I hope you are staying healthy, calm, and hopeful.
The days are getting shorter and colder. My garden is bare. The tree in front of my window only has a few leaves on it.
This is the time of year when I have to ramp up practicing gratitude and focus my mind on celebrating change, rather than grieving that my favorite seasons (spring, summer, and fall) are over.
It doesn’t help that last Saturday marks three years of my husband Matthew’s passing.
On top of everything, it’s 2020. Our dear, challenging, precious 2020… 😁
I’m sure you all have your own challenges on top of our collective ones.
There is so much uncertainty and stress in our lives (pandemic, unemployment, politics…).
I know many of you will email me with responses about how your faith keeps you calm, grounded, and in a good place.
And that’s great! But even with my strong faith, I used to struggle with anxiety and overwhelm.
A year like 2020 would turn my stomach into a prune from all the stress. I needed practical tools that would turn my faith into a moment-to-moment practice of mindful, joyful, and peaceful living.
So if you are someone who, like me, needs a bit of extra support, read on 🙂
First, a short story:
My son Blais is doing online school again, as his high school shut down due to too many COVID cases.
Earlier this week he got very stressed out. The amount of work listed on his dashboard felt overwhelming.
He came to me to talk it through because that always helps him to gain perspective, and gives him a chance to take a few deep breaths (He knows this will be my first recommendation.
Also, I’m the family coach 😁 )
Later that evening, he rushed down the stairs, cheeks red, hair messy, sighing a big sigh of relief, saying: “I feel so good! I am completely caught up!”
The next morning, he rushed to me again. “There are so many assignments up again. And I just worked so hard to get the other ones done.”
“Welcome to life,” I said.
As soon as we tackle some big challenge and get it all done, something else comes up.
Life’s assignments don’t happen on weekends in between workdays, and holidays to take a break from. (If you’re a parent, you know this very well 😉 )
Pandemics also don’t give us a break and paying bills is a thing whether we are exhausted or not.
If we want to eat healthily then grocery shopping, cooking, and then cleaning the kitchen only to start all over again, doesn’t just stop at some point.
As soon as we go through an emotional storm and find the calm, something else challenges us to stretch our ‘calming’ muscles 🙂
So how do we keep going through overwhelming, stressful, and uncertain times?
With support, hope, and tools. And faith, which encompasses all three 🙂
Here is how…
Blais has me as his support system.
I’m the person who loves him no matter what, the parent who provides a sense of stability, someone who listens (without judgment), and a coach (who reminds him to take deep breaths and helps him find solutions).
I find support in a few trusted individuals whom I know to love me unconditionally. I also have my book study groups and the writers group with whom I meet regularly on Zoom.
We’ve been meeting since March and the connection I experience with people in these groups has helped me to not feel lonely and overwhelmed and to know that I’m not the only one who’s struggling.
💖 Your turn (grab a notebook and write your answers and reflections):
- Who do you have as your support? (If your answer is “God” then please add how God shows up in your life – through people :))
Hope is a mindset that helps us to focus on a positive outcome.
Sometimes when we get too overwhelmed, stressed out, or anxious, we can ‘lose hope.’ Hopefully we never truly lose hope, only let go of it for a bit…
Blais has me to assure him that Thanksgiving break is coming, as well as the winter holidays, so he will have a chance to clear all of the assignments from his dashboard.
For me, hope is in knowing that the Peace and Joy I desire (as an outcome of handling my fears, stress, despair, overwhelm) are always there. I just have to breathe and Be Still (and know that Grace and Love and God fill my life no matter what) to experience Peace. Also, gratitude for the smallest things (and accomplishments) can produce a sense of joy within my heart.
💖 Your turn
- Who is your person from whom you can ‘borrow’ hope when you feel down, or gloomy?
- What is the outcome of 2020 that you hope for?
Blais’ tools were planning and applying self-discipline.
I love the morning rituals that help me to ground my day in gratitude, awareness, peace, hope, and faith. Exercising is a tool that helps my body reduce stress hormones and produce endorphins.
Plus, I sleep better when I exercise and sleep helps with stress too. Playing (unstructured, without an agenda or goal) is also an incredible tool we often forget about.
💖 Your turn
- What are your favorite tools in handling overwhelm, anxiety, and stress?
- How do you play? 🙂
My friend Kim Belew, who’s been facilitating our book study, shared this song in one of our Zoom sessions.
We have been discussing how “Nothing” and “Everything” is that place of peace, joy, love, and hope. It’s the place where we are okay with nothing grandiose taking place, and where that absence of something grandiose reminds us that each moment of our lives is soaked with everything good, sacred, divine 🙂
Have a listen (with an open mind).
BONUS: As I was looking for this song, I found another one with the same title “Here Goes Nothing.” This one is by a 14-year-old America’s Got Talent kid…
Tatiana “Tajci” Cameron is an award-winning music artist, published author, inspirational speaker, and certified transformational and spiritual life coach.
She has many passions and is dedicated to helping others while also creating an enriched life for herself and her three sons.
When Tajci is not on the road performing gigs, she volunteers with local organizations dear to her heart, spends time with loved ones (often involving music!), and collaborates with other artists to bring creative projects to life.
Tajci’s most recent projects include a meditation CD, an annual retreat & sea cruise in Croatia (that she organizes and hosts), and a multimedia CD/book (Un)Broken: Songs My Father Taught Me.
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