Heidi Baumbach – Making a Difference in Ukraine

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

In the still quiet of dawn not yet broken, I awaken. With a rush, images of war run through my mind. A nightmare I cannot escape.

I turn over. Check the time on my phone. Not quite 5.

I close my eyes but the images awaken in the darkness.

I open my eyes.

In my dream, I am running from a battle. A tank rolls into view. I want to stop it. I put up my hands. Fire flashes from its snout. A blast of hot air washes over me as a tree falls.

I wonder about its survival. Will it ever be able to grow again? Will its family miss its sheltering branches joining with theirs, offering protection from the sun, cover from the rain, a home to nest in for forest animals?

Will it survive?

I turn and run. And awaken.

For a moment, I think it is my nightmare. And, as dreams have meaning, I wonder, ‘what is this dream telling me? Where in my life do I need to make peace?’

And then I remember.

I roll over, grab my phone, scroll through my newsfeed.

It wasn’t a nightmare only I could see, trying to awaken me to peace.

This is the nightmare millions of people are living right now. A nightmare from which they cannot awaken because the war has come to them. The war has arrived in hundreds of tanks rolling across their land destroying homes and roads and bridges indiscriminately. A war where soldiers fire weapons that kill and harm and maim and destroy everything in their line of sight.

The war where missiles fired from jets streaking across a smoky sky tear into a maternity ward killing all hope of peace before it is even born.

_______________________

Heidi Baumbach

If like me you desperately want to do something, Heidi Baumbach is in need of support. Upon hearing of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Heidi, from a small central Alberta town, packed up suitcases of supplies and headed to Warsaw to help. She rented a car, and an apartment, drove to the border and picked up a family. She provided them support until they could arrange to move on to meet up with family in another country. And then, she welcomed in another family.

Heidi is doing this on her own. Any financial help she receives goes to supporting refugees. Not just the families she is sheltering, but also at the refugee camps. As she writes on a recent FB post:

The math is simple.

  • $120 CAD buys $400 of toiletries—enough for me to stock the 3 stall bathroom supplying the entire Przemysl refugee camp for an evening.
  • $25 CAD buys enough for a nice meal for everyone
  • $100 buys what would cost $300-$400 back home for groceries.

If you would like to support Heidi and all she is doing, she has set up a GiveSendGo fund — she is trying to raise $10,000 to buy a van to help bring refugees to Lviv from other areas of the Ukraine and to pay rent on an apartment for refugees.

I heard of Heidi’s mission through a co-worker. His daughter and Heidi grew up together. When Heidi emailed me she told me she thinks of my co-worker as her second father. My co-worker, a CPA, is helping Heidi track donations and ensuring her financial records are beyond reproach.

If you can help, please do.

For me, giving directly to someone on the ground, someone who is on her own making a difference helps me feel less helpless.

You can learn more about Heidi’s story at these links:

Lacombe County News

Global News (Heidi’s interview begins at around 4:50)

Heidi on Facebook

Heidi’s GiveSendGo Fund

_________

This post is also in response to this week’s prompt at Eugi’s Causerie.

The prompt is ‘survival’.

The photo accompanies the prompt on Eugi’s website.

While I lay sleeping. For Ukraine.

A child on a swing outside a residential building damaged by a missile on February 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Pierre Crom/Getty Images

While I lay sleeping, bombs fell. Tanks rolled across invisible lines meant to somehow hold them back from eagerly gobbling up land that did not belong to them.

While I lay sleeping ships sailed into harbours claiming the right to take the lives of those who valiantly stood against them and armies marched with guns pointed forward, always forward, intent on killing anyone who stood in their path.

While I lay sleeping, a child swung on a swing outside a building damaged by a missile shattering dreams of peace and people died and babies were born to the sound of rockets falling from the sky.

While I lay sleeping, families fled their homes and mothers held their children tight while their sons poured gasoline into bottles stuffed with cloths and got ready to lift their arms to fight for their country, their freedom, their families, their lives.

While I lay sleeping people fought for the right to live in peace while I slept on, restful in my dreams.

When I awoke, daylight had come but the darkness holds fast to my every breath and fear lurks in every corner of my mind.

Awake, I want to stop the streams of news filling my social media pages. I want to stop my mind’s incessant clamouring for more as if knowing more will somehow make sense of this place where the whole world sits with bated breath waiting for one man to pull or not to pull the trigger that will change our world forever.

Awake, I can no longer sleep believing peace will come if we do nothing to stop the darkness from falling all around.

Awake, I raise my voice and call out for peace. For quick and fair treatment of refugees. For support for those who must flee. For support for those who stand on guard to defend against the guns blazing and missiles flying and bombs falling.

Awake, I turn away from ranting against one man’s deeds and turn instead to finding ways to help those whose lives have been unjustly impacted by what he has done.

Asleep, I dreamt I was powerful enough to stop tanks and pull fingers off triggers and hands off buttons of mass destruction.

Awakened, I know I am not powerful enough to stop war. I am powerful enough to stop fueling its fires with angry words and deeds.

Asleep, I dreamt one voice was powerful enough to make peace happen.

Awakened, I know I am not powerful enough to be heard by all the world. I am powerful enough to contribute my prayers to a world praying for peace.

Asleep, I dreamt I could stand alone.

Awakened, I know I alone am not powerful enough to make peace happen. I am powerful enough to stand united with those who, like me, want our children and grandchildren and their children too to grow up in a world where war is no more because together, we have chosen a path to make peace happen.

Because, if we can make weapons of mass destruction and rocket ships to reach Mars and submarines to explore the depths of the oceans, we must be able to build a bridge to peace.

We must be able to join hands of every colour all around the world and hold our arms out to welcome those who are fleeing war in search of peace.

Together we must. For our world depends on us. And so does Ukraine.

The Unholy Nature of Glitter-Götterdämmerung

Homemade twine star – with glitter (alas)

Glitter.

It’s pretty. Sparkly. Festive. Fun!

And it’s toxic to the environment.

It gets everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Not just on your skin and clothes and dog’s fur, but our rivers, lakes, and oceans too.

Microplastics, which glitter is comprised of, litter oceans and have been found lining the stomachs of fish and birds.

And another horrible thing about glitter… if it’s on your wrapping paper, it can’t be recycled. It just adds to the world of garbage pollution already out there.

Scientists say glitter won’t tip the scales on climate change, but, eliminating it from our homes is one small thing we each can do to contribute to not tipping the scales on climate change further into the disaster zone.

Which is why glitter is now off my studio table (and I might be going into withdrawal). But I need to do more to treat my world, this planet we share as sacred, holy space. And to do that, I am beginning with foregoing my annual glitter-fest. Because, when I think about it (which is not at all a pleasant thought) I’ve already contributed to years worth of Glitter- Götterdämmerung.

My awakening to Glitter-Götterdämmerung is happenstance.

I’ve been making ornaments for our 2nd Annual Outdoor Fir Tree Festooning, and, as is my way come this most wonderful time of the year, I’ve been glittering up my creations.

Until it struck me that I might want to check into how much glitter is sprinkled on everything at this most wonderful time of the year. And so, I asked Dr. Google

Dr. Google had lots to say. All of which awoke me to the seriousness of the situation. I was violating one of the five principles I strive to live by – “Do No Harm.”

Because seriously, how much harm is not the issue.

The issue is, glitter harms the environment. Full stop. End of story.

Sure, I could rationalize my use by saying it doesn’t do as much harm as plastic bottles or bags, but that would just be me rationalizing my doing harm.

And so, I am introducing a ‘no new glitter’ rule into our household, which also means my studio.

I say, ‘no new’, because I’ve already created harm with the decorations I created over the weekend. (see the photo above)

When we know better, we do better.

I didn’t think to ponder the question “What about that glitter stuff?” when I first began to create. — My excitement of entering into ‘this most wonderful time of the year’ got the better of me.

Which in and of itself is a cautionary environmental tale.

I can’t/we can’t, the environment can’t afford any of us doing things without first asking the question, “How much am I harming my world, my planet, the air and trees and rivers and earth? How much harm am I doing?”

And then take steps back from the edge.

I’m stepping back, moving once again into living by my principles to create the more of what I want to see in the world — less pollution, healthier rivers, streams, forest, flora and fauna.

Now… what to do with all those viles of glitter I already own is a much larger question I need to investigate. ‘Cause however I dispose of them, I will be creating harm.

And that’s a hard microplastic to swallow.

Namaste

You’re Not Welcome… Yet.

Does a tree say to leaves turning golden in July, “Stop! Go back to green! It’s not time to change seasons yet! It’s not time to bring out your autumn wardrobe of many colours.”

Or does it embrace nature’s ways with grace and ease? Accepting that all things happen in their own time. All things unfold as they are meant to unfold. Because, the trees know, they are not separate from nature. They are one with all of life on earth.

There are glimmers of gold in the trees this morning. Buffalo berries glow bright red in the bushes outside my window. And the sun glows red in a smoke clouded sky.

We are in the height of summer here on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains. The forests are lush and green. The yet to turn golden green fronds of prairie grasses dance in the wind as if pulled by a puppeteer’s unseen hands.

And I want to yell at the leaves that continue to fade from green to golden, “Go back. Go back. You’re not welcome here… Yet.”

And I know my exhortations to retreat will be unheeded.

It is nature’s way.

To change. To flow. To be impervious to my demands as it struggles to meet the demands of a world where the very beings that make life on earth possible, the trees and rivers and oceans and air, are being continuously bombarded with our insensitive human ways.

Perhaps that is why the most recent spate of wildfires and floods and other natural disasters have felt so daunting. So incomprehensible. So sad.

Nature is responding in the only way it knows how to our continued demands it accept our garbage, our toxic waste, our extravagant assertions it act like a sponge to all we thoughtlessly deposit into the air and rivers and oceans and fields and forests and valley bottoms. It has reached the zenith of all it can contain. It is breaking open, breaking down and we, the humans of this world, are responsible.

This is not a battle of wills, of ‘little man’ with just a slingshot looking to topple the behemoth of nature. Nature is our partner. We are one with it, part of all of it as it is part of all of us. And we are in a fight for our lives. Should we remain impervious to nature’s need for us to change our ways, no one, not nature, not humans, not sentient nor non-sentient beings who are all our co-inhabitants of this planet which gives us life will survive.

I spied a patch of golden leaves this morning. I want to tell them to turn back to green but cannot stop nature’s way.

I can stop getting in the way of nature’s calls for help. I can stop demanding nature keep giving me life and start honouring the life it gives me and the symbiotic nature of our relationship. And to do that, I must do more with less, create better with everything, and give to the earth and all its beings both the less and the best of me.

I can stop hoping someone else ‘fix it’ and start fixing what I have contributed to breaking.

Autumn leaves turning golden in July beneath a smoke laden sky reminded me this morning of my continued need to lessen my footprint, pay attention to each step I take upon this planet.

Autumn leaves are turning. And though it feels too soon, it is not too soon for us to change our ways. We’re already late.

International Women’s Day #FeministRecovery

Today is International Women’s Day.

I welcome the day when we don’t need a day to remind all humanity of our right to equality, equal rights, equal pay, equal justice, not just women but every human on this planet regardless of race, gender, socio/economic status.

I welcome the day when glass ceilings do not need to be broken. Glass ceilings don’t exist.

I welcome the day when girls’ bodies are not mutilated, when education is not denied, when child-marriages are decried and girls are not afraid to speak their minds and pursue their dreams.

I welcome the day when females of all ages can walk the streets without the curse of catcalls polluting the air around them. When a late-night walk alone is not accompanied by the fear of rape because some men believe it is their right to do what they want, how they want, when they want with the female body.

And I welcome the day when the feminine body is no longer used as a weapon of war. A weapon called rape; a tool strategically deployed to destroy entire cultures, to enforce social control, to terrorize women and children whose only crime was to be trapped by advancing forces of conflict as they tried to flee the battleground of wars killing the very children women gave birth to.

And I welcome the day when the things women do to give life, support life, nurture life and safeguard the future of families, communities and all of humanity are not cast off as secondary to ‘men’s work’. A day when ‘women’s work’ is no longer denigrated but recognized and celebrated as necessary and as vital as breathing for every single human on this planet.

_____________

A few years ago, my eldest daughter and I had a conversation about women’s issues after she was cat-called as she walked down the street.

So much of that behaviour, I told her, stems from an ancient belief codified in histories written by men. A collective history that deems men worthier than women. Even the Bible begins with God as a male deity sitting at the head of the all-male Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and (in my childhood lingo of the Catholic church) The Holy Ghost. Where was the Mother of God? Wouldn’t She have had an integral role to play in the formation of life?

That idea of being worthier than woman impregnates much of our collective consciousness around women’s rights and the right, which some men believe they possess, to treat women as objects.

And while, in speaking with my daughter, I didn’t actually say, I blame ‘the church’, my feminist soul struggles to understand how 60,000 people (mostly women) could be burned at the stake in the name of God or that in the Catholic church, women continue to be deemed unworthy of direct communion with God through the priesthood. Yet, in the US, even though Olympia Brown became the first woman to be ordained, with national approval, as a minister in 1863, around the world today, women continue to fight for the right to be deemed ‘priest-worthy’ in many denominations.

And I wonder… Which part of women’s history does the Catholic Church celebrate? The one where women were burned at the stake? Where they are still not able to break through the papal decree sheltering men on God’s side of the confessional booth keeping women on their knees before God their father? The one where the virgin womb is still a prerequisite of the marriage bed and where millions of women and girls are denied the right to contraception? Or the one where, as long as women stay in their place, the church will allow them to be celebrated as equal members of all God’s children?

Sure, we’ve come a long way, baby, but there is still so far to go to ensure every human being on this planet is treated as precious as the miracle of life that gives us life through a woman’s womb, whether virgin or not.

Until then, I shall stand with all my sisters, and those brothers who stand with us, as we call out in one voice for equality, justice, dignity and respect for every life on this planet we call our home.

___________

I wrote the poem below after that conversation in 2016 with my daughter. I share it again today. There is still so far to go.

The Grinch Who Brought Christmas Home

Rick amidst the Christmas trees and balls.

I know. I know. Two posts in one day! What is this world coming to?

Well…. it’s coming to some amazing things. Like this story I shared on my IG and FB today which I just had to share here too!

_______________________

Two months ago, he had a kidney transplant.

This week, clad in a toque and winter jacket and yellow and black pants imprinted with the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” he’s back to doing what he loves best at this time of year. Decorating the park where he used to walk his black Labrador Retriever, Trouper (I’m not sure that’s his name but I think it was.)

It is an act of Love. Of Memory. Of Community.

Since Trouper passed away several years ago, every late November Rick hauls bags of Christmas tree balls out of his basement, into the back of his car and drives them to the off-leash park where he used to walk with his four-legged friend.

Once at the park he places the bags in strategic points along the path with an invitation to other dog-walkers and passers-by to hang a few, or many, on the trees that line the pathway. Rick himself will spend hours every morning hanging balls and tinsel everywhere he can in the park.

Within days, the park is festooned with balls that glisten in the morning sun amidst the branches of the trees. A big sign will be hung above the trail, suspended from two trees on either side of the pathway. It reads, Candy Cane Lane. Another sign will be posted further along the trail with photos of Trouper and Rick and an invitation to take a candy cane from the red and white canes that are hung from the branches of the tree beneath which the sign sits.

“I just love how this brings community together,” says Rick.I just love how Rick does so much to bring community together to create something beautiful.

The Apology Process

Years ago, when I was released from a relationship that was killing me by the police taking the abuser out of my life, my relationship with my daughters was in shreds.

For the final three months of that journey I cowered in hiding as the abuser tried to find ways to get out of Canada. I was too scared, too lost, too compliant to pick up the phone and let anyone know I was alive. Plus, he’d told me I couldn’t. I did not disobey him.

Healing my relationships, especially with my daughters, took time, and a whole lot of turning up and doing the work.

It was a long road home.

In the beginning, they were angry. They had a right to their anger. The things I’d done throughout that relationship hurt them.

For the sake of all of us, I needed to be strong enough to stand with them in their anger without trying to take it away, push it aside, or manipulate it into something I could tolerate with my insistence, “It wasn’t my fault.”

In the beginning, I was not strong enough to do that. I had to ‘give myself medicine first” so that I could be there to help them find the medicine they needed to heal.

I was willing to accept they might not forgive me. I was not willing to accept that what I had done was a life sentence of misery to which we were all condemned.

It was three years after I began that healing journey that I entered the Choices Seminars training room for the first time.

It changed my life. It changed my daughters’ lives too.

By the time I went through the course, my daughters and I were living together again. I knew they still carried anger, and I was doing my best to simply be present with them when it erupted. But I also knew I wasn’t powerful enough to take away their anger, or their fear of what might happen if the abuser did turn up again.

Choices gave us all the tools to travel those uncharted, and sometimes troubled, waters.

It also gave me The Apology Process.

  • Acknowledge
  • Apologize.
  • Commit.
  • Make amends.

In the months after learning the process, I used it often. I didn’t care if I had to apologize for the rest of my life, I wanted my daughters to know that I was committed to our relationship, committed to being here as their mother, caring, confident, vibrant and alive.

Apologizing never cost me a thing. It gave me everything.

My daughters pain was different than mine. They had a right to express it in their own way, to grow through it and heal from it for themselves.

No matter what that man had done to me, I was the one who did the things I did to harm them.

I was accountable.

The apology process gave me a way to stand in my accountability without having to carry shame, regret, despair.

My job was not to defend against their anger but to love them, and myself, through it.

It was about three years after the three of us had gone through Choices that my eldest daughter told a group of trainees how my apologizing as I did helped fill the river of pain that was once between us with Love. “Every time she said, ‘I apologize’, it felt like a little bit more of the pain washed away leaving room for Love to flow more freely,” she said.

I remember still the moment when she said those words. I started to cry. It felt like a giant boulder of pain had lifted off my heart. I am crying now. Soft, gentle loving tears of gratitude.

It is not unlike these times in which we live right now.

I acknowledge I have seldom questioned the privilege of my white skin. That I have never stopped to say, ‘Hey! This isn’t right! If I can get this so easily why is it so hard for that person over there whose skin colour is different than mine, to experience the same ease?’

I apologize and commit to doing better, to being more awakened, more conscious, more vocal when I encounter racist comments, acts and situations.

To make amends, I shall learn more about white privilege and its impact on people of colour in this world. I shall speak up adding my voice to the voices calling for change. And I shall cede space so voices of colour can be heard.

Namaste

Racism: What We Do Next Matters. A Lot.

Even as the economic outlook of the province declined and a once almost 0% vacancy rate climbed up towards double digits, it was happening.

Even as the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Report provided a clear path towards justice, reparations and healing, it was happening.

And, even as non-settler centric Indigenous history was being taught in elementary schools, and Indigenous culture and awareness courses at Universities were filling up, it was happening.

Every day. Everywhere.

Case in point. An Indigenous parent of three children calls a landlord about a vacant apartment. Sets up an appointment to view it, only to be told, one hour later, when the landlord opens the door to view the face of the applicant, “It’s already rented.” Door closed. No explanation. And no truth to the landlord’s assertions either.

Or, a housing locator for a social services agency, knowing the challenges Indigenous families face in finding housing in our city, goes to a landlord, and, without disclosing the ethnicity of the applicant, which would be a violation of their human rights, organizes the lease on behalf of the applicant. When the family arrives, the landlord refuses to hand over the keys, stating a family emergency has lead to the unit no longer being available for rent. The Indigenous family, too accustomed to such treatment, walks away. They know their life would be hell in that apartment anyway. Why risk abuse from a racist landlord?

Or, the neighbour to an apartment building that houses low-income families specifically targets those units that house Indigenous families. He takes videos and photos of the families going about living their daily lives. Files complaint after complaint with the owners of the building, the social service agency providing supports to assist the families in settling in, his City Councillor’s office about the noise of the young children, about adults smoking on the balcony, about what he calls, ‘those people’. Yet, he refuses to meet to discuss his complaints or to learn about the program of ending homelessness, reducing poverty and building community. “I want them gone,” is his only response.

I could go on.

After almost 18 years working in the homeless-serving sector in Calgary, many of them spent doing community engagement work, the stories of racial profiling, discrimination and abuse are numbing.

I have sat at boardroom tables with community members decrying the pending presence of housing for formerly homeless individuals and families in their community. I have listened to their fears, their insistence that this housing will drive down their property values or create parking concerns, two of the 3 top concerns community members voice when opposing low-income housing, the other one being, rising crime rates. Even when the data clearly shows those fears are unfounded, the objections and the name-calling continues.

I have faced angry mobs opposing the purchase of land for low-income housing, standing in a circle around me and my co-workers, arms raised, fists clenched above their heads as they shake them in the air, yelling at the top of their voices, “We don’t want you here.”

I have listened to people call fellow human beings names that make me want me to peel off my skin right down to my skeleton to show them our blood is the same colour, and all of our skeletons are white, but that would just further enforce the notion, white is better.

And, unfortunately, their fear, their ignorance, their misconceptions and yes, their white privilege closed their minds to the fact that those against whom they railed were just like them, seeking to make a better life for themselves and their families. It’s just the circumstances of their lives had put them far, far below the poverty line to where they struggled just to catch a breath of the very same air that we all breathe freely.

“They don’t deserve the air they breathe,” has sometimes been the response.

So yes. Black Lives Matter. Brown Lives Matter.

And what we do next, the white privileged who have never known what it feels like to have our skin colour make us the target of other human beings’ abuse, disdain, fear… What we do next matters. A lot.

It’s easy to say, “But those are the few bad apples.” And, while that is fundamentally true, most people don’t support overt racism, the fact remains, we are complicit in our inaction, in our not speaking up, in our not decrying and outing such behaviour. In our not examining why skin colour matters in the first place.

And, while it’s easy to point at yourself and say, “I’m not racist,” living that truth? That’s a whole other matter.

And if you haven’t already done so, read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report: Calls to Action. It matters. A lot.

Life’s Eternal Nature

The earth has turned in its orbit around the sun, shortening the distance for its rays to travel to the northern hemisphere. Spring is in the air with its promises of new life.

I welcome Spring’s embrace. I welcome the longer days. The warmer air. The buds bursting with the potency of life. The green grass appearing between winter-dead leaves. The river running free of ice. The birdsong filling the air. Robins hopping on the grass. I welcome Spring’s poetic frenzy.

Spring is bursting forth here at the leeward edge of the Rocky Mountains. The breeze blows down off the slopes, across the foothills and into the still quiet streets of the city. People are out and about, keeping their social distance (mostly). Traffic continues to be light. The pathways are full of bicyclists weaving in and out of the pedestrians who walk in single file trying to keep their distance.

We are a winter city. We know how to hibernate. To bundle up. To protect ourselves from the cold. To stay busy inside while the north winds blow outside.

When spring arrives, we doff our winter parkas with joyful abandon and don lighter gear. En masse, we head to the great outdoors or at least the closest pathway, to savour the change in seasons. One thing we winter-folk know — spring is short. Summer ends too soon. Winter will be upon us again. You gotta savour the sun and warmth while you can.

This year is the same, yet different. Doffing winter gear brings with it the need to keep ourselves protected, not just with sunscreen but with masks and latex gloves to protect us from an invisible bundle of proteins.

The great outdoors have shrunk to city limits as people are asked to not travel too far. Suddenly, mountain towns that welcomed visitors with open arms have closed their gates to keep ‘outsiders’ away. Mountain parks are closed and favourite trails are inaccessible.

Change is constant, even though we humans chafe at its presence.

No one knows for sure what the future will look like, but we do know, it will be different than yesterday.

Different doesn’t mean worse, nor better. It just means, things won’t be the same.

It’s how we handle ‘the different’ that makes the difference palatable in our lives.

Baulking at its presence doesn’t change its presence. It just changes our experience of the present.

Spring has arrived once again with its invitation to welcome new life into our world. In its warm embrace, I am reminded that all things are in a state of constant change as we travel on this planet around the sun. That is part of life’s eternal essential nature. Nothing stays the same.

Whether I like the changes, or not, doesn’t change change. It just makes change more difficult to navigate when I try to keep everything the same.

I am learning to live with the ever-evolving landscape of a ‘new normal’.

Nothing lasts forever. Not even Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Home Matters

I have begun a new morning practice. It takes but a moment yet, I already feel its impact.

As soon as I awaken, before I get out of bed and begin my morning rituals, I say a little mantra to myself:

“Staying home matters. It is my contribution to help heal the world.”

And then I take a couple of deep breaths and get up out of bed to begin my day.

I am very specific about my language. For example, I do not say, “I am doing my part to fight Covid.

Fighting suggests a battle, and I do not believe ‘fight’ language is conducive to creating the necessary changes we need to create better in the world, let alone peace of mind and a gentle heart within to help us navigate these times. We’ve had enough fighting, greed, abuse to last our lifetime. In fact, if we don’t do something different, if we don’t turn our thoughts from ‘fighting’ one another to collective caring for one another, we risk losing the battle of our lives on planet earth.

Saying, ‘let’s fight Covid’ is kind of like saying, ‘let’s fight climate change.’

It isn’t climate change we need to fight, or even can fight. We can activate our collective power and will to change our ways so that climate change does not continue to create devastation around the world. As the saying goes, ‘You cannot change the wind. You can change the set of your sails.’

Which brings me back to my morning mantra.

I need to say it for my mental health. Every morning. I need to remind myself that staying home is an act of empowerment. It makes a contribution. If staying home matters and I am actively engaged in staying home, then I matter too.

See, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless. A bit like a bump on a log.

Unfortunately, that also means the inner critter is taking the opportunity to leap into the fray and hiss silly incantations of self-destructive possibilities at me. You know, things like, “It’s okay to go out to the store and to do whatever you want. I mean really, Louise. You’re in day 54 of self-isolation. You deserve a break.”

I try to tell him that Covid isn’t taking a break but the critter mind doesn’t care. When he senses my feelings of being disgruntled and unsettled, he only wants ACTION — any kind of action will do so long as it eases the strain of my disquiet. Unfortunately, his idea of action includes things that cause more harm than good. Like checking the news every few minutes, charting the statistics, reading doomsday articles and allowing myself to slip into overwhelm.

It also means he’s been rather vocal with his exhortations that I  ‘Do something.’

Of course, being a whiner, the critter mind doesn’t actually know what the ‘something’ is. He doesn’t come with solutions or ideas. He just arrives in a cloud of self-criticism and complaints about how I am not doing enough, along with his litany of faults that destroy my peace of mind and sense of worth, if I let them.

Which is why I have chosen to create a morning mantra that reminds me that I am doing something that matters.

After several days of repeating my mantra when I awaken, I am finding it a powerful tool to battle the ennui and despair that, if left untended, threatens to creep into my body and invade my well-being with every breath.

“Staying home matters. It is my contribution to help heal the world.”

Say it with me.

“Staying home matters. It is my contribution to help heal the world.”

Repeat often.

And breathe.

Yup. Breathe.

Calm, measured breaths.

Breathe.

A calm you creates a calm world all around you. That calmness ripples out into the world creating waves of peace and harmony.

Keep breathing. Keep repeating.

“Staying home matters. It is my contribution to help heal the world.”

Thank you for doing your part in helping to heal the world. Together, we make a difference.

And I’d love to hear any daily practices you’ve initiated to create harmony, joy, peace in your mind, heart and world.

Namaste.