spaciousness of grace and gratitude. As I paint and doll up each angel, without conscious thought my mind and body focus on all that I have and all those who make my life so rich and beautiful.

And ‘the missing’ eases its grip and falls away.

Whatever your celebration, may we all find ways to ease ‘the missing’ this holiday season.

May we all find peace of mind and ease of heart no matter how dark the skies or few the faces around the table or painful the memories of Christmases past.

May we all know Love is always present. Where ever we are. Whomever we’re with. Whomever is missing.

And may the angels always kiss your heart with wings of grace, love, beauty and joy.

Namaste

__________________________

About the angels:

I painted 14 x 11″ sheets of Yupo paper with alcohol inks. Cut each sheet in quarters and with a stencil I drew and cut out of a sheet of computer paper, I traced the angel onto the back of each painted yupo sheet and cut them out. I painted their faces with acrylic pens and glued on glitter and glitz with a glue gun. The halos are thin wire covered in ribbon.

Across The Grid (a poem to Zoom on)

 Across The Grid
  ©2020 Louise Gallagher
  
 Across the grid
 of this digital universe
 we momentarily inhabit,
 faces smile and laugh
 brows furrow and foreheads crinkle.

 Sarah, sitting alone 
 in her box in London
 yawns and stretches as dusk settles in.
 She raises her glass 
 to the screen in front of her
 and takes a sip of wine.
 It's not really drinking alone, she hopes,
 when there's a virtual world of people
 right in front of her. 
 In LA, morning sunshine 
 streams through the window
 behind Jarred’s head.
 He wipes the sleep
 from his eyes
 and tries to shake off
 the dream he had last night
 as he takes another sip of coffee.
 While in Julia’s box down-under
 Tomorrow has already arrived.
 She can’t stay long. 
 She's got lots to do today.
  
 Amidst the ebb and flow 
 of conversation tethered 
 to an invisible web of binary code
 spinning around the globe,
 a fluffy black cat’s tail
 flits across the bottom
 of one, one-inch square,
 a brown and white dog
 patters through another
 paying no heed
 to the virtual world 
 of many lives 
 full of thoughts passing through
 unseen
 within each box 
 of constant dimensions
 holding everyone in place.
  
 Ripe with straight-laced consonants 
 and plump vowels rounding out
 the stream of conversation
 time keeps flowing
 past words and images
 cascading and falling
 into the constant flow
 of lives 
 gathered here
 in virtual reality.
 Connected
 yet so far apart.
  
 There is no time in the universe
 for distance
 to keep us apart
 in a locked down world. 

On Wednesday evenings, I gather with a group of five other women on Zoom for an hour and a half of writing and sharing.

Facilitated by Ali Grimshaw of the Flashlight Batteries blog, she reads aloud a poem by another author and invites us to write whatever those words inspire.

The poem above was inspired by a poem called Zoom Morning Weather, by Josh Jacobs.

Welcome, The Season Of Joy.

And so we gathered beneath the mighty fir that stands sentinel in our yard. The one where Siddartha sits all year round welcoming everyone to our home.

We stood beneath its sweeping branches that cast welcome shadows on a hot summer day, its deep green branches a welcome respite from the black and grey and white of a prairie winter.

Outdoor gatherings are fun!

We gathered together as families do and laughed and told stories on one another and shared a mug of hot mulled wine and feasted on seasonal delights. We toasted one another and those who could not be with us this year, either because of time and space or because they are gone from these earthly realms forever.

We raised our mugs to Christmases past spent indoors decorating or gathering around a table laden with holiday fare. And together, toasted this year that has challenged each of us to find more creative ways to spend time together. Ways that nurture our well-being yet do not risk our health.

Bundled up against a winter chill, we festooned the fir with stars and bells and homemade decorations and did our best to keep our distance. No hugs. No kisses on cheeks. No sharing of bites of this or that.

It was a different kind of way to welcome in the holiday season, yet, as in all the years past, smiles and laughter filled the air spinning a magical web with the essence of this time of year.

Family and friends gathering together to build memories and share what makes life rich and beautiful.

Connection. Belonging. Joy in one another’s presence. The reminder we do not walk alone. We are all in this together. And, above all, Love.

We decorated the fir tree outside our door yesterday. And the beauty of this special time of year slipped into our hearts and made itself at home for the season.

Blessings & Prayers.

I am interrupting the 12 Days of my #ShePersisted 2021 Calendar posts for a message of Blessings and Prayers.

My cyber friend, David Kanigan, of the Live & Learn blog, shares a passage from Katrina Kenison’s new book, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment. (It’s a beautiful passage and I’m adding the book to my Christmas WishList – to read the quote – click HERE)

In my response to David’s share, I wrote,

As I type, my beloved is asleep in our bed on the far side of our home.
 Beaumont the Sheepadoodle lies at my feet under my desk in front of the
 window watching the river flow and the darkness outside grow slowly 
lighter.
And while my family is not sleeping in rooms under my roof, I know they
 are safely tucked into beds under their own roofs. Sleeping peacefully.

Such a blessing.
The knowing. My family is safe where ever they are in the world.

And tears formed in my eyes. And a whiff of sorrow drifted through my heart.

And I pause and say a prayer for the families who crowd the sleeping quarters of the homeless-shelter where I used to work. They do not feel safe, no matter how sound the roof of the shelter. It is not their roof.

And I pause and say a prayer for those who are resting uneasily in hospital beds, some who will recover and go home. And some who never will. Not only because of Covid but other diseases and causes too. They are alone in their suffering.

And I pause and say a prayer for those who rest uneasily at home while their loved ones battle for every breath in a place that feels so very far from home. When a loved one is ill and all alone somewhere else, even a block feels like an eternity away. They too are suffering alone.

And I pause and say a prayer for those who are sleeping under their own roofs where violence is not a stranger. There is no safety to be found, no matter whose roof you sleep under, when abuse is a constant partner.

And I pause and say a prayer for the millions of families and individuals around the world who fear unseen terrors falling from the sky because war is ravaging their land. There is no peace to be found amidst gunfire.

And I pause and say a prayer for the mothers searching for food and shelter amidst rising floodwaters or sliding mountainsides or other natural disasters. There is no shelter like home.

And I pause and let my tears flow freely.

I cannot save the world. I cannot change the wind nor tides, rain nor snow. I cannot stop a bullet flying nor a bomb exploding.

What I can do is bear witness with a loving heart.

I can speak up. And I can, even from a distance, contribute whatever I can to ensure that those for whom home is not a safe place know there are safe places to go. I can do whatever I can to ensure those safe places are there no matter how tumultuous the world around them.

And, I can pause and pray and let my tears flow freely so that my heart is not burdened by sadness and worry and fear, but lightened by the knowledge that I am doing whatever I can to make a better world for everyone.

And if in this moment all I can give are my tears and prayers, let that be enough.

And always, let gratitude be my guiding light. May gratitude always bring me home to a loving heart no matter what is happening in the world around me.

_____________________________

And… last night, as I lay in bed just before sleep descended, I thought about all the things for which I am grateful, and all the things I took for granted before Covid arrived and all the things I will never take for granted again not just because they are so precious, but also because some speak to the freedom and privilege I enjoy and never have to say ‘thank you’ for or never have to ask for, simply because I live where I do and am free to live my everyday life without fear.